Adoption centers seeing pandemic pets returned

By Johnathan Houle – Special to The Record
Adoption centers seeing pandemic pets returned
An SPA worker holding one of the many returned rabbits. (Photo : The Société Protectrice des Animaux)

As people began to work from home in 2020, isolation and a lack of connection affected many in a negative way. To cope with the situation, many sought a companion and as a result, adoption centers, the SPA and animal breeders saw an unprecedented rise in demand for house pets. While the demand caused problems across the market, a current issue has been noticed by adoption centers and the SPA. Close to three years into a booming pet market, an increase in returned animals has begun.

In the first few months of 2021, the Société Protectrice des Animaux noticed that some of their adopted animals were being returned to them. Marie-Pier Quirion, Communications Officer for SPA Estrie, spoke about why these animals were being returned. “When people were working from home, there was always a presence at home, and they weren’t socialized because of gathering restrictions.” Quirion elaborated further, “Now as restrictions are being lifted and people return to work, the dogs are now left alone at home while some meet new people that they’ve not grow accustomed to. This causes stress and separation anxiety which can make the dog act out, so people bring the dogs back to the SPA, which is a big problem for us.”

The trend of returning adopted animals does not seem to be diminishing either. Linda Peacock, a member of the Frontier Animal Society, spoke briefly on why this pattern is immerging. “When people adopt animals, they don’t educate themselves before hand and when problems arise, their level of commitment just isn’t there.” She continued further with, “Taking on an animal is a huge responsibility and it’s a long-term responsibility. It’s not an object you should be willing to discard, and informing yourself is important.”

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