TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many families are having a hard time feeding themselves, let alone their pets.

Bay Area animal rescues are struggling, as more people surrender their pets because of rising costs and inflation.

“In the last couple of months we’ve seen a dramatic increase in people having to, heartbroken, but having to turn their pets in because of the economy,” Humane Society of Tampa Bay CEO Sherry Silk said.

Like many shelters in the Bay Area, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is experiencing a dramatic increase in pets being surrendered.

“People are losing their homes, and their apartments, or maybe they haven’t lost apartment but gas is costing people more, food is costing more, so the family pet often times is the one that is forgotten,” Silk said.

Most days, the shelter is over capacity.

“I would say it’s very dire and we never want to turn an animal away but sometimes we have to,” Silk said.

To help families keep their pets, the HSTB recently expanded their pet pantry. Two days a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, people can get free food for their animals.

“Our funds are kind of low right now, so this is a big help,” said Herschel Kirkland, who picked up food for his new kitten.

“This keeps animals from being hungry and often times keeps the animal with those families, because they can come back every week and get another bag of food,” Silk said.

The Humane Society has partnered with rehoming websites and is encouraging families to try to find their pets a home before taking them to a shelter that may turn them away.

If you would like to help, you can donate lightly used pet items and food so they can continue helping people and pets in need.