Animal Shelters in Crisis: What’s Happening?
When the pandemic hit, everything changed.
Suddenly, people were forced to alter their routines. Adopt new work and travel habits. And of course, find innovative ways to stay happy and healthy during those early uncertain days. For thousands of families, pets became much more than companion animals…they were a lifeline! In fact, North Americans adopted millions of pets during the pandemic.
But now, surrenders of cats and dogs have skyrocketed.
Animal shelters are in a crisis.
Today on Petting Bliss, we investigate what’s happening and why.
Why Shelters are Overflowing with Homeless Pets
So, how did we get to this point?
The honest truth is it was a perfect storm scenario. Many animal shelters in the US and Canada have been operating above capacity for years. One rescuer interviewed by National Geographic said, “This has been the worst year ever in 20 years of rescue.”
There are plenty of reasons for it.
Firstly, surrenders (and animal abandonment) have increased. Sadly, many families enduring financial hardship can no longer afford to care for their beloved pets. Bills such as veterinarian visits, food, toys, etc. cause some people who have lost their jobs, houses, or had to relocate to make the painful choice to give up their pet.
Secondly, we are seeing a long spay-neuter backlog. The more puppies and kittens that are born, the more homes are needed.
Third, shelters often rely upon donations and volunteers to function. As a result of current economic uncertainty, unfortunately many would-be philanthropists are reducing their fundraising efforts.
Altogether, it has led to animal shelters becoming overwhelmed.
Every Pet has a Story
If you’ve visited Petting Bliss before, you probably know the rescue story of our sweet Billy – read it here. However, no matter where you go, there are animals in need. For remote regions in Canada, this is especially true.
For example, when living north of Moosonee, I myself helped facilitate rescues flying reserve puppies and dogs in and out of remote communities, and very much understand the need for adoption in both the US and Canada. Without access to veterinarian services, spay/neuter programs find it impossible to keep up with demand. Add to that the outrageous price of dog kibble (remember, everything must be flown in on a bush plane!) and it’s a recipe for homeless and hungry dogs, like these sweet faces below.
The good news is, there are animal lovers – just like you – who are willing to help!
Here is a photo of some donations I collect every year at Christmas for northern dogs.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out the Petting Bliss blog: Millions of Pets Need Homes. How You Can Help!