Philly-area shelters see influx of pet surrenders as more people go back to work

The ACCT Philly says pet surrenders are up 20% from this time two years ago.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As many people return to the office for the first time in two years, some animal shelters say they're starting to see an increase in pet surrenders and pets staying in the shelter longer.

The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia says it's sheltering about 120 dogs. Ideally, it'd have around 70 animals in its care.

"That's a national problem. Every shelter is seeing dogs and cats staying twice as long as they used to," said Sarah Barnett, the acting co-executive director of ACCT Philly.

With kennels full, staff is forced to make tough choices, like putting deadlines on when dogs need to be adopted.

"Everybody who wanted to adopt, who wanted to foster, did so during the pandemic," said Barnett.

The ACCT says pet surrenders are up 20% from this time two years ago.

"You are seeing a lot of people surrendering pets for reasons that during the pandemic weren't as big of a deal. There was an eviction moratorium, so during the pandemic, we didn't see animals getting surrendered for evictions," said Barnett.

To help pet owners make the best decisions, the ACCT has a help desk, connecting them to resources like discounted vet care.

That's a strategy workers at Morris Animal Refuge in Center City are using too.

"Anytime someone comes in who is looking to surrender their animal, we try to make sure first that they know about all the resources that could potentially help them," said Emmy Homan, the director of marketing there.

She says they also let pet owners know where they can find food pantries and training, whatever they can do to keep pets out of the shelter.

"It's a bunch of new people, new smells, bunch of new animals and sounds, so it's not a fun place for any animal," said Homan.

Some tips pet experts have for when you go back to work are to find a pet sitter, hire a dog walker, and work on crate training.

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