"Caring for an animal costs a lot of money. So I think that plays a role when people are experiencing financial difficulties. They're going to experience difficulties everywhere in their finances, including pet care," said Ryan Drabek, Orange County Animal Care Services spokesman.
The economy is also believed to be behind fewer adoptions, which are down 3 percent compared to last year. In addition, the number of pets to be put down is also up more than 20 percent from last year.
"It makes me want to adopt every single one of them," said Rachyl Winn, a pet owner.
"It's a shame, really. It really is a shame to have to ... They're wonderful pets, wonderful animals," said Ann Bui, a pet lover.
A few months ago, the Orange County Grand Jury recommended the county adopt a mandatory spay-neuter program to try to reduce the number of pets being put down. In August, the county decided against the program saying "it is not warranted or it is not reasonable." The county says it has approved $50,000 for a spay-neuter voucher program.
The county is working on a few pilot programs, including a voucher program to help people pay to have their pets spayed or neutered.
Another $50,000 is going toward a pilot program to spay and neuter feral cats.
"We would take in feral cats, spay and neuter them, then re-release them in effort to decrease euthanasia for all cats," said Drabek.
Shelter officials are encouraging people to adopt from their local shelter. However, they are also educating people to be responsible so they know what they're getting into before getting a pet.