By Nicole Wiseman, NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK -- The number of animals wandering Green Country is on the rise, according to Tulsa area animal rescue representatives. They say most of them are dumped and neglected pets and the majority of them are dogs.
The Tulsa Zoo, with the help of animal rescues, has hosted several pet adoption awareness events throughout the year. Their goal is to find homes for abandoned animals.
"We know better than anyone that the overpopulation of animals is so problematic," said Jodi Koch of the Tulsa Zoo.
Koch knows there's a problem because she says strays are constantly found in and around zoo property.
"Often times we find ones out here that just aren't really being looked for, so it's just a sad thing," said Koch.
According to the Zoi's Animal Rescue web site, an estimated 30,000 dogs and cats are euthanized every year in Oklahoma shelters. Some think that number's as high as it is, in part, because of the economy.
"They can either no longer keep them because of finances or their living situations have changed to where they're either going into an apartment or moving in with family and their pets are the ones who have to go somewhere," said Debbie Stellas, President and Founder of Zoi's Animal Rescue in Claremore.
"We're hearing about people moving and leaving their pets in their homes or leaving them in the yards. We hear that almost daily," said Jennifer Westbrook of the Tulsa SPCA.
While some can't help their changing lifestyle, Koch says they can take responsibility for their pets, even if they can't afford to keep them.
"There's a right way to do it and a wrong way, and we want to let people know that it's not acceptable to just dump a dog," said Koch.
If you can't afford to own your pet anymore, you can contact a rescue or shelter for help. If you own a pet, Koch stresses the importance of helping control pet overpopulation by having your furry friend spayed or neutered.