County animal control officials say they are seeing a record number of animals being brought to their facilities this fall.
The economic downturn is forcing some pet owners to move from a house to an apartment where animals, particularly certain breeds, are not allowed, said Kim Searles, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society.
"Currently, we have so many cats that we can't get them an adoption," Searles said.
Adding to the problem, cats are getting sick and have to go to the animal hospital, which prevents them from being available for adoption. They return to the kennels and add to overcrowding, she said.
Melissa Gable, executive director of Friends of Animal Care and Control, said in an e-mail that it's not unusual for the county shelter to take in more than 100 animals a day. Her group that raises money to support the programs of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
"The current trend of increased animals... is definitely of great concern," she said.
"If this trend continues, MCACC could see nearly 10,000 more dogs and cats" by the summer of 2009, Gable wrote. "With crowded kennels comes the likelihood of more disease and stressed animals."
Both groups urge pet owners to spay and neuter their animals and to license them. The agency has a free spay/neuter voucher program that allows Maricopa County residents to have their animals spayed or neutered at no cost, Gable said.
"Pet overpopulation affects all of us," Gable said. "We all need to work together to combat this problem."