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In Friday’s edition of The Covington News, we informed readers that the ailing economy seems to even be affecting pets. Teri Key-Hoosen, director of Newton County Animal Control, said animal control has seen increased instances of dogs and cats wandering the streets as well as locked into abandoned homes and yards — half-starved — as a result of people losing their homes and jobs.

 In many cases these animals are too far gone to be rescued and have to be put down.

 When a family decides to take in an animal, they make a commitment to it for the entirety of its life. Once adopted the pet relies on its family to provide it with food, water, shelter and love. If you or your family are unable to provide the basic necessities for a pet, then you should not adopt one.

If you are unable to care for your pet any longer because of the financial burden, don’t be embarrassed and take it to the animal shelter. The shelter does not turn away any animal.

 Because this time of year has a heavier traffic at the shelter, with moms and dads buying Christmas puppies and kittens, Key-Hoosen suggested potential adopters assess their ability to care for an animal. She said people shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions such as, "what all goes into caring for a kitten?" or "how much should I expect to pay to feed a 50-pound adult dog?" Asking questions of the shelter’s staff will only help you better care for your new pet.

 Unfortunately, when the Newton County Animal Shelter is full, they have to put down animals to make room for new ones. We encourage you to adopt from a shelter rather than a pet boutique or a breeder if you are considering it, and give a deserving animal a second chance at a good life. For more information about the Newton County Animal Shelter, call (770) 786-9514.