YORK -- Many of the victims of current economic woes dogging the nation are furry and have four legs.
Janet Richardson and her staff at Richardson Rescue are caring for about 90 of them.
"It's because of all the foreclosures," Richardson said. "We're getting our butts kicked over here.
"A lot of people are just dropping dogs off at other people's houses, and they end up here."
Richardson's kennels are full with adult dogs and puppies. In addition to food, water and shelter, the rescue also provides medical care to all the pooches. But, as the economy turned south, the donations she relied on have dried up. She expects it to get even harder as summer rolls around.
"Summer is always the worst," she said. "We see flea and tick ridden dogs, emaciated dogs, dehydrated dogs, it's just really bad."
Recent rain hasn't helped either, Richardson said. Because the kennels are outside, when it rains the rescue center replaces all of the bedding material for every dog, adding to its operating cost.
Richardson also runs a spay and neuter clinic separately from the rescue center. She charges private owners about $15 for the procedures, but because of the nonprofit status of the rescue operation, the rescue dogs cannot go through the clinic for treatments. That money must come out of the rescue's budget.
Richardson also is picky when it comes to adopting out her rescued animals. People who want to take one of her dogs home have to fill out an application available on the rescue's Web site (www.richarsonrescue.org or www.richardsonrescue.petfinder.com), and schedule an appointment at the center. Richardson won't adopt to anyone who has a dog that has not been spayed or neutered or is not current on its shots.
Richardson once ran a company with about 200 employees before she moved south from New York.
"I just got sick of it and left," she said. "I never thought I'd run a rescue."
She volunteered with York County Animal Control and Humane Society for a few years, which led her to open the rescue center.
"I've never seen anything so horrendous," she said about the cases of animal cruelty and neglect she witnessed.
The center is always looking for volunteers, she said. Richardson Rescue, in conjunction with Stacy's Greenhouse, will hold an adoption event at Stacy's from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Saturday, April 18.
Another bright spot, she said is Richardson Rescue, York County Animal Control, Operation Care and Animal Adoption League have combined efforts for the first time since 2000 to form the Committee for Responsible Pet Ownership.
The committee, in addition to pushing for changes to local laws such as its campaign against tethering in York County, also is offering to build fencing and pet housing for pet owners who can't afford to do it themselves.