Former second-home owners have been holding on to their pandemic pets, making their now first-homes the forever-homes for locally adopted pets.
In the spring and early summer last year, from around April to June, the Columbia-Greene Humane Society saw a spike in both adoptions and surrenders, Columbia-Greene Humane Society President and CEO Ron Perez said Friday. But surrenders have dwindled and are back on track with pre-pandemic times, and adoptions have been steady, and slightly higher than before the pandemic.
“Our adoptions have been very strong,” Perez said. “Surrenders have been about on par with what they would be pre-pandemic. But our adoptions continue to be strong, very strong. People are still adopting, so I think anything directly as far as surrenders, what we’ve seen, are over.”
Evictions and layoffs were common reasons for early pandemic surrenders, Perez said.
Perez believes the eviction moratorium has helped people to hold on to their pets.
Hospitality and food industry workers in particular were surrendering their pets early in the pandemic, because they were “hit very hard, very quickly,” Perez said.
Many city dwellers’ second homes became first homes, which solidified forever-homes for rescued pets.
People who moved to the area from New York City decided to adopt because they would be home more and felt they could finally adopt a dog, Perez said.
“Many people were coming in to adopt because they could,” he said.
Perez is not worried about surrenders when people return to working in-person since many weekenders are now permanent residents and do not plan to move back to New York City, he said. Many adopters told Perez their big city homes are for sale and they plan to either continue to work from home or have upstate offices now.
“They are not going back,” he said. “They are working from their homes, their office is now in upstate ... They’re at their new home and they’re keeping their pets.”
The shelter currently has about 73 animals, most of which are cats, Perez said Friday.
Most animals are adopted within a couple of months of entering the shelter, depending on their breed, Perez said.
The animal Perez thinks has been at the shelter the longest is named Truffle, a pit bull-terrier mix that has been at the humane society for almost a year.
“He’s strong, but very nice,” Perez said.
Many people are hesitant to adopt Truffle’s breed, Perez said.
“He’s a good boy,” Perez said.
On average, a pit bull-terrier mix is usually at the shelter for around six months.
High adoptions during the pandemic has been a silver lining, Perez said.