Are more “pandemic dogs” being returned to shelters?

Are more "pandemic foster dogs" being returned to shelters?

BoredPanda.com is a Lithuanian website that publishes articles about “lightweight and inoffensive topics,” including frequent posts about animals. A week ago, the site shared a Facebook post from a British group, “Yorkshire Rose Dog Rescue.” The post included a story supposedly written by an anonymous veterinarian, who claimed he increasingly had been asked to euthanize healthy young dogs that were adopted during the pandemic by people who couldn’t or didn’t train them. The Yorkshire Rose Dog Rescue group concurred, writing in some introductory post that they, too, had been seeing dogs surrendered by overwhelmed owners on a daily basis.


I’m looking for articles or news coverage that might support these allegations – that after a record number of adoptions and fostering in 2020, that people are starting to give up the pets they brought home last year. I didn’t find many.

I found an October 2020 article on the Today Show website that quoted a California rescue group that said they had seen an increased number of dogs who were given up due to pandemic-related financial hardship.

I found a link to a December 2020 Fox News broadcast alleging that shelters in Minnesota were seeing higher numbers of abandoned and surrendered animals, also due to pandemic-related financial hardship.

But I also found articles that alleged that adoptions and fostering are still taking place at a record pace. Sadly, I also saw many articles discussing the fact that puppy mills and backyard breeders have been producing puppies as fast as they can, to meet the pandemic demand.

My own experience, volunteering in a rural Northern California county shelter, is that the intake numbers are down, and “live release rates” (adoptions, fosters, and transfers to other shelters) are up. My local shelter has been increasingly sending animals to shelters in more populated and more affluent areas in the San Francisco Bay area.

Here at WDJ, we’ve tried to meet the needs of new dog owners with an increased number of articles aimed at basic education, especially for puppy training (including here, here, here, here, and here!). I remain hopeful that the increase in adoptions and fostering will contribute to an increase in responsible dog ownership and lower rates of euthanasia.

But I’m curious: What’s your experience? If you work or volunteer in rescue, are you seeing an increase in animal returns or surrenders? Or are dogs still in short supply? If you are trying to adopt, have you found a decrease or an increase in the number of dogs available?

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