It's a tough world for pets without a home.
At the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) shelter, adoption rates are down and relinquishment rates are up, according to staff.
"We're in a crisis situation," said Dr. E. J. Finocchio, a veterinarian at the Riverside RISPCA, noting about 33 percent of animals currently housed were handed over to the shelter after owners came up against hard economic times. "It's a perfect storm of circumstances."
But even though staff would like to increase the adoption rate that is now at 83 percent, they say wrapping a bow around a furry creature is not the ideal holiday situation.
"It's not a good time of year to adopt a pet," he said, noting dogs and cats are social creatures. "Animals are creatures of habit, they don't like change. At the holidays, there is a lot of commotion going on. It can be very stressful to an animal, they should go to a very calm situation."
The East Providence shelter facilitates communities throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The private, non-profit works with local law enforement agencies to prosecute animal cruelty cases. There are about 90 cats and dogs and a small number of rabbits, iguanas and snakes waiting for a home.
"Our main goal is to protect animals in all situations through education and legislation," said Finocchio.