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Dec 6, 2015 2:08 PM

Pets the latest victims of NH's opioid crisis


MANCHESTER - Meet Curly. Last weekend, the fluffy white dog was left by his owner at the Hope for NH Recovery Center while his owner sought treatment for addiction.

"When people and dogs are ready for help, what do we do?" asked Kriss Blevens, an advocate for animals and for people struggling with addiction. "Our mission is to help anyone that walks in the door."

Blevens said she tried to find a local shelter that would take Curly.

And in the process, she's identified one of the newest challenges of the opioid crisis -- it's affecting pets as well as people.

Employees at animal shelters across the Granite State say they are overwhelmed with abandoned dogs, whose owners are battle addiction.

It's something Carolyn Vanderhorst struggles with at the Manchester Animal Shelter. She's see a huge influx over the past six months of dogs surrended by addicted owners.

"They've made their choices and unfortunately the animals are the ones to suffer because of that," she said.

But Vanderhorst said the shelter can't accept some pets because legally, they still have owners, even if the owners are addicts and unable to take care of themselves, never mind their pets. That makes it impossible to put them up for adoption.

She introduces a pale brown dog who looks at her, eager for attention. "This is a personal pet so legally they can't just turn into this other person's dog," she says.

In response, Blevens and the Manchester Animal Hospital are now working to put together a list of temporary homes for pets whose owners are battling addiction.

--  Dealing with the Disease of Addiction? Click here for help --



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