NJ pet adoption to avoid trend?

Only wicked pet

While shelters in some parts of the country are seeing a wave of pandemic pets being returned to them, North Jersey rescues and shelters say they have so far escaped that disheartening trend. Pet fever set in early in the pandemic, when people realized they would be stuck at home — whether working, studying […]

While shelters in some parts of the country are seeing a wave of pandemic pets being returned to them, North Jersey rescues and shelters say they have so far escaped that disheartening trend.

Pet fever set in early in the pandemic, when people realized they would be stuck at home — whether working, studying or unemployed. They turned to dogs and cats to fill the holes left by the lack of socialization.

But now, as the world begins to return to some semblance of what it was, there are fears that those animals, particularly dogs, will be cast aside.

So far,“We are not finding that to be the case,” said Diane Ashton, director of communications at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison.

Petpoint.com, which collects data related to animal ownership, reports that returns of dogs previously adopted from the same organizations increased 50% in April from the previous year. Owner surrenders of all dogs were up 79.9%. Those numbers may be skewed by shutdowns in 2020. 

St. Hubert’s, however, saw 2,061 animals surrendered between March 2019 and March 2020 and only 1,300 animals surrendered between March 2020 and March 2021.

“In the early days of the pandemic, we were also concerned many people would surrender their animals to shelters because of illness or financial issues. But that didn’t materialize,” Ashton said.

Otter, adopted in spring 2020 from the St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, with owner Linda Farkas of Ringwood.

Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland, Father John’s Animal House in Lafayette and A Pathway to Hope in Hawthorne were no different.

Amy Hofer, founder and president of A Pathway to Hope, said the rescue’s screening process is fairly intense, with an adoption application, phone interview, vet check, home visit and in-person meeting, all of which was continued during the pandemic.

The goal is weeding out the less-prepared and less-committed adopters. 

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