SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Brenda Wilson has lived in El Cajon nearly all her life and has never wanted to move until now. And it's all because she has to apply for a permit to have a third dog.
In El Cajon, there's an ordinance that only allows two dogs per household, unless you get a permit and pay a fee of more than $300.
It's yet another expense that Wilson, who's a retiree on a fixed income, can't afford.
"The cost of taking care of animals has skyrocketed so much that I don't see how people, including myself, can hardly afford it anymore," said Wilson.
The ASPCA says the average cost of owning a pet is more than $1,000 a year.
And in San Diego County, the Department of Animal Services reports there were 1,430 animals surrendered from June 2017 to June of 2018.
But there are ways to save.
The San Diego Humane Society has a program called PAWS: Pets Are Wonderful Support. Their programs can help with food, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, microchipping, training, and supplies.
Vet schools usually provide cheaper care that's still supervised by a vet. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a list of accredited veterinary colleges.
If an unexpected pet medical expense does come up, talk to your vet. Many offer payment plans or discounts to their regular patients.
Back in El Cajon, Wilson and her growing pet family are doing what it takes to stay together, shelling out the extra money for a permit.
"I wanted to do the right thing but doing the right thing is, apparently, I feel like the wrong thing at this point," said Wilson.
The City of El Cajon tells 10News that the cost of the permit ensures that the city's cost to analyze the application, inspect the property, and manage the permit is recovered.