VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — During the past few months, officials at the Virginia Beach SPCA say more and more people are giving up their pets, dropping them off at shelters.
“Since things have loosened up, we have seen more pets being surrendered,” explained Mandi Kowaleski, the communications and marketing director for VBSPCA.
During 2020, the number of dogs surrendered to shelters in the United States decreased nearly 25% compared to pre-pandemic 2019, according to the organization PetPoint.
PetPoint’s data shows numbers began to flip this past March and continued on an upward trend this summer.
This June, the data shows shelters across the country took in 13% more dogs than last June.
“We’re seeing animals being surrendered across the board,” said Kowaleski. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, cat, or small animal. Recently we’ve seen a lot of rabbits and guinea pigs coming in.”
Two weeks ago, Kowaleski said VBSPCA had 18 dogs on the waitlist to be surrendered. Thankfully, she said that number dropped to just one dog this week.
“When someone does call us or email us to surrender their pet, we talk them through their options,” explained Kowaleski. “We do try to provide solutions.”
VBSPCA has a Behavioral Support Line for pet parents to contact to help with any issues they are facing with the pets at home.
They also have a pet pantry for those in a financial bind.
Separation anxiety is another common problem faced by new pet owners. If their animal was adopted during the pandemic, the pet might be used to constantly having their human around. To help the organization created this tool.
While shelter surrenders are noticeably higher across the country than they were last summer, PetPoint data shows the number of animals being returned to shelters is still lower than it was in 2019.
So, whatever the new normal looks like, animal advocates hope taking your pandemic puppy back to the shelter isn’t part of it.
If you’re interested in adopting a furry addition to your family, the VBSPCA is offering half off adoption fees for certain dogs through Aug. 21.