MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) - They are often described as a member of the family, but taking care of a pet can be costly.
Tissy was surrendered to the Marathon County Humane Society and he is still waiting for a new home.
"It's a very traumatic situation when people have to surrender a pet, and it's getting harder and harder but we're hearing more and more that they have to choose between vaccinations for their kids and vaccinations for their pets," said Mary Kirlin, Director at Marathon County Humane Society.
Director Mary Kirlin said the number one reason pets are surrendered is because owners can't afford them.
"We ask people when they do bring in surrendered animals the reasons for surrender are and try to get a history," Kirlin said.
But Kirlin said the pets are usually in need of proper care, "Maybe dental type things, maybe there's injuries, skin lesions, ear mites haven't been treated, a lot more than normal."
And that means the humane society picks up the cost.
"We don't cover our costs that we put into an animal in the adoption process, but we want to make sure that we get them into good homes and get them out there and make them affordable for someone to own when they leave here their sterilized and fully vaccinated," Kirlin said.
Local veterinarians said they have also seen the impact of the current economic climate on pets.
"Not just for clients but it's hard for us too because we don't want to see our patients suffer anymore than the owners do," said Dr. Luke Peterson at Wisconsin Valley Veterinary Services.
Dr. Peterson said owners are making sacrifices,"We're having a lot more discussions about what part of the preventative care is absolutely necessary."
Kirlin said when the economy is down, the humane society often sees an increase in the number of surrendered pets and fewer adoptions.
"We are down and we are losing money every month over the last several months, so we're are really counting on the economy to turn around or for a big blessing to hit us," Kirlin said.