PORTSMOUTH, Va. ( WAVY) – A sign of the economic times is on full display at the Portsmouth Humane Society.

At the shelter that must take in strays, pets picked up by police and animals caught in domestic violence, not one space is available.

“Our capacity is roughly 65 dogs and we are right at capacity,” said shelter director Amanda McQuarry.

The shelter is nearly overflowing with dogs, most of the bull variety, as families can no longer afford a pet.

(WAVY photo/Walter Hildebrand)

“We’ve had more and more families who are really struggling in one way or another and they are having to make the tough decision to give up their pet,” McQuarry said. “It’s often the worst day of their lives.”

Caring for your four-legged friend can be ruff. According to the American Kennel Club, the cost of caring for a giant-sized dog is about $3,300 a year, $2,600 for medium dogs and $1,800 for small dogs.

The Human Society staff has tips to help families minimize the cost of caring for a pet.

“So there are a lot of low-cost clinics in our area that help us spay and neuter and [offer discounts on] different medications,” McQuarry said.

According to McQuarry, if adoptions don’t pick up soon, shelters across the region may have to euthanize animals.

“We really need the public to come in and help us with fostering adopting donating their money sharing[information on the need] on social media,” McQuarry said. “All of that helps get pets in new homes.”

Want to help?

For more information, go to the Portsmouth Humane Society’s Facebook page, or to its website.