Older animals losing what they grew up with

The lack of animals being spayed or neutered has always been a population problem for animal shelters

But places, like the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society, are seeing a concerning trend: families having to surrender their older pets.

It has been a tough year for 11 year-old Harley, a husky mix who came from a loving family who now finds his love in a daily stroll to the mailbox. You see, Harley has spent much of the last 365 days in this pen at the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society.

â??He's an old man, he kind of gets set in his ways a little bit, but you know, he still has a couple good years for someone willing to give him a home," says Deter Racine, Executive Director of the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society.

Harley is part of an increasing trend at the shelter, where older animals being surrendered. Itâ??s happening for several reasons but the economy is playing a big part

â??The most common is people have lost their home and they're moving into another rental unit, apartment, another house that won't allow animals," says Racine.

Racine says there's also an increase of animals coming in with health issues. It has a no-kill policy, so it's stuck with the bill, which averages about a thousand dollars per animal for the donor-funded organization.

â??It definitely takes a toll on our resources when there's physical or medical problems with the animals when they come in here," says Racine.

But the biggest problem the shelter is seeing is nobody seems to want a dog like Harley or an older cat, animals that Racine says deserve a chance to live out their lives happily.

â??When you have a dog or cat for a number of years and they have their personalities, you have to understand the homes that they could be in are quite limited," says Racine.

The chances for these older dogs to be adopted are less and less as they grow older, but the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society holds on to that little glimmer of hope that one day they'll be adopted.

The average stay for a surrendered animal is two weeks at the Humane Society.

But for the older animals, it takes months, sometimes years, to find them a home.