By Cara Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

he end of the school semester often means moving sales, empty

apartments and abandoned pets.

While Milo and Otis may have a home during the school year, many students fail to plan ahead and find themselves unable to continue caring for their pets.

"Around May and June we always have a surge of homeless pets," said Lorraine Ramirez, Humane Society of Tucson education coordinator.

Over 150 pets were turned in to the humane society in just one day this summer, Ramirez said.

"While students are not the only ones who turn in pets, I think the problem is that perhaps it is the first time the students are away from home and they need a companion, but they don't realize the commitment that is involved," Ramirez said.

David Hunter, an English literature senior, realizes the committment and said he could never justify giving his pets up for adoption.

Hunter travels often and has a 4-year-old dog named Cito and a three-year-old cat named Leo that he has to leave with friends for extended periods of time.

"Having a pet is always a large responsibility. I knew when I got them that it would be a commitment," Hunter said. "They are such a large part of my life that I could never imagine giving them up." Each year Tucson's homeless pet population reaches over 35,000, Ramirez said. Of these, 24,000 must be put to sleep as a result of diseases or simply not being adopted.

"The first thing I smell in the morning is the crematorium and the last thing I hear when I go home is the soulful cries of the lonely cats and dogs," Ramirez said.

The kennel holds approximately 300-350 pets.

"When we have room we can allow the pets to stay a few weeks and sometimes months, but during the summer, it may only be days before they are euthanised," Ramirez said.

Ramirez said the majority of pets in the kennel are given up by their owners. The cards that are attached to the kennel cages include reasons ranging from their yard isn't large enough, to landlords that will not accept pets.

"Owners have to include their pets when they are making plans to move. Many landlords do accept pets," she said.

Many pets are left in empty apartments to fend for themselves because the owners don't consider their pets when planning to move.

Allison Pohlman, a math senior, said she has seen a lot of people abandon their pets in her apartment complex.

"Last semester I saw a skinny, straggly cat limping under my stairs. It broke my heart because I couldn't take care of another cat," Pohlman said.

This year Pohlman had to give her own cat up because her apartment complex doesn't allow pets.

"Spooky lives with my mom now. We tried to find a place that would allow pets, but we ran out of time. We were just plain out of luck," she said.

Ramirez said these kinds of situations must be thought out before someone adopts a pet.

"There is a lot more to pet ownership than people realize. If more people take responsibility, maybe we can get out of the business of killing animals," she said. Read Next Article