Local shelters react to thought that more adoptions during the pandemic could mean more abandoned animals

Carthage Humane Society sees more than 150 adoptions in less than three months

CARTHAGE, Mo. – When Joplin resident Becki Arnall saw an ad on Craigslist four a Cocker Spaniel puppy, she knew she was about to get a new family member.

“Whenever I was in high school, my first job was at PetSmart, and I adopted my first dog when I was there, and he was a Cockapoo. And he passed away about two years ago. So we’ve kind of been on the lookout for a dog that was a similar breed, and we just happened to stumble across someone needing to rehome a Cocker Spaniel on Criagslist,” says Arnall.

That was a few days ago — and everything has been going great so far.

But when she’s not adopting new puppies, Arnall is an essential healthcare worker, working from home most days and taking care of a family.

So having a new high energy, loving family member was a good change of pace.

“We’ll go on walks in the neighborhood. There are other children who come out and, “oh,” be close to her. And we are so blessed to have her. She’s a wonderful little dog,” says Arnall.

A change of pace that most of us could use right now.

Because of that, Arnall isn’t the only one adopting new family members during the pandemic.

The Carthage Humane Society has sen a huge increase in adoptions, with more than 150 animals being adopted in less than three months.

“This is a great time to be able to go through the struggles fo potty training and adjusting to a new dog or cat to the new families. And people are taking advantage of that,” says Carthage Humane Society Board President Jonathan Roberts.

But the humane society might see some of those animals again… if some new research ends up being accurate.

The company Innovet Pet Products, based out of California, says shelters could see an increase in abandoned animals as people start going back to their normal routines.

Roberts says he’s not sure what will happen for CHS — but hopes the fact that most new owners will be through the hardest part will help.

“Potty training is usually the hardest thing to get through, and once you can get through that struggle the pet’s really awesome,” says Jonathan Roberts. “Hopefully a lot of those obstacles will be already passed and that will prevent very many surrenders coming back.”

Jasmine Kyle with the SEK Humane Society in also says they don’t know what the future may hold.

The Pittsburg shelter is not currently doing adoptions, sending pets to foster homes or doing intake because of the pandemic.

But, the board of directors is currently looking at starting adoptions by appointment because the shelter is at capacity, and restarting the fostering program so that people who want to get a pet can get their feet wet without making a long-term commitment.

KOAM also reached out to the Humane Society of the United States to get their take on it.

In an email from Media Relations Specialist Emily Ehrhorn, they said they do not anticipate there being an increased number of abandoned animals.

“We anticipate that most adopters and foster parents will keep their pets. Those who need to be rehomed (ex. someone fostering a litter of kittens) are being encouraged to help find loving permanent homes for the pets they foster and shelters can assist them with this process,” says the Humane Society.

But, they want to encourage people looking to adopt to keep in mind how big of a commitment adding a new member to your household is.

Now can be a great time to settle a pet into your home and get to know each other, as many people are working from home. The companionship is enriching for both the humans involved and pets. However, any time you are considering bringing a new pet into your home it’s important to understand the cost of food, potential veterinary expenses and other supplies. It’s also key to consider your lifestyle and have a plan to provide care for your pet when your more typical schedule resumes. If you are concerned that once you return to work you won’t be able to provide for a permanent pet, fostering a pet might be a better option. If you are in a position where you have to rehome your pet, many organizations have tools such as this one to help you find a permanent loving home so your pet doesn’t need to return to a shelter. ” — Humane Society of the United States statement.

Arnall says her family kept all that in mind long before deciding to adopt her new furry family member.

“We as a family unit, when we decided to adopt another dog, had taken many steps towards ensuring that we would be prepared for that, even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. So, we knew from adopting her from the get go that this is her forever home,” says Arnall.