OAKLAND (KPIX) – During the COVID lockdown, record numbers of people brought new pets into their homes, in many cases from animal shelters and rescues.
With COVID restrictions lifted and people back to work, shelters are now seeing the opposite – a record number of people wanting to give up their dogs.
Rocket Dog Rescue in Oakland currently has so many dogs that they have set up makeshift kennels in their lobby.
“We got too full almost overnight. The shelters are overloaded, ”said Pali Boucher, founder of Rocket Dog Rescue.
She founded Rocket Dog 20 years ago and said she saw a record number of people wanting to give up their dogs. She receives dozens of emails and SMS requests every day.
“I’ve never had so many re-homings!” She said.
Boucher says two things happen: some people adopted dogs when the lockdown began and don’t want a dog’s responsibility now that they work or travel again; others are simply dealing with the hardship caused by the pandemic.
“I would say that 60 percent of the move requests we are getting now are people being evicted from their homes – evicted or having to take care of an older parent or move back in with a family member,” Bouchercher said.
It’s a trend that is spreading across the Bay Area. Contra Costa Animal Services says their owner drop-outs are also increasing at 23 in April, 32 in May and 40 in June.
“It’s just awful. I don’t think any of the rescues or shelters were prepared for this, ”Boucher said.
At the same time, she says that they see fewer people who want to adopt.
“We went to a couple of adoption events and everyone would love the pups, but they weren’t adopted,” she said.
Boucher says that by the time the trend reverses, she and other rescue groups will do everything possible to make room for dogs in need of new homes, even if that means keeping puppies in the lobby.