Pet adoption numbers rising to unprecedented highs during COVID-19

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Animal shelters in the area are seeing a much lower number of pets in their shelters. While that is good news, it does come with a concern for some shelter workers.

“Our fear would be that when they do go back to work that they don’t have anyone to take care of this pet that they got or that it is now a problem because they are at work and they don’t have enough hours in the day for the animal,” said Connie Greer, general manager of the Barren River Animal Welfare Association.

According to Lorri Hare, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, the shelter is up nearly 40% in adoptions and down 25% in intakes since the quarantine began.

“We are extremely worried about the unknown with our intakes not being as high as they normally are in May. It’s not because those animals aren’t out there. It’s because people are not getting out to bring them in,” said Hare.

Staying in, people have much more time to spend with a new furry friend.

“During all this, these animals are helping people. They are great companion animals. They are great to have around when you are stressed and this is a perfect time to spend that extra time to train,” said Greer.

Although that means more fur babies finding homes, when pet parents go back to work, even long-time pets may have an adjustment period.

“They have gotten used to the entire family being home and it’s going to be an adjustment for them just like it is for you. You know, dogs you may want to crate because there may be a little separation anxiety because they miss their moms and dads,” said Hare.

One thing shelters want the public to avoid is surrendering these newly adopted pets.

“It just is very devastating, and you see some animals, they actually will hide to the back of the kennel and they’ll hide their face,” said Greer.

Greer says for a surrendered pet, learning to trust again is no walk in the park.

Area shelters encourage families who may be in a bind with their pet to reach out for tips on how to keep your pet through difficult times.