‘People’s needs’ pose challenges for pet owners


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As rising inflation in 2022 makes it difficult for families in the United States to afford basic necessities like groceries, some families are starting to make difficult decisions about finding homes for their pets.

The Humane Society of Southwest Washington says it has seen an increase in requests from families wanting their pets to find new homes. Although the specific reasons for moving them are not always clear.

According to 2022 data from the Humane Society of Southwest Washington, 16% of the reasons for surrendering were because the owner was moving house; 14% was misconduct; 12% were caused by housing and homelessness, 10% were due to the health of the owners and 9% were due to financial reasons.

Sam Ellingson, director of communications and marketing for the Humane Society of Southwest Washington, emphasizes that these are just a small fraction of the animals surrendered to the shelter. This does not include requests from families trying to bring their pets home that the shelter cannot accommodate. And this does not include the 16% of the surrender from the unjustifiable owner.

File: Rescue Dogs December 21, 2022 (Courtesy of Humane Society of Southwest Washington)

“The best we can do is assume that there are some families who may not be comfortable talking about why they surrendered their pets. Could it be the social stigma that comes with feeling like a failed pet owner?”

he said until now The reasons for surrendering pets in 2023 seem to be as crumbling as they are in 2022.

Most of the time, Ellingson said, “people’s needs” are what drive families to provide their pets home. whether unemployment difficult family medical need or difficulty paying for food and housing.

That’s why the Humane Society of Southwest Washington doesn’t just try to support pets. But also the owner.

The shelter’s community service program offers a low-cost sterilization and sterilization option. pet food assistance Financial support for pet medical needs emergency boarding and service at the end of life

Ellingson said there is no longer an income requirement for people who need pet food. anyone can request

One thing he wants pet owners to know is that The more information they can share with shelters when they submit their pet relocation requests, the better. There is always a chance that the shelter will help them avoid abandonment of the dog or cat.

“If a family comes in If they are having a hard time providing food for their pets And they don’t want to say they are struggling to provide food for their pets. We cannot help meet their needs,” Ellingson said.

The Oregon Humane Society in Portland and Salem said that according to the organization, Recently, there has been an increase in the number of animals being relocated. But said it was a recurring event. People contact shelters and ask to escort their pets due to cost, illness or housing issues.

Oregon Humane Society community veterinary hospital that offers affordable veterinary care. There is a very high demand for services, according to Laura Klink of the shelter’s communications team.


Oregon Dog Rescue, a shelter in Tualatin, says they see a number of reasons why people bring their dogs home. Adoption rates also seem to fluctuate wildly, said Lindsey Quinn, public relations coordinator for Oregon Dog Rescue. later

“There doesn’t seem to be any recent rhyme or reason that we can pinpoint,” she said.

The Sherwood-based cat adoption team said the number of adoptions in 2023 is consistent with the number in 2022.

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Cat adoption team Heather Svoboda (KOIN)

There have been more cats at shelters in both years than in 2020 or 2021, but Karen Green, executive director of the Cat Adoption Team, says levels have not returned during the pandemic. not too crowded And Green said they have seen good results with cats they have indoors.

However, she said the situation is very different for shelters that accept dogs.

“Many shelters and rescues are finding themselves in deep trouble in 2022 and 2023, especially with medium and large dogs. These organizations are too crowded. Visible decline in behavior and health of dogs in care due to prolonged stay and grapple with making more difficult decisions about dog outcomes,” Green wrote in a statement.

Data from Shelter Animals Count’s national database shows that the nationwide number of dogs surrendered by their owners to shelters fell 2% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022. As a stray dog, an increase of 14%

In Oregon, from January to April 2023, Shelter Animals Count data show that 3,421 dogs and cats were abandoned by their owners, compared with 3,084 in the same period in 2022, a nearly 11% increase in 2023. 24 shelters share their data with organizations, compared to 30 in 2022.

Washington, on the other hand, saw a 31% drop in the number of abandoned pets in the first four months of 2023, according to the data.

Green pointed out that some shelters do not report their data to Shelter Animals Count, but say it is the most comprehensive and accurate source of shelter information nationally.

One thing Green notes is that Dog adoption at shelters is still lower than it was before the pandemic. But not many dogs left the shelter. which can sometimes cause people to be too crowded

As Ellingson said, the Humane Society of Southwest Washington is not always able to accommodate pet relocation requests. But the shelter always tries to provide options for families. Where possible, he encourages pet owners to try to find new homes for their pets on their own.

If they can’t find a new home on their own The humane society is here to help them.

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