PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local animal shelters say they have reached capacity.

The struggling economy is forcing human owners to surrender their dogs and cats to humane shelters. With job losses and home foreclosures, they often just can’t afford to keep caring for a pet.

“We have not seen this in Allegheny County,” Animal Friends Humane Officer Cathy Hecker said. “One of the problems have been the shelter that we are, the organization that we are is we do provide medical care and we do try to give them a second chance and that means our cages are full.”

An Australian cattle pup is looking for a new home at the Western Pa Humane Society. More than 100 new animals came in this past weekend.

“Those are animals that came in for a variety of reasons, but financial pressures on the family definitely played a part,” Gretchen Fieser, spokeswoman for the WPHS, said.

The manager of a Butler County shelter said volunteers find dogs tied to their mailbox in the morning or a box of kittens on the doorstep.

Animal Friends, a “no kill” shelter, is totally overwhelmed. A recent spike in cat hoarding is pushing them to the limit.

“Just this week our humane officers were called to a home in Garfield where we found 70 cats,” Jolene Miklas, with Animal Friends, said.

Starting Monday through the end of the year, Animal Friends will begin waiving all adoption fees for any cat age 2 and up.

Animal Friends
Western Pa Humane Society