To prevent the further spread of the coronavirus epidemic around the world, government officials have mandated lockdowns, community quarantines and ordered everyone to practice social distancing.
Pet shelters in Britain and America have reported a huge increase in pet adoption as many residents long for companions since the lockdown took hold.
Of course, this is a good thing for both animals and rescue shelters. Pets provide great companionship and serve as a source of happiness and entertainment during these stressful times.
“There’s nothing quite like self-isolating with a dog or cat who is just hanging out and enjoying life with you,” Pam Wiese, spokesperson for Nebraska Humane Society, told The Daily Beast in an interview.
“There’s this fun little thing where we call people who end up adopting their foster animal a ‘failed foster,’ when both pet and owner fall in love. It happens quite a bit,” Tiffany A. Lacey, executive director and president of the Animal Haven shelter in downtown New York, told The Daily Beast.
A number of shelters have appealed to other people to adopt or foster their rescued animals in an effort to free-up space in the shelters in case pet owners suddenly fall sick and had to give up their animal companions for a while.
Because of the mandatory lockdown, shelters also struggled with lack of staff and caretakers, with no one to care for the animals.
“Animals provide invaluable comfort and companionship, especially during times of crisis – and they certainly appreciate the attention they get – so we encourage people to continue to adopt or temporarily foster animals in need,” Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), told The Daily Beast.
As shelter owners saw a great surge in pet adoption, they also look forward to the worse thing that could happen: double the number of animals coming back to the shelter after the lockdown.
“I’m not just worried about foster animals coming back, but also people giving up their own pets because they’ve lost their jobs or income and can no longer afford them,” Katy Hansen of ACC told The Daily Beast.
“It will be a tough situation all around. We’re also encouraging people to look out for their neighbors, and if they get sick to look out for any pets they have. Anything neighbors can do to prevent the surrendering of an animal would be great. I worry that we will be completely overwhelmed. We’re just waiting. It’s so nerve-wracking,” she added.
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