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Animal shelters call 2021 "year of pet abandonment" as owners return pets from pandemic

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Posted at 9:14 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 09:09:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY — In 2020, the loneliness of the pandemic sent people to the stores and shelters eager for the company of a furry friend. Now, shelters are seeing an overflow of pets left behind and in need of a home.

“We’ve been seeing a lot more pets being abandoned,” said Lanae Lewis, supervisor of the Tooele City Animal Shelter.

The shelter is calling 2021 “the year of pet abandonment.”

“2020 we were running out of animals to adopt out, and 2021 we can’t find enough homes for the numbers of animals coming into the shelter,” she said.

Read - Humane Society of Utah reports huge uptick in abandoned cats

Signs outside the shelter state they’re at maximum capacity for cats. Lewis said if the cats keep on coming, the shelter will have to reach out to rescues to take them in.

“That’s typically where out overflow goes to but even the rescues are full,” she said.

As for dogs, Lewis said they were full last week. Right now, eight dogs take up the ten cages. She said dog numbers tend to fluctuate, but cats are always in need of adoption.

“It’s hard cause you love every single one of the animals that come to the shelter. I’m just hopeful for the best with each one,” Lewis said.

For families planning to place a pet under the tree this holiday season, she encourages you to give adoption a try.