Pet shelters filled up during the pandemic as owners found themselves unable to keep their dogs

CHICAGO (CBS) — Owners are taking their dogs to animal shelters at higher rates due to the pandemic — but it’s not because owners are returning to work.

CBS 2’s Sabrina Franza visited two shelters on Friday — both with plenty of dogs up for adoption — to explain why this keeps happening.

A sweet one-year-old dog named Cody ended up at PAWS Chicago because his family could no longer keep him in their home. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to.

“His owner was moving into a smaller apartment, and many apartments have rules about what size pet you can have,” said PAWS Chicago Executive Director Susanna Homan.

Cody is not alone.

“What we see is that there are a lot of people who have been affected by the pandemic. Of course, there have been health problems and deaths, job losses, insecurity of the housing,” Homan said. “A lot of these issues not only affect people, but also their ability to keep pets.”

PAWS and other shelters across the city are reporting the same trend.

“I would advise them to keep looking until they see a place; they find a place that suits them and their animals – and accepts both of them,” said Mamadou Diakhaté, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control.

At Animal Care and Control, the kennel is fuller than it has been since the pandemic began.

They take in dogs and facilitate adoptions, but they also send dogs to places like PAWS.

PAWS dogs are usually adopted within days – and dogs like Cody are very happy to meet their new families.

PAWS and other shelters also offer temporary crisis fostering services for dogs that need a temporary home while their owner is dealing with a medical or other emergency.

“And then they can get the animal back,” Homan said.

PAWS Chicago hopes to clean up the shelter with the Adopt-a-Thon event. It started on Friday and will continue until Saturday April 16.

You can find more information or learn about available pets on the PAWS Chicago website.


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