Shelters are not seeing an increase in returns of pandemic animals. Again.
The king no longer has his castle.
The 16-month-old German Shepherd / Labrador Retriever mix was adopted a few months ago. His family handed him over to the Conshohocken shelter of the Montgomery County SPCA on Tuesday.
The family told the shelter they were moving and couldn’t take King. He was one of three dogs handed over to the organization’s three shelters last week.
As pet abandonments have plummeted and adoptions have increased over the past year, when COVID-19 restrictions have kept most people at home for months, local protection organizations animals claim that even though they still experience animal abandonment, they don’t see a rush to return pandemic pets. that have been reported elsewhere in the county.
“We haven’t seen an increase in returns, and we certainly haven’t seen an increase in returns of adopted animals around this time last year and throughout the pandemic,” said Gillian. Kocher, Pennsylvania spokesperson. SPCA shelter in Philadelphia.
Shelters in Montgomery and Bucks counties also say they were not overwhelmed by the surrenders.
“This is especially true of return adoptions, which are currently
below pre-pandemic levels, ”said Jack Griffin, director of accommodation services for the Women’s Animal Center in Bensalem.
The pandemic has seen adoptions increase
Among the few bright spots to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is an increase in the number of pet owners and their reception, even as rescues and shelters have cut operations in response to rules mitigation and staff and volunteer shortages, according to shelter operators and surveys.
In previous years, the Pennsylvania SPCA received 10 applications per week for people looking to create a foster family, Kocher said.
“At the start of the pandemic, we were receiving over 100 requests per day,” she said. “We didn’t have enough animals in need to meet the demand. It was a wonderful problem to have.
Many foster families ended up adopting the animal, Kocher added.
As coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in recent weeks, fears of massive pet abandonment have surfaced.
Buybacks are increasing, but what does it mean
An industry report who assesses requests from pet owners in the United States for cats and dogs available for adoption, noted a significant increase in intake at shelters last month, compared to a year earlier.
The April PetPoint report, which aggregates data from 1,121 U.S. animal welfare organizations, found that 64,715 cats had been returned, a 91% increase from April 2020.
Cat abandonment by owners more than doubled and cats returned by owners who previously adopted the same organization increased 87% to 1,913 from the previous year.
Shelters took in 62,218 dogs – which were in high demand during the pandemic – in April, according to the report, a 60% increase from a year earlier.
Owner abandonments for dogs were up 80% from April 2020, and returns to the same organizations where dogs were adopted jumped 50% to 3,745, according to the report.
But organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say they see no evidence that shelters are seeing an increase in abandonment of so-called pandemic animals.
Shelter operators in Pennsylvania called the PetPoint intake comparisons misleading.
With shelters having limited hours during the pandemic, fewer animals could be returned during the pandemic, a trend seen in Pennsylvania, shelter representatives said.
the Montgomery The County SPCA, which operates shelters in Abington, Perkiomenville and Conshohocken – where King is staying – has temporarily suspended adoptions at the start of the pandemic over concerns of the coronavirus.
A year later, the internal population and the number of returned pets are roughly where they would be expected for this time of year, said Ed Davies, director of operations. The website lists 35 cats and 11 dogs available for adoption.
“This probably means that if there is an increase in reimbursement rates or a decrease in interest in adoption, it is low and cannot be determined until time passes,” he said. added.
the Bucks County The SPCA, which has shelters in Lahaska and Quakertown, saw its 60-day average pet return rate drop from 5% in 2019 to 4% last year, spokesperson Cindy said. Kelly.
Bucks shelters adopted 370 animals between March and June of last year and have welcomed 500 kittens. The shelter transferred all of its services, including adoptions, by appointment only last March.
According to the survey: the most satisfied with their pandemic adoptions
With more people at home, there were fewer stray animals and more opportunities for families to work with animals with difficult behaviors, Kocher said.
The number of dogs entering the Philadelphia shelter last year was lower than in previous years, while the demand for dogs was so high the shelter couldn’t keep up.
“What really told the story was walking through the shelter during those months and seeing so many empty kennels,” she added.
If recent surveys are correct, shelters should not see a massive surrender of pandemic pets anytime soon.
Over 90% of the 1,000 U.S. Pet Owners on the Website Rover.com interviewed in March reported their pandemic pets have improved their mental and physical well-being over the past year. The same percentage replied that they were still happy to have adopted.
The survey also found that more Americans adopted dogs than cats (53% vs. 32%) and 14% adopted one of each. More than half of these parents of pandemic animals already had a dog or cat, and only 13% were first-time pet owners.
Although the Women’s Animal Center has not seen an increase in dropouts in months, Griffin fears the shelter will peak once moratoriums on pandemic-related evictions are lifted and related unemployment benefits. pandemic will end.
“When we look at all the data we have, most dropouts are
really because of some form of financial or family hardship, ”Griffin said.
Prepare pets for post-pandemic life
The March Rover.com survey also found that 40% of those surveyed were anxious to return to work in person and leave their pet home alone. At the time, only 20% of respondents had returned to work.
The American Kennel Club recommended Dog owners are starting to prepare their dogs for their return to the office or for other outdoor activities and trips.
The organization suggests let dogs spend time independently in fenced yards or dog crates or beds. Another tip is not to show the dog that you are anxious to leave.
Owners should also practice leaving dogs alone in a room for increasingly long periods of time and exercising with the dogs for at least 15 minutes before leaving the house for extended periods.
In response to the pet owner pandemic, the Bucks County SPCA launched a toll-free pet behavior helpline last May, Kelly said. In the first six months, the organization responded to 166 calls.
The shelter’s director of animal behavior responds to every request and has been on a national pet helpline in the past, Kelly said.
“She’s getting more calls in Bucks County than they’ve received through the national helpline,” she added.
Kocher of the SPCA said his organization works hard to follow up with adoptive families to provide them with resources when they run into difficulties and to help connect owners with trainers.
These resources and support, which include a behavior team, are available throughout the life of the adopted animal.
“We have a lifelong commitment to the animals that we put in homes,” Kocher said. “It’s not just our mission to find homes for the animals, but to keep them there.”