Animal shelters are barren due to pandemic shutdown — but not for long

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While people are quarantined, many have taken the homebound opportunity to adopt cats or dogs.

Since the stay-at-home orders first went into effect a couple months ago, shelters are seeing a shortage of animals nationwide, according to the American Humane Society. 

On one hand, more dogs and cats are finding comfort in forever homes. On the other, the pandemic has hindered most intake efforts, creating the shortage in shelters.

Philadelphia-area shelters say they, too, are experiencing fewer dogs and cats in their facilities. Unfortunately, that won’t last long.

At Brandywine Valley SPCA's West Chester campus, there are only 10 dogs currently on the adoption floor. Usually, there are 90. And, there are currently five cats available. The capacity is 65.

“Our adoption floor is almost always completely full, which is a very usual situation for us,” said spokesperson Linda Torelli.

She said the adoption population is low, in part, because the shelter usually helps animals facing euthanasia from other states, particularly down south. The transportation chain was broken because of the pandemic.

“We have been slowly increasing our transport because we've been able to come up with safe protocols to do that — states that are in better condition, as far as their COVID-19 situation,” she said. “We do expect this to be the low point in our population, as the situation is getting better in various areas. As we make sure the situation is safe, we are going to be getting more animals into our shelters.”

Other reasons there are fewer animals in shelters: Some centers either closed or had to scale down operations. Others stepped up to foster, and they either adopted the animals themselves or found permanent placements for the pets off-site.

There may be fewer kittens and puppies, too, due to ongoing spay and neutering programs.

Some coronavirus restrictions have been lifted elsewhere, so Torelli said several transports are scheduled to enter the shelter next week.