Animal Welfare Professionals

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The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

  • 1.  The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

    Posted 25 days ago
    Thanks to the incredible folks at Shelter Animals Count, "Pandemic pets" have not been returned to shelters in droves and we've got new data to prove it.

    Read about Shelter Animals Count's 2019-2021 shelter data analysis here AND share with all those reporters that called you for quotes on this topic!

    https://americanpetsalive.org/blog/pandemic-pets-werent-returned-to-shelters

    This is a great opportunity for you to get media coverage for your organization on what support you DO need! Make sure to share this article and data with reporters in your communities, because as you know, animal shelters *do* urgently need fosters, adopters, and transport partners.


    #AdoptionsandAdoptionPrograms
    #DataandTechnology
    #MarketingandSocialMedia

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    Kasey Spain (she/her)
    Marketing & Communications Senior Manager
    American Pets Alive! & Human Animal Support Services
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  • 2.  RE: The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

    Posted 23 days ago

    Hi there,

    I am not confident with the data to be honest.  I run a rescue and the past few months I have had no less than 3-4 emails a day from people, not just locally but from all over Maine and some as far as MA wanting to rehome their dogs. Most have had their dogs 8-24 months, but some have had since a puppy and now the dog is around 4 years old with behavioural problems. I do not take in owner surrenders so can just refer to the adopt a pet rehome program and the rescueme.org website for getting their dogs up there - but I used to get one request every month or so.

    Hope this is just the case where I am, but with the emails I also get from several shelters I work with in Texas asking if I can take dogs because the are so full and are having to euthanize for space. Just makes me a little skeptical, more so when not everyone participates in the shelter count.



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    Jenny Cope - Fear Free Certified
    President/Founder
    Give a Dog a Home, German Shepherd Dog Rescue
    501c3 Non- Profit Corp, Tax ID/EIN 27-5241306
    State of Maine Shelter/Rescue Licence # F1463
    State of Maine Registered Charity: CO11334
    https://giveadogahome.rescuegroups.org/
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  • 3.  RE: The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

    Posted 22 days ago

    Thank you for sharing. There may be some important issues not captured in the data. For example in Las Vegas (and I will presume other places) our largest open intake shelter was  (and still is) operating with skeleton staff partially due to the pandemic. That lack of staffing forced many pet owners to seek alternate methods to surrender their pets as they could not either reach the shelter by any reasonable communication method or because appointments needed to be made for ANY service including owner surrender.

    Also Good-Samaritan OTC found pets were curbed for the same reasons. I do not have access to 2021 local shelter data by month  but I suspect intakes were way down in 2021 not because people did not want to surrender but partially because the shelter was not available.  It is fact that our open intake shelter gave out to the public a list of rescues to take surrenders to shifting the burden (and data capture) to non-shelter rescues and individuals  (a very unfortunate circumstance but also in violation of their multi-jurisdictional shelter agreement).  So pets were surrendered to local rescues instead, private unaffiliated rescuers/adopters, or released to the streets (we certainly saw an uptick of found dogs in our community with no owner coming forward).

    I know that some of our Las Vegas rescues report to Shelter Animals Count. But I think a majority, in terms of aggregate volume handled, do not. The very smallest of rescues and private individuals are handling a lot of what I believe is "missing" data.  It certainly seems so for my locale at the least.

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    John Brassner
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  • 4.  RE: The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

    Posted 21 days ago

    I am glad to see others sharing their experience with this. Not glad of course that things are not quite what is being portrayed, however by the SAC promoting that things are great and the problem is not as bad as it is, it is just providing a false narrative.

    Whilst it might look good for the big shelters that might rely on statistics for grants and such, it is actually quite detrimental to those that are picking up the pieces. When asking for help from the community or even seeking grants, if they are saying something different that what SAC is putting out there, then there is a conflict.

    I think the way SAC promotes these statistics is also wrong, because I am positive that they know that they do not get most likely even half of all of the shelters and rescues and individual families that take in stray dogs reporting. I was reporting up until earlier this year and it just got to be a tedious task. I use Rescuegroups.org and they do not have it set up to do an automatic import and I just felt like the SAC is just a "snippet" in the reality of stray population. 

    I think has really highlighted a very important point in the way SAC promotes their statistics and should maybe look at promoting it in a more real light, so people that are not on the ground seeing and dealing with what is really going on, don't start getting warm and fuzzy feelings that things are getting better.

    I think the only way announcements like this should be made is if every single animal shelter, rescue and anyone taking it upon themselves to help stray animals and there are a good amount of good citizens who do - and lots of shelters even promote that now - are reporting, which  of course is never going to happen and so although we all want to see positive outcomes from the hard work we all do to save animals, providing a false narrative as I said really does not help. For me, this just justifies me not participating in the SAC as it isn't providing an accurate service.



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    Jenny Cope - Fear Free Certified
    President/Founder
    Give a Dog a Home, German Shepherd Dog Rescue
    501c3 Non- Profit Corp, Tax ID/EIN 27-5241306
    State of Maine Shelter/Rescue Licence # F1463
    State of Maine Registered Charity: CO11334
    https://giveadogahome.rescuegroups.org/
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  • 5.  RE: The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

    Posted 22 days ago
    I think perhaps the data was gathered too early.  They are sure coming in droves in our county now.

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    Sherry Mansfield
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  • 6.  RE: The Data is in! Pandemic pets have not been returned in droves.

    Posted 22 days ago
    Although NAFA requires all adoptions to be returned (manditory) to us should they be no longer able to keep the pet, many rescues and shelters in our area do not.   NAFA microchips and pre-registers all adoptions. Therefore, we felt the only way to be sure that animals adopted during the pandemic were still in their homes, we partnered with government large shelter and sent emails to everyone that adopted asking only three questions. 1) Is there anything we can do to help you?  2) Do you still have the pet you adopted?  3) If not can you tell us where the animal is now?

    We are still compiling information, but our initial numbers show that of the adoptions from the large shelter during the pandemic 23% did not have the pet they adopted.  We did not get any response to 30% of the initial email so we are following up with a second email and phone calls.  Of the pets adopted from us during the pandemic 7% did not still have the pet they adopted.  All but one of those had previously contacted us and returned the pet.

    Additionally, in the last 5 months the number of abandoned and surrendered animals have increased almost 2x.  We do not believe that all individuals who surrender animals return them to the place of adoption or tell the truth.

    I am not saying that the data results are wrong, I just question how the information was obtained.  It is said to say, but here in the South Central part of the US,

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    Wannda Turner
    NAFA Board
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