MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — During the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people have been left without a job and are scrambling to figure out how to maintain their finances because of it. With many unable to financially support their pets, the Middleburg Heights Animal Kennel said its starting to see a surge in people abandoning or giving up their animals.
In a single week, three pets were surrendered to the shelter with owners citing coronavirus as the reason.
"There's always people that abandon their animals, but to have three in a week, it's pretty unprecedented. People are afraid," said Laura Takacs, a Middleburg Heights animal care and control officer
The Middleburg Heights Animal Kennel said they received a call from one woman in tears who couldn’t afford to feed her dog and felt surrendering her might be her only option. The shelter said it offered to assist the woman with food and hopes to be able to help others as well.
"To choose between feeding your kids and your animals, we don't want people to have to make that decision," Takacs said.
The shelter is offering any help they can to residents of Middleburg Heights, but in order to help more people, donations are needed.
The Middleburg Heights Animal Kennel is accepting no-contact donations of dog and cat food, treats and toys.
Donations can be dropped off at the shelter's doors, located at 7375 Engle Rd., any time between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the weekend.
Middleburg Heights residents who need financial assistance with their pets should call 440-243-1234.