Several shelters and animal advocates say people are surrendering their dogs and cats to animal shelters at a growing rate, in part because they can't justify $1,000 a year or more on pet food, veterinary services, grooming and other costs.
The problem for shelters is made worse since a drop-off in government funding and charitable donations is coinciding with a shrinking pool of potential adopters.
The result has been cramped quarters for dogs and cats, a faster rate of shelters euthanizing animals and some shelters turning away people looking to surrender pets.
There is no nationwide data on why dogs and cats are being abandoned. But shelter managers and animal advocates say the trend is clear.