It seems that no one can escape the affects of the global economic recession these days - not even pets.
The city has already seen a sharp fall in the amount owners are spending on their beloved companions, while some are even opting to get rid of their animals to save cash, said the Guangzhou Pets Association.
Previously, people would pay up to 8,000 yuan (US$1,170) to buy a dog but that figure had dropped to just 3,000 yuan during the financial crisis, association director Zhu Risheng told China Daily yesterday.
He said many pet stores were overstocked with expensive pets, while more and more owners were now considering selling their animals or simply handing them over to charities or friends.
Wu Yongxian, who lives in Guangzhou, used to have 11 dogs. But as he makes all his money by playing the stock markets, he found it increasingly difficult to raise the cash to look after his pets when share prices started to tumble.
"I had to give eight dogs to friends last year," sobbed Wu, who said the remaining three dogs were still a heavy financial burden and that he would probably have to give them away too.
"I used to spend more than 200 yuan a month on food for the three dogs. But it was too much for me, so I don't buy dog food now, and I just feed them my leftovers instead."
Zhu said Wu's case was not a unique one as more people were now using his association to find new owners for their pets.
"The number of such people is about 20 percent more than the previous year," he said before appealing for owners not to abandon animals or give them away without careful consideration. "If people must give them to others to ease their financial burden, they should choose reliable candidates or give them to legal adoption centers."
Guangzhou has two legal pet adoption centers, the Private Pets Home and the Home for Stray Animals, which, an official yesterday said, was "already overcrowded" with strays. He recommended owners try to cut the cost of caring for their pets by feeding them homemade food or buying fewer accessories.
(China Daily March 4, 2009)