Story at a glance

  • Animal rescue organizations are in critical need of more fosters and adopters.
  • Pet adoptions are down 3.7 percent.
  • According to a survey by Best Friends Animal Society, 59 percent of those considering adopting a pet are now postponing their plans.

Animal shelters and rescue organizations are in critical need of more fosters and adopters. 

Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, is highlighting its Adopt & Foster campaign as shelters nationwide struggle with a decrease in adoptions and available pet foster homes in comparison to 2020. 

“Shelters, and the animals in them, need our help in a big way,” Best Friends CEO Julie Castle said in a press release. “Pets have been a part of our lives long before the pandemic, and we want to work with families to help them find their best friend while also saving a life.”

In August 2021, 24PetWatch reported adoptions were down 3.7 percent and intakes at shelters had increased by 5.9 percent in June 2021 alone.

When the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, Wags & Walks, a nonprofit dog rescue in Los Angeles, reported a five-time increase in foster queries, Chief Operating Officer Annika Smith told ABC News.

“Fostering is the single most important factor directly related to how many dogs we can rescue," Smith said, adding, “Unfortunately, it seems as though the need for dogs to be rehomed has gone back to pre-COVID days, with shelters filling up again and receiving more surrender inquiries.”


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According to a survey commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society, 59 percent of those considering adopting a pet are now postponing their plans, reporting that they are returning to the office, going on vacations, and starting new jobs, among additional reasons.

Further complicating matters, another survey by the organization found that of 150 contacted animal shelters and organizations, 88 percent report they were short-staffed, and 57 percent reported needing to reduce hours and cut programs because of these staffing shortages.

As Changing America previously reported in May, as coronavirus restrictions began to lift, shelters began to see an increase in owners returning their pets. The influx in pets being sheltered, coupled with staffing shortages and a decrease in adoptions, is leaving shelters in crisis.

“I’ve said it many times before, but now more than ever, we need the public to adopt or foster,” said Best Friends Animal Society CEO Julie Castle. “If you have been considering getting a new pet, now is the time. The public stepped up during the pandemic, and we need to do it again because countless animals’ lives are at stake if this progress backslides.”


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Published on Oct 26, 2021