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It’s a doggone shame.
New Yorkers — who snatched up dogs and cats in droves as the pandemic set in and kept everyone home — are now dumping their pets at city shelters, according to NYC animal advocates.
Animal Care Centers of NYC saw 1,393 animals brought to them in June, more than twice February’s 631 dogs and cats.
Because ACC shelters are not no-kill facilities, some of the animals could wind up on death row. The agency says it does not euthanize pets based on capacity — and that its placement rate for cats and dogs is 92% and 95%, respectively.
But in past years, the organization has come under fire for not being transparent about the average amount of time an animal has before being euthanized, only 18 hours in some cases.
While no one’s sure exactly what’s causing the pet population spike, the numbers have gone up every month since February, which is when eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine was extended, and the pandemic began to lift.
“Basically, in February we were averaging 21 incoming pets a day. In June, we averaged 47 new pets every day, and we are on a trajectory to be averaging 60-80 pets a day through the summer,” Katy Hansen, spokeswoman for the ACC, told The Post.
About half are given up by their owners, said Hansen, who believes dog surrenders have gone up because of “landlord issues.”
“This could be that people are having to move due to financial hardships. We are also nervous about the impact that the lifting of the [pandemic] eviction moratorium may have on potential pet surrenders,” she said.
The situation is a sharp reversal from the surge in adoptions animal shelters saw during the pandemic.
That demand was driven by “lonely” and “scared” New Yorkers, many living alone, said Hansen. A dog adds “a lot of structure to your day when you’re working from home,” she observed.
Hansen said there was a “huge rush” for pet adoptions during the lockdown, with ACC at one point down to just 125 animals.
Now ACC is directly caring for 633 animals, she said — and fostering hundreds more with the assistance of volunteers.
“Although it was a great ‘problem’ to have at the time, it seems this summer has completely turned around that balance, and shelters are finding themselves at or almost at-capacity, in desperate need of adopters and/or fosters,” she said. “We have a lot, and demand has been dropping.”
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