Shelters across the country are seeing an influx of pet surrenders due to the cost-of-living crisis and an increase in puppy births since the pandemic.
Thousands of Americans have made the painful decision to give up their beloved animal. “We had to make a decision about, you know, we needed a roof for the baby and us,” Kathia Perrick of Florida told CBS News.
Beric’s story resonates with many of the 90.5 million households who have pets in the United States
Pet parents are pinching pennies
According to a report by petfoodindustry.com, the average cost of feeding a household pet increased by 9.1% in May compared to May 2021. This is in line with a 9.1% year-over-year increase in the overall cost of living according to the Consumer Price Index.
Jessica Petallas, a shelter manager for Humane Indiana in Monster, told NPR she had seen a “enormous influx” of pet surrenders.
“I’ve been saying in the last eight years, that’s the most I’ve seen in my life. It’s at least doubled, sometimes even tripled the amount we’re normally used to.
Many shelters are overcrowded and do not have the resources to meet the growing demand.
“For many people, the cost of housing has put them in a situation where they have to move in with family or friends, and they can’t take their animals with them,” Petallas told NPR. “We have some people who are still feeling some of the effects of COVID and being out of work, and they have been fired. There is really a lack of pet-friendly housing available in our area.”
Experts say the rising cost of living isn’t the only factor in the game. Thousands of people purchased or purchased new pets in the early days of the epidemic. At the same time, many vets and shelters have had to temporarily suspend spay and neuter services. The result has been an increase in the number of new born kittens and puppies over the past two years.
How to get help paying for your pets
Animal welfare organizations nationwide provide support to parents of pets in need, ranging from food assistance to funding veterinary care. The ASPCA also has community veterinary clinics in many low-income communities, which provide partially and fully subsidized preventive care to eligible patients.
Many vets also offer financing options, and some offer tiered fees. Parents of struggling pets can find resources via the Humane Society of the United States website.