By Alicia Neaves
ODESSA - Odessa Animal Control says with thousands leaving the Basin to look for work because of the drop in oil prices, they're also seeing an increase in residents who can no longer afford to care for their pets.
"I'm a dog lover so it hurt me. I just can't imagine people leaving their dogs out like that," said an Odessa resident who wished to remain anonymous.
Since last Thursday, the same two dogs have wandered around his home searching for food.
"They were very skinny, matted up. You can tell that nobody had been taking care of them for a while," he said.
He's not the only one spotting strays. Other Odessa residents report that this is the highest number of strays they've seen in the past 25 years.
Odessa Animal Control says they've seen a slight decrease in adoptions too.
"People don't have the money now or they don't have the income coming in," said Shelter Director of Odessa Animal Control, Jacque Adimare.
They say they're working on a retention program and a food bank to help residents keep their pets if money is the issue.
"Sometimes it just takes a little bit of help. Sometimes it's just, 'Hey, I need a month and if I just had some food for a month to take care of them, I think I can get through this,'" said Adimare.
Most importantly, if you can't care for your pet, don't abandon it. Take it to a shelter or call Animal Control.