Just last month Fritz, an energetic collie mix, was someone’s prized pet. But due to the recession, Fritz has been abandoned.
"He is a sweet, fun dog," said Sabrina Fang of the Washington Humane Society. "Sadly, his owner had him for about 11 years and she lost her job, had to go back to live with Mom and Dad, and Mom and Dad’s apartment didn’t allow pets."
The Washington Humane Society, where Fritz now calls home, said he certainly is not alone. The organization's cages are filled with animals who used to have loving homes. The shelter on Georgia Avenue said since the recession hit, they’ve been taking in 10 percent more pets than they adopt out.
"It’s not because they don’t love their animals anymore, but of course [the situation] strains our resources," said Fang. "You know we only have so much space in the shelter, and we keep these animals as long as they’re healthy and happy to try and find a home for them because they deserve it."
They’re also noticing more cats getting ditched than dogs.
Bonita’s owner left the area in search of more work, but now the 11-year-old cat has been stuck in the shelter for more than seven months. Part of the problem is the stigma behind adopting shelter animals. But the Washington Humane Society says that shelter pets are just as loving.
"They go through a behavioral test with us, they get spayed and neutered, they get all their vaccines, they get microchipped," said Fang. "So when you get an animal from the Washington Humane Society, ...they’re ready to go."
The Washington Humane Society says it’s a simple process to adopt a pet. The first step: Go in to fill out a survey, and find out which pet suits you best. And once you’ve found the animal for you, it’s a minimal fee to take him or her home. All cats are $85 and dogs are $170.
But the shelter is running a special in August. All cats older than seven years old -- and Fritz -- are free.
To learn more about how to adopt one of these cute animals head to the Washington Humane Society's website or call 202-BE-HUMANE.
Fan, Follow and Text: Get the latest from NBCWashington.com anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters and get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text DCBREAKING to 622339 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)