Pet Adoption Increased During the Pandemic


Calista Freeland, Writer/Editor

Many of us have felt isolated and alone during the pandemic, and since dogs are a man’s best friend, an increase in pet adoptions occurred during the pandemic. Furry friends, including bunnies and cats, were in high demand, with our local animal shelters having over 130 animals adopted in a ten-day period between March 16th and March 26th. This increase in pet adoption is particularly remarkable because according to the Santa Maria Times, the Animal Services department remained open with limited services and appointment-only visits, yet other shelters like the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society paused adoption services and shelter visits. This wasn’t just the case for our shelters; shelters across the nation reported major increases in pet adoption rates, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic. From Nashville, Tennessee to Cuyahoga County in Ohio, shelters everywhere noticed a major rise in adoption rates.

There are many reasons why getting a pet during this time was so popular, particularly for dogs. Not only do pets provide companionship and support during difficult times, but many animals require outdoor time, motivating their owners to get a breath of fresh air and exercise. Adopting a pet is particularly rewarding because it provides neglected animals with the home and support they need.

Many shelters also choose to euthanize animals due to overpopulation or because they are deemed “unadoptable.” By adopting an animal, it limits the number of animals put down, and the increase in adoptions significantly decreased the number of euthanizations. In some shelters, like the Nashville Humane Association, they were running out of animals to adopt, with the rate of adoption being faster than the rate at which animals were being taken in. One Saturday, they were completely out of animals to adopt, according to Channel 5 News.

However, the surge in adoptions has leveled off, particularly due to many shelters closing to the public or taking only the most at-risk animals. As our community and communities across the country begin to see the reopening of businesses and everyday life, people no longer feel as lonely and isolated as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. If you are considering getting a pet, consider adopting. With many different animals and breeds now available, it is likely you will find a pet that is perfect for your home.

To learn more about adoptable pets and other opportunities at the Santa Maria Humane Society, click here

To be notified about volunteer opportunities at the Santa Barbara County Animal Services, click here

To volunteer at the Santa Maria Animal Rescue, click here