“Hard times leaving animals homeless; Shelters overburdened by increase in surrenders, strays.” By Brian Benson. Boston Globe. January 14, 2010. In the past year, thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals that have been brought to shelters or abandoned in the streets as their owners struggle to cover medical and food costs or downsize to an apartment that does not allow pets. This increases the burden on nonprofit animal shelters, many of which are at capacity, coping with stagnant adoption rates, and facing up to a 50 percent decrease in donations.
“Her last gift: A little house in Newton, just for the cats.” By Jenifer B. McKim, Globe. January 17, 2010. Muriel Bayne’s love for her cats was well known on Staniford Street in Auburndale. Neighborhood children called her the “Cat Lady’’ and Bayne’s pets were often seen contentedly peering from a picture window at the small ranch house where she lived for decades. But Bayne, 77, had a weak heart. And after her husband’s death in 2001, she started worrying about what would happen to her cats when she died. So she penned a will, leaving them the home and a $300,000 trust. Weeks later, Bayne’s heart gave out. That’s how Shadow, Dolly, Lady, and Spot became trust fund cats. Bayne’s unusual decision preceded the high-profile move by Leona Helmsley to leave $12 million to her dog, a Maltese named Trouble, when the billionaire hotel operator died in 2007. The sum was later reduced to $2 million by a judge. But estate planners and animal welfare activists say that making reasonable provisions for a pet’s care is important and becoming more common.