SEMINOLE, Fla. - Remember the surge in pet adoptions at the beginning of the pandemic? Well, some shelters are now seeing the opposite. One agency in Seminole says owner surrenders are higher than ever right now as people begin to return to work.
Finding four-legged friends a forever home isn't as easy as it was a year ago.
"We've seen a massive increase in owner surrenders," owner of FLUFF Animal Rescue Kimmy Chandler said. "On a weekly basis, I would get one or two. Now I'm getting at least two or three a day."
Chandler says her agency has never been so inundated with owner surrenders. Last year at this time, it was the opposite. In April 2020, the ASPCA reported that nationally applications to adopts cats and dogs were up 200 percent.
"Everyone was looking for a companion. The shelters were empty. A lot of the rescues were very low on animal inventory which is a good thing. We found that many people who were reluctant to foster prior to the pandemic had stepped up and opened their homes up to foster animals," Chandler said.
At the time, an uptick in owner surrenders was some of what of a concern for Chandler and other animal rescue advocates once people's lives returned to normal.
As of right now, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay says animal adoptions are still up.
"We are finding homes for over 200 animals each and every week. Thank you to Tampa Bay animal lovers who are giving homeless animals a second chance at a good life," Humane Society of Tampa Bay CEO Sherry Silk said.
"There are many, many reasons. Most of the time, it's behavioral. The animal has a behavioral problem and they're unable to leave the animal unattended," Chandler said.
Chandler also says people reported financial issues, like losing their home or job making it so caring for a pet just wasn't an option, but says the pet population is still the main issue and it's why she encourages every pet owner to have their pet spayed or neutered.
"Spaying and neutering your pet is the best way to keep them healthy and save lives," Chandler said.
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