Last updated: 24 Jul, 2020
Published on: 21 Jul, 2020
Hear from rescue organisations on post-COVID surrender
The cultural shift prompted by COVID-19 lockdowns across Australia saw a massive spike in the demand for rescue pets listed on PetRescue. The first half of 2020 alone saw an unprecedented number of pets getting adopted compared to the previous years.
While this continues to be great for rescue pets who otherwise struggle to find good homes, we’ve also seen a number of concerns crop up in the media about pets being surrendered once the adopters return to work and schedules get back to normal, a concern also debated around Christmas-time adoptions.
While pet surrenders around the year are an unfortunate reality, our data shows that the rate of pet surrenders in periods such as Christmas is no higher than the rest of the year. Busy adoption periods such as the COVID lockdown or Christmas are in fact a good time for pet adoption as adopters can spend more time at home with their new pet and invest time bonding with them, train them, and slowly introduce them to their surroundings, including other pets or young children.
To learn more about pet surrender during this time, where most states in Australia are ending their lockdowns and people are starting to return to work, we directly reached out to PetRescue member rescue organisations for their real-life insights.
Here’s what they said:
We have certainly seen an adoption surge with COVID-19 but thankfully we have not seen an increase in surrenders. Most adopters tell us that they have always wanted a cat and saw the time at home as an opportunity to integrate a new family member. We continue to work with our potential adopters to find the perfect cat to add to their family to reduce the chance of a surrender happening.
The question about returns and surrender surge has come up a lot during the last few months. We have not changed our adoption procedure during the pandemic so the homes that the pets are going to are still responsible, loving homes and in most cases were people who were thinking of adopting anyway and the situation persuaded them to actually do it. Our return rate has not changed over the past few months when compared to other times, including the post-Christmas period and all returns we have had during the pandemic period have been completely unrelated to a situation of changing back to a ‘new normal’, for example, people going back to work after working from home for a time. And likewise, surrender enquiries, in general, have not been any higher than usual. As we tend to adopt out more cats than dogs, this may well be a factor too, as cats tend to cope better being left alone than some dogs would. However the dog surrender enquiries have not gone up either so we don’t believe there’s really been any negative effect on the adoption surge so far.
We aren't seeing a surge of surrendered pets that were "COVID companion" adoptions as we were very thorough during the adoption process to ensure that nobody was under the impression that it was possible to foster a dog just for the lockdown, however, we are seeing a small number of dogs returned from owners whose circumstances have changed over the last few months. We are doing our best to place those dogs in homes as soon as possible rather than have them spend more time at the shelter.
Did you adopt a pet during COVID? Give us a shout and tell us your story!
Image Credit: Luna from Doggie Rescue