Pets adopted during the pandemic haven’t been returned: Kelowna BC SPCA

So many residents are hoping to adopt pets that the BC SPCA said animals don’t stay long at the shelter

The stories swirling on social media of people who are foolhardily adopting ‘pandemic pets’ only to abandon them at animal shelters once the responsibility sets in, have no substance according to the Kelowna BC SPCA.

Precisely the opposite is true, Kelowna BC SPCA branch manager Sean Hogan confirmed on Thursday, Aug.27.

“We have not had animals returned to us who were adopted during the pandemic,” said Hogan. “The actual number for returns of animals adopted since March is zero.”

Hogan said he has come across these stories of people dangling the false hope of so-called ‘convenience adoptions’ in front of vulnerable animals who would make for COVID-companions until their humans’ responsibilities kick in.

“They’re as made up as anything I’ve ever seen,” said Hogan. “No one at the shelter has seen anything to support the idea that Kelowna residents are holding out false hope to vulnerable animals giving vulnerable animals.”

However, staff and volunteers have been challenged, in a good way, by the demand being greater than supply, said Hogan.

However, the shelter has seen a significant drop in the number of animals coming into the non-profit this year.

About 500 animals have come through the shelter in 2020, compared to almost 700 by this time last year.

There were 30 animals at the shelter on Friday, Aug. 28, with 12 more expected from Kamloops on Saturday, according to Hogan.

The Kelowna shelter’s 15 staff and 150 volunteers have been busier since the pandemic, he said, due to workplace safety restrictions aimed at reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.

The shelter finds permanent homes for dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Hopeful adopters are asked to set up Zoom meetings with staff using the BC SPCA’s website.

Meanwhile, animals seem to be thriving in their forever homes.

Due to more people working from home during the pandemic and increased safety restrictions at the shelter, the Kelowna branch has had to rely on its local fostering network, meaning more animals were awaiting adoption in volunteers’ homes, said Hogan.

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