Pet adoption

Animals Adopted During Pandemic Are Being Returned to Shelters

Animals are in need of forever homes as more and more people who adopted pets during the coronavirus pandemic are bringing them back to shelters when they head back to the office

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As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted across the country, there's a disturbing trend emerging for our four-legged friends.

The pandemic pet adoption boom seems to be bursting as more and more people are sending their animals back to the shelter when they head back to the office.

Diesel and Bella are both living with fosters at Live Free Animal Rescue.

"He's an amazing dog, he loves people," founder Chantel Giurado said of Diesel.

They were both adopted during the pandemic, and both surrendered recently when their families went back to work full-time.

"The dog influx coming in is insane," Giurado said. "I'd say within the last month, we've had five to 10 owner surrenders due to this issue."

Nationwide, owner surrenders are up more than 80% from this time last year, according to Best Friends Animal Society.

The New Hampshire SPCA is bracing for this trend to hit home as COVID-19 restrictions ease locally.

Executive Director Lisa Dennison says it's already begun.

"There will be people saddened by the reality, 'I just am spread so thin again, financially, time-wise, and I can't give my pet the attention it needs,' and that's how our first one came back," Dennison explained.

As difficult as it is on families, it's not any easier for animals that are now back where they started before the pandemic.

"It's a hard conversation to have, and it's hard to admit," Dennison said. "The good news is animals surrendered will be adopted and find their forever homes."

Dennison is making it clear that abandoning an animal is illegal in New Hampshire. She says be sure to call your local rescue and surrender the right way, no matter how hard that might be.

Guirado and Dennison also want people to know that if you're in a financial bind, there are services out there to help, including pet food pantries and grants to assist with emergency veterinary services.

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