SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The demand for pets is at an all-time high at animal shelters here in the Bay Area, a direct result of the pandemic. 

It continues to impact just about everything in our lives these days, including the population of available animals at local shelters.

“The demand is about the same but the supply is lower,” Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, president of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said. 

“Yeah adoptions are down but intake is down about 50% as well,” Contra Costa Animal Services spokesperson Steve Burdo said. 

Officials at the San Francisco SPCA and Contra Costa Animal Services talk about other impacts of the pandemic, like foster families being encouraged to sign up but are currently not needed.

“We are not in need of foster families. When pandemic first came about in mid-march our volunteers really stepped up and became the primary fosters for our animals,” Burdo said. 

However, the desire for adding a pet to the family is far outweighing available animals.

“In the last 6-months, we had 36,000 people apply for an animal. These are not unique some people may be applying several times. We adopt out about 5,000 animals a year,” Dr. Scarlett said. 

That is because the unconditional love from a pet is sorely needed in times like these.

“Yeah, the dogs and cats of the world are working overtime to keep our stress lower and to help us. I mean we’re social creatures and we miss that kind of social contact,” Dr. Scarlett said. 

Another big change, 100% online applications, and virtual adoptions.

“Don’t come down. We are doing all of our adoptions by appointment,” Dr. Scarlett said. 

“It is a pretty seamless process. It’s socially distanced. Keeps everybody safe. The virtual adoptions have been working out pretty well,” Burdo said. 

SFSPCA has varying prices for pet adoptions. Contra Costa Animal Services pet adoptions are free during the pandemic.

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