LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force Kentuckians to spend more time in their homes, the interest in adopting a pet has skyrocketed, keeping local animal shelters busy.
“Maybe the only bright spot of the pandemic that I can think of is that people have really spent a lot more time with their animals.,” Kentucky Humane Society Marketing Director Andrea Blair said. “They’ve really appreciated how much unconditional love their animals bring them and joy.”
Blair told WAVE 3 News the Kentucky Humane Society has seen a 30-percent drop in dog surrenders in 2020. Blair said that’s because people have had more time to spend at home with their pets. Animals also have been adopted faster in 2020. According to KHS data, animals spent a combined three and half fewer days in the shelter in 2020 compared to 2019.
“(Pets) don’t know what’s going on of course with the pandemic, so they really do help us just feel kind of normal in a very abnormal time,” Blair said.
Despite the decrease in dog intake, cat surrenders have risen.
Blair said KHS has seen nearly a 10 percent increase in cat surrenders. She believes the spike is due to a combination of veterinarians’ inability to spay and neuter during the pandemic and cats’ natural ability to breed multiple times throughout the year.
Blair also told WAVE 3 News several people have fostered or adopted multiple animals during the pandemic, including Stephanie and Kimberly Siegwald.
“It helps kind of brighten a very dark time for us,” Stephanie Siegwald said.
The pair of sister veterinarians has a combined 20 pets between them. They told WAVE 3 News the new additions to their families come at a perfect time and have helped them get through the year.
“When I have a hard day at work it makes me smile and laugh and it makes every day brighter for me.,” Kimberly Siegwald said. “In a time right now where there’s a lot of sadness and a lot of pain, when you can better the life of something else that’s so innocent and so full of love all the time, it brings joy back to you.”
Blair told WAVE 3 News people looking to adopt pets in 2021 should familiarize themselves with each shelter’s adoption policy. Some shelters are conducting adoptions by appointment only. Blair also said people may have to be patient. She said surrenders are expected to increase in 2021, as America comes out of the pandemic and more people return to work.