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Thursday, 5 August 2021

Once-beloved pandemic pets now crowd dog shelters

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Once-beloved pandemic pets now crowd dog shelters
Once-beloved pandemic pets now crowd dog shelters

Dogs are being returned to shelters and adoption agencies in the U.S. after COVID restrictions have been lifted and people return to work, or for financial reasons.

This report produced by Freddie Joyner.

Stuck inside for the better part of the last year, many went looking for comfort and companionship in something cuddly and wholesome - dogs.

Adoption spiked as the health crisis - and feelings of isolation - dragged on.

But now in cities like Los Angeles, many dogs are being returned, says Chloe Esperiquette, the development coordinator at Wags and Walks adoption center: “We received prior to the pandemic like five or 10, five to 10 inquiries per month for people who couldn’t care for their dogs anymore.

That’s now increased to in-the-20s per month, so that’s like doubled since in recent months.” For some owners, it’s time to go back to work, leaving no one to care for their pets.

For others, dog ownership is too much of a financial burden.

Glen Zipper, a former criminal prosecutor turned animal activist who has multiple animal shows on Netflix including “Dogs” and “Cat People” and has a docuseries in the works, says people should think twice before returning animals to shelters or adoption agencies.

“I think the last thing you should do is immediately go to the shelter.

Let people know that you can’t care for your dog, say that your dog is up for adoption, and let people come to you and meet the dog and make sure that you choose someone who can responsibly care for that dog and give that dog every bit as much love as you can.” Over 63 million American households owned dogs and nearly 43 million homes had cats as pets, according to a 2019 national survey by the American Pet Products Association.

Esperiquette, concerned about finding homes for dogs in shelters post-pandemic, says the animal is not the problem: “A lot of the dogs that do come to us, though, come to us because they were inconvenient to somebody and they were dropped off at a shelter, versus it being something that’s wrong with them.

So we really like to show people that they are not damaged goods…”

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