LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Volunteers with Vegas Pet Rescue Project said they are seeing an influx of pet owners surrendering their pets due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Last week alone we took in 28, between owner surrenders and strays. And we along with other rescues are pretty much at capacity," said Winsome Camero, a volunteer and pet foster parent with Vegas Pet Rescue Project.
Usually they said they take in 10 or 15 pet surrenders per month.
Camero said the increase in pet surrenders is being prompted by more people losing their jobs.
When push comes to shove, some pet owners are being forced to choose between feeding their families and feeding their pets.
“A lot of people are losing their jobs and they just can't afford pets anymore," said Jasmin Traster, a volunteer and foster parent for Vegas Pet Rescue Project.
Some people are surrendering their pets while others are taking more extreme measures.
"It has been happening more often where there have been people that drive and just throw their pets out of the car unfortunately. And that's the worst of the worst," said Camero.
VPRP currently has 22 active pet foster parents and 55 animals to care for.
Some of the animals just need a forever home while others are in need of medical care.
"We are at a point where we still need more fosters and not only that but we definitely need financial help from the community," said Camero.
"With everybody losing their jobs, our donations also dropped. So we are taking in more pets but our donations are not at the level they were before," said Traster.
To help with the costs of fostering pets, VPRP is enlisting the services of a foster pig named Leroy.
"I got Leroy a couple of months ago and he wasn't neutered yet so he was naughty for sure," said Traster.
Leroy is one of the many pets surrendered by their owners but his skills are helping to pay for much needed pet food, cat litter and medical procedures.
Using child friendly, non-toxic paint, Leroy is creating abstract art with his snout and tongue.
“He licks it and spreads it around or if it is paint he kind of mushes it around with his nose," said Traster.
The works of art are selling at auction, fetching anywhere from $3 to $40 dollars each.
VPRP said it is in desperate need of pet foster parents. If you would like to become a pet foster parent or adopt a pet, visit vegaspetrescueproject.com.