Bay Area shelters react to pandemic pet returns

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Now that people are headed back to the office and school, shelters across the country are seeing pets that were adopted during quarantine are being returned — But it hasn’t been a problem in the Bay Area yet.

Both shelters say while they did experience more adoptions during a shelter in place and that continues right now, they are not seeing a larger number of animals returned than usual.

“We keep hearing this narrative but it’s definitely not the experience we’re having,” Karalyn Aropen said.

Both the Peninsula Humane Society and the East Bay SPCA say they believe that’s because of their match-making processes.

“We try to make forever matches,” Aropen said.

“We helped create really good bonds. Both a good fit for the dog and a good fit for the family,” Buffy Martin Tarbox said.

Buffy Martin Tarbox with Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA says they do that by behavior testing the animals and getting to know their adopters.

“We have a very in depth and thorough adoption process,” Tarbox said.

At the East Bay SPCA they don’t just try to put the animals in the right home but keep them there.

They have programs to help families going through hardships.

“But for a lot of those families, we’ve been able to provide resources to help keep the pet with the family and help keep pets out of shelters,” Aropen said.

Like their pet food program to ensure no pet goes hungry.

Vice President of Operations Karalyn Aropen says many people were taking advantage of the program over the last year.

“We’re just so happy that we’ve been able to make so many new families,” Aropen said.

But if a pet is not going to work in its current home, there are options.

“If you’re unable to rehome your animal on your own through other family or friends look at your local shelter,” Tarbox said.

But one thing you should never do is release a pet into the wild.

“These are domesticated animals they’re not meant to fend for themselves,” Tarbox said.

KRON4 asked both shelters if they are concerned about an uptick in the future — They say they truly believe their processes and programs will prevent that.

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