BRANFORD, CT (WFSB) — With pandemic restrictions easing up, plenty of animal shelters are seeing an uptick in business and pet owners in need of help.
Plenty of folks got pets during the pandemic, as everyone was home from work and stuck inside and wanted a pet to keep them company.
But as the pandemic moved on, maybe they lost their job, had to move, went back to work, and as things opened back up, people can no longer take care of the animal.
With roughly 80 cats and 20 dogs, the Animal Haven says their North Haven shelter is almost at capacity.
“We are definitely seeing a lot of surrenders, drops offs, possibly due to the pandemic. I know people are losing jobs, big changes, we’ve had a couple of drop offs,” said Laura Gardner, of The Animal Haven.
Staff members said a cat named Milo was abandoned outside the shelter last month. Surveillance footage showed a car pull up, a woman got out and opened the door. The staff said they found the cat the next day.
On top of the drop offs, it’s also kitten season, meaning many shelters are already stretched to the max.
“It really is important to have a plan in place if you can’t ever take care of them given the circumstances, but it’s heartbreaking to see them have to come back, or just dropped off at our door,” said Taylor Jacques, of The Animal Haven. “Unfortunately, sometimes people take on more than they can handle, and they feel that its they’re only option.”
Those who work with rescue animals said there is help.
“We see a lot of people either on unemployment or lost their jobs and they’re having issue, paying for their animals,” said Amber Fearnley, of Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter.
To help pet owners avoid having to surrender their animals or even worse, abandon them, the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford actually wrote grants and got donations totaling roughly $22,000 to help struggling pet owners pay for surgery or food during the pandemic.
“So that they can keep their animal in their house. We don’t want people to feel pressured that they need to give up their animal, because they don’t have the funds to do it. There is assistance out there,” Fearnley said.
The shelters say, if you are having trouble taking care of your pet, reach out to your local shelter for help. There are a number of options.
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