While animal adoptions have increased during quarantine, some longtime pet owners are finding it out impossible to maintain their four-legged friends.
As many Americans continue to struggle financially due to COVID-19, pet surrenders, giving up your dog or cat to a shelter or rescue, have become another tragic consequence of the ongoing pandemic, reported USA Today.
The trend is being exacerbated by an increase in evictions and the failure of lawmakers to come up with another round of stimulus checks and/or a boost to unemployment benefits.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that up to another 10 million pets could be left without a permanent home in the coming months, the outlet noted.
Other organizations which provide veterinary assistance have also seen a dramatic rise in the number of calls they receive asking for help.
“Since the pandemic started, we have had double that amount on a daily basis, and the numbers keep increasing,” Karen Leslie, executive director of The Pet Fund in Sacramento, wrote in an email to the publication. “This has previously only happened after natural disasters.”
She added: “The requests are the same – from pet owners out of work or who have had their income reduced who now need help.”
To provide some aid to pet owners, the Humane Society has established a COVID-19 Relief Fund and has dispersed over $1 million to pet rescues and shelters in 48 states.
Older pets are at an increased risk for being surrendered.
For people with senior pets which require extra care, organizations like Lily’s Care work to find new homes for their elder fur babies so they don’t run the risk of being euthanized at a shelter.
"It's a much better solution to find a rescue that can take them and have a much better chance of getting adopted,” said Lily’s Care executive director, Alice Mayn. “The shelters do an amazing job and do the best they can. They’re just overrun and a lot of them are being confined by COVID.”