High gas prices pinching your wallet?  Slow economy got you down?  Well, you have no idea how bad it can really get – just ask your dog.

According to the Rock County Humane Society, a slow economy is tough on pets, since people start dumping them on the side of the road when times get tough.  From the Beloit Daily News:

Economic challenges hard on pets

Last month, someone dumped a mother cat and 24 kittens in a ditch in Newark Township.

Two litters of kittens were less than a week old, another two litters were 3 to 5 weeks old and kittens in the last litter were about 9 weeks old. A Rock County Sheriff\’s Deputy brought the kittens to the Rock County Humane Society, but only the mother and three of the older kittens were able to be saved. The rest died because they were in bad shape due to flees [sic] and dehydration.

\”God only knows how long they had been in the ditch,\” said Rock County Humane Society Executive Director Chris Kometski. \”That was 25 cats dumped in a ditch.\”

Kometski said the humane society has noticed a \”remarkable\” increase in the number of animals being abandoned or brought to the shelter because people are losing their housing or can\’t afford to take care of their pets any longer. The increase has been happening since last fall, Kometski said.

In an anonymous letter to the Beloit Daily News, a resident of Avon Township told the paper more and more people are dumping their pets along country roads in the township. The resident had personally taken in three abandoned dogs and had tried to catch a kitten.

Look, I know the Humane Society has every right to use whatever angle they feel necessary to find more homes for the kitties – but come on.  So the U.S. economy grows at 1.9%, instead of 3%, and suddenly everybody\’s dumping their \”expensive\” cats on the side of the road?

What happens when gas prices spike later in the year?  Are you going to see an epidemic of wives driving up to Minocqua to drop their husbands off on the side of a dirt road somewhere?  Seriously – once gas hits $4.25 a gallon, that\’s entirely likely.  (Ask my wife, and she\’d probably suggest $3.00 a gallon as the threshold.)

Of course, it would have been nice for the article to have one opinion that was mildly skeptical of these claims – instead, the short Beloit Daily News piece managed to cram in 18 quotes from the Humane Society representative.  It\’s essentially just a transcript of the reporter\’s phone conversation with Chris Kometski.

But remember – when hard economic times hit, just think of the puppies.  Don\’t be surprised on your next rip up north if you see a couple basset hound hobos with \”Will Poop for Food\” signs on the side of the road.