MEDFORD - The tough economy is taking its toll on the disabled as fewer people volunteer to train service dogs.

The organization Canine Companions for Independence says the poor economy has prevented many Long Islanders from offering their help because volunteers have to pay for the dog's food and some veterinary care.

The Canine Companions group says because of the shortage of volunteers, it needs at least six people to house a puppy for a year and a half. Canine Companions for Independence