Pandemic pets return to overcrowded shelters due to inflation

During the pandemic lockdowns, animal shelters saw record-breaking adoptions but now, many of...
During the pandemic lockdowns, animal shelters saw record-breaking adoptions but now, many of those animals are being returned.(KY3)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 5:07 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - During the pandemic lockdowns, animal shelters saw record-breaking adoptions, but many of those animals are being returned.

The humane society has more than 300 animals looking to find their forever homes. With inflation causing the cost of everything to go up, many people surrender their pets because they can’t afford them.

“Honestly, it’s been insane,” said Humane Society of Southwest Missouri Marketing Director Katie Newcomb. “We’ve had a lot of surrenders and returns. Most people are saying they just can’t afford it anymore. They can’t afford the dog food, the cat food, they can’t afford the gas to take them to and from vets, can’t afford the vet care, everything’s going to go up. I mean, even our prices have to go up because of that. So it’s affecting everyone in every way, and unfortunately, that means the animals too.”

This puts a strain on the shelter because there is just not enough space for these animals. Staff and volunteer foster families take pets into their homes until they are adopted.

“It’s been a struggle. We’ve had staff take home stray animals that they found because we don’t space here, so they just keep them till we do,” said Newcomb. “We have volunteers helping out in that sense. We have foster’s just absolutely stepping up and helping us even more. We have even more of a waitlist, and it’s getting longer each day because we just don’t have space.”

While people are still adopting these pets, fewer families are coming in looking for a family dog or cat.

“t’s definitely not the number of people that we typically have around summertime,” said Newcomb. “Usually in the summer people are home a little bit more, school is out and things like that. So they get more adoptions, and they don’t go in, and they’re like, Hey, we can start a life with a puppy and trainer kitten. Now they’re saying it’s too expensive. So we’re still getting some, but we’re definitely not getting as many as we need and would like to have to.”

With inflation rising, the humane society is also dealing with the rising costs of pet products like food, litter, and vet care. If you are interested in adopting a furry friend or want to volunteer at the humane society, CLICK HERE.

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