Pets left behind at rental homes becoming growing problem

Clay County seeing rise in number of abandoned dogs, cats

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – There's a spike in a problem that'll tug at the heartstrings of pet lovers. 

According to property managers in the area, more and more people are leaving their pets behind when they move out of their rental homes and apartments.

Christina Suthrin, director of Clay County Animal Care and Control and nonprofit Friends of Clay County Animals, said she wants people to know there are other options if they can't keep their pet. 

"The Friends of the Clay County Animal group has done this to sponsor more funding for them, for the animals of Clay County, to fund things like the three animals we just had from an eviction that are heartworm-positive, or we had a cat that was left in an apartment as well from an eviction process," Suthrin said. 

It's a growing problem that Suthrin said she sees on a regular basis -- dogs and cats left in homes by owners who have moved out. 

"We are seeing eviction happen with animals left behind almost weekly," she said. "Our most recent one was -- we had a situation where a family had five pets. Their new home only allowed them to have two pets. So our animal control officer had to go and have the owners surrender them in the field and they had threatened the deputy at that point in time that they were going to leave them behind."

For reasons like that, Clay County Animal Care and Control, along with Friends of Clay County Animals, are holding fundraisers. 

Oftentimes, Suthrin said, the county will only pay for the basics. But sometimes, the animals need surgeries and medical treatments.

"It's really important that they get the support that they need, because these animals absolutely depend on things like this," she said.

If you're no longer able to keep your pet, you can reach out to Friends of Clay County Animals by visiting the group's website or Facebook page.