People Are Returning Their Pandemic Pets at Alarming Rates

Animal shelters are experiencing a spike in pet returns as the pandemic winds down.

It’s no secret that a year and change of various levels of lockdown and COVID-19 mitigation measures have been difficult for pretty much everyone, especially parents, as we have all been forced to stay inside without seeing most of our friends and extended family members for over a year.

This extended isolation led to an increased rate of pet adoption, with people finding companionship by adopting a cat or dog or whatever member of the animal kingdom they preferred. It was a great deal: staring down the barrel of being homebound for months on end, families took the plunge to get pets. But now, something terrible is happening.

But as the pandemic slowly winds down with the vaccine rollout, this heartwarming trend has taken an extremely heartbreaking turn. Shelters across the United States are reportedly experiencing an unusually high rate of people returning their pets, likely due to them realizing they no longer want the responsibility of a pet now that they can return to their pre-pandemic lives.

“We made a lot of changes to our adoption process to prevent people from returning dogs once pandemic ended,” Aron Jones, executive director of Moms and Mutts Colorado Rescue told Fox 31. “But for the past four months, we have had an extreme number of returns.”

In some cases, there are, of course, circumstances beyond a pet owner’s control where they are unable to keep their pet but that is likely not what is happening in the majority of these cases.

It appears that people made the impulsive decision to get a pet during the pandemic without thinking it through and now that the pandemic is ending, they are returning them like they’re an oversized shirt, not a living, breathing animal that is a lifetime commitment, that bonds with you, and that expects to love you forever.

Adopting a pet is a wonderful thing, as you get love, companionship, and a buddy who is always ready to hang out. But it’s also a big responsibility, which is why the decision to adopt a pet needs to be taken seriously. Sadly, tons of people seemed to have not taken it seriously at all, resulting in their former pets having to wait again to have a place they can call home.