An economy gone to the dogs

Nearly half of all American households own more than one pet. Alex Cohen looks at one segment of our finances that has increasingly... gone to the dogs. And cats.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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Thanks for highlighting this aspect of current economic conditions. The shelter you visited is one of the best and it is good to hear that the dogs are safe until they find new homes. Unfortunately that is not the case most other places. Here in Nashville, where Animal Control routinely euthanizes more than 10,000 animals a year, 60 dogs a day are going down. What's worse, many people are choosing to abandon their pets or dump them in city parks. The small private rescue group for which I volunteer is getting a record number of pleas and is desperate for foster homes. Once again, animals are the first to bear the consequences when humans don't get it right. I know many people are facing genuine hardship, but in most cases, a decision to surrender or abandon a pet indicates the priority people place on life in general. This will be a time of weeding out uncommitted pet owners, but unfortunately there will be little learning; most of these people will just get another pet when times get better - another symptom of our inhumane, materialistic society.

Well, they're the lucky ones in that they have space for all those dogs. Many shelters were tight on space before the downturn, and so now have to destroy hundreds of perfectly good pets because Americans have such a cavalier attitude toward pets. Please spay or neuter your dogs, and if you're not prepared to take care of a pet, DON'T ADOPT OR BUY ONE. You're not helping if you adopt a dog, and immediately return it...

I find it utterly deplorable the continued irresponsibility continues. Giving up a dog shows how disgraceful our race has become. I have met homeless people with dogs who won't give them up. Pet ownership should include a background check and deposit. Each day I'm more disgusted by the ramification of the housing "crisis". I'd be homeless before my dog!!!!

At least they have enough room for the animals

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