Animal abandonment rates surge as the pandemic continues

Originally published in La Plaza Press


Located at 374 W Orange Show Rd., San Bernardino, CA 92408, The Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley is one of the many shelters and veterinarians where you can adopt a pet or get your pet spayed or neutered. (DESTINY RAMOS/ La Plaza photo) 

Around every eight seconds, an animal is euthanized because it is not able to find a welcoming home. Pet abandonment is such a big problem because of how many animals are harmed from it, especially knowing that it is possible to be avoided but society seems not to care. According to One Green Planet, roughly six to eight million animals are welcomed into shelters every year, 2.7 million of them are adopted, and approximately 5.5 thousand are killed in shelters because they could not find a proper home. 

There are many reasons why someone would abandon a pet,  such as moving, having a child, losing a job, getting a divorce, having difficulties with one’s health, having problems with the animal’s behavior or just not wanting the pet anymore. Regardless of the reason, no one should ever leave their pets without proper care.

If one wants to get rid of a pet, there are many better options than choosing to leave them somewhere unfamiliar to fend for themselves. One could always turn to family or friends about the pet. In the unfortunate situation where none of the family members or friends accept the animal, there are always local shelters to turn to, where they will at least be better off than being out by themselves.

When pets are left abandoned, there is an eighty percent chance that they are left unneutered, which can add to the problem if that animal produces offspring. After that unneutered animal procreates, there would be more pets left with no one to properly take care of them. The multiple offspring would add to pet overpopulation. 

There are only about 3,500 animal shelters in the United States, and collectively they are able to welcome six to eight million animals into their shelters, but that still leaves about seventy million stray cats and dogs roaming around the U.S, as stated by 

Even though owners face personal issues and pet overpopulation is a big problem, no pet deserves to be abandoned. As much as it is unacceptable and as much as it deserves a punishment, retribution would not generally be possible since tracking down the person that left the animal would be difficult. 

For those who do not know the effect of abandoning pets on the animal itself, Silvia Lemous, Redlands animal control supervisor, responds, “The effect on the pet is that it has a hard time trusting people, and it’ll take time to build a bond with the animal.”

To pet owners who have a pet that was once abandoned, Lemous adds, “Pet owners have to be patient with them and give them time to trust you because of their traumatic past. We have people here who play with our animals to build trust with them, so they know that these people aren’t going to hurt them.”

Pets will often have a hard time trusting a new owner if they were once abandoned. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza art)

To any individuals who own a pet, always make sure to get them spayed or neutered, as a small deed like this can help with these problems greatly. If one does not own a pet and would consider having one, avoid animal breeders at all costs and look into local animal shelters to adopt a pet instead. The animal will finally have the home it deserves, and one will get a pet that will love like any other.  

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