Colorado’s pet shelters are overcrowded again
Across its three locations, Dumb Friends League is seeing a 41% increase in stray dogs (cats and dogs) while dog abandonments are up 15% from 2019. In March, more than 1,100 animals were brought to the organization. “The League traditionally sees an increase in the number of abandoned dogs during the summer, so an increase in the spring is concerning,” according to a press release.
“So we’re not taking dogs out of state, we’re not transferring dogs like we’ve done in the past. We all deal here with dogs from people in our communities who bring them to our shelters,” Parker explained.
While the organization cannot pinpoint a reason for the drastic increase in the number of animals entering shelters, Parker attributes financial strains, major life changes, returning to in-person work and housing insecurity as contributing factors to animal abandonment.
“We’re seeing a lot of different themes,” Parker said, “but it seems like they mostly have to do with the disruption that the pandemic and the economic conditions we’re in right now have created in people’s lives.”
While many Coloradans got a pet during the pandemic, Parker explained that newly returned pets aren’t necessarily those obtained in the spring of 2020.
“We think it’s part of that, but also dogs that people had before, but because of what they’ve been through during the pandemic, now animals aren’t suitable,” she said. . Animals that provided comfort and entertainment for people working from home and quarantined at the start of the pandemic may need more attention now. “And all this change sometimes makes it difficult for people to keep their dogs in their homes.”
Before pet owners get to the point where they have to return their pet, Parker wants them to approach the Dumb Friends League. With food, veterinary, behavioral and training resources, Dumb Friends League staff may be able to help animals stay home, she said.
Now the Dumb Friends League hopes to clear out their shelters and bring the animals into loving homes. Castle Rock’s friend center generally has shorter wait times and crowds, and the San Luis Valley Animal Centerran a $50 dog adoption special during the month of April.
“Our community is among the best in the country when it comes to pet care,” said Dr. Apryl Steele, President and CEO of the Dumb Friends League. “When we needed help, our community responded, and we hope they will now.”
Victoria Carodine is the Digital Content Producer for Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at [email protected].
Brian Willie is head of content production at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at [email protected].