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Economy Bad for Pets

Pets suffer in struggling economy

PORTLAND -- Pets are the latest victims of the brutal economy, according to the manager of the Clackamas County Dog Shelter.

Workers there said it’s not unusual to find abandoned dogs at their front door in the morning.

Two weeks ago they found two crates holding seven greyhounds, including three puppies. The crates carried a note.

“The note said, `I’ve been unemployed for four years and I just can’t do this anymore. Please take care,`” said shelter manager Diana Hallmark. “Sad.".

Hallmark noticed a change a year ago; more dogs were being dropped off each week than normal. The shelter can only hold 51 dogs, but Saturday there were 57 there waiting for adoption. Hallmark said she blames the economy.

“It’s frustrating and heart breaking all at the same time because there are families out there giving up their family member,” Hallmark said. “And they`re doing it because they don’t know what else to do."

It doesn`t look like things will change any time soon.


“We`re still flat,” said Tom Fuller of the Oregon Employment Department. “Unemployment`s just not moving. We`ve gone down from last month, but really we`re going nowhere."

The state’s unemployment rate in October was 9.5 percent, basically unchanged from September`s 9.6 percent rate. Fuller said there are some jobs, but competition is fierce.

He said there were 13,000 openings, but added, “We`ve got 120,000 people collecting benefits. That’s where you start to understand there are a whole lot more people looking for work than there are jobs for them to get."

Justus Akwenuk said he knows the situation first hand. He has a degree in mechanical engineering but said he can`t find work.

At a job fair in North Portland, where a solar company was hiring 100 people, Akwenuk and an estimated 800 others were applying.

“Well it’s been really tough,” Akwenuk said. “Right now I go for even menial jobs, jobs that can at least pay minimum wages but it’s been really difficult."

Everyone, it seems, looks forward to a time when the economy takes off again, and families can afford to keep man`s best friend at home.