(NECN: John Moroney, Centerville, Mass.) - Believe it or not, animal shelters can serve as economic indicators, as more and more pets are put up for adoption because their owners can no longer afford to take care of them.
"We see all kinds of animals that come in here, mainly cats and dogs but we'll get birds, hamsters rabbits. One time we got a snake that was brought in," said Liz Flynn, a volunteer with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
At this Cape Cod shelter, the MSPCA is bracing for a jump in the numbers animals surrendered as a result of the fallout caused by the budget squester in Washington, D.C. Carter Luke is president of the MSPCA-Angell with shelters in Centerville, Methuen and Boston.
"Jobs and housing really impact on animals and their homes and people as well. So, it's time to be prepared for that," Luke said.
At the MSPCA's Nevins Farms in Methuen, they've taken in a record number of horses every year - all for the same reason. Many of them become too expensive for their owners in this down economy. The MSPCA has seen an increase in the number of animals given up for adoption since the economy went south in 2008, and so far things have yet to turn around.
"It's heartbreaking for some these families and the animals. Animal comes in here in after being in a home and now is in a cage." said Flynn. "They're stressed out."
To try and deal with the added demand, the MSPCA has sought out more volunteers and expanded its foster care network.