As animal shelters reach capacity, Purina and Petfinder urge families to open their hearts and homes to a new furry friend


ST. LOUIS, September 20, 2021 / PRNewswire / – With many shelters and shelters nationwide, there has never been a better time to consider adopting a new pet. According to Petfinder, a searchable pet adoption resource and a network of more than 11,000 shelters and rescue organizations, the number of adoptable pets is nearing record highs with 40% more pets available for adoption compared to last year – up from 130,000 in summer 2020 to over 240,000 pets currently available on the site. Purina and Petfinder are working to raise awareness of the factors behind shelter overcrowding and are urgently appealing to anyone considering a pet to adopt a needy shelter animal now.

According to Petfinder, several factors have driven this influx of adoptable pets, including:

  • Pandemic break in sterilization / sterilization efforts – At the height of the pandemic, efforts to sterilize and sterilize pets declined sharply or came to a temporary halt due to national safe-in-place mandates and social distancing. As a result, many shelters across the country are now experiencing a wave of overcrowding due to the inundation of stray puppies and kittens.

    Some of the largest pet shelters in the United States, including the San Diego Humane Society and Michigan Humane, have seen similar increases in pet consumption. But unlike some recent titles, this increase is not due to the higher number of abandoned pets adopted in the past year. The number of owner surrenders in shelters has remained stable over the past few years, and the recent influx can be largely attributed to increased animal reproduction rates in 2020 as sterilization and sterilization efforts were suspended.

  • Disaster displacement – Natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana last month and caused devastating flooding across the east coast, also contributed to the increase in the number of displaced animals. Due to massive overcrowding in shelters located on the usual transport routes for pets displaced from New Orleans, these animals are now being moved to states that may already be facing an overcrowding of shelters across the country, such as Atlanta, Caroline from the south, Missouri, California and more.
  • Underfunded shelters – Additionally, many pet shelters have been forced to close temporarily or permanently due to lack of funding, resources and personnel needed to survive during the pandemic. Petfinder noted a decrease of over 800 active shelters at the site compared to the summer of 2020. Animals from these shelters were likely moved to other locations, resulting in even more unexpected overcrowding in the shelters. welcome which still needs to stabilize.

“Thousands of pet shelters have been and continue to be affected by the pandemic, which has created an even greater number of adoptable pets across the country and the need for continued assistance,” he said. declared Jessica arnold, Head of Petfinder Shelter Partner Engagement at Purina. “At Purina, we know that pets and people are better together, and Petfinder is a key connector in helping to match incredible homeless animals with their families forever. We urge all who wish to welcome a pet companionship in their home, to consider adopting one of the thousands of partner shelters available through the extensive Petfinder network. ”

Emotional stress on animals and humans

The urgency of finding permanent homes for pets in overcrowded shelters is exacerbated by the emotional burden placed on both pets and people. Pets in crowded shelters experience longer stays due to the imbalance between adoptable and adoptable animals. The high number of pets entering shelters no longer matches the demand for adoption, which has dropped back to pre-pandemic levels. A shelter environment, while still a safe haven for pets, can sometimes be stressful for animals awaiting adoption.

The sooner an animal is adopted, the less changes (and associated stress) it will experience, ”said Arnold. “No matter how long an animal has been waiting for its forever home in a shelter, the love of a family can be transformational.”

Overcrowded shelters also report increased incidences of burnout and staff turnover (almost 100%) due to longer hours, the natural emotional burden of the job, and new hires with limited experience managing so many. both animals – especially animals that may have suffered trauma.

And many shelters fear the influx will continue. As the moratorium on pandemic evictions lifts, many shelters and staff are forecasting an even greater increase in the number of adoptable pets, potentially putting pressure on shelter staff and resources.

“Every animal deserves a safe and happy home, and right now we especially need the community’s help to free up space in our shelters so that we can save more lives,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, President and CEO, San Diego Humane Society. “Adopting a pet from a shelter can be a wonderful experience for your family and one that helps save the life of a pet in need.”

For those who can’t adopt immediately, welcoming a pet or volunteering at a local shelter or rescue organization are also great ways to support pets and the people who care for them. A direct donation to a local shelter or the Petfinder Foundation can also provide support, resources, supplies, food, training and transportation services to shelters during this critical time.

Innovative tools to facilitate adoption
As the leading authority on pet nutrition, wellness and adoption, Purina and Petfinder encourage anyone interested in adopting to visit or use the Petfinder app to connect with the larger network of shelters with adoptable pets.

As the leading online search tool for matching adoptable pets with their permanent homes, Petfinder continues to use innovative technology to help shelters and those looking to adopt a new family member. Recent updates to the site allow for better and faster matches between adopters and shelters, and offer several improved features for shelters. Petfinder’s updated interactive quiz helps to better match potential pet owners with the perfect pet based on factors like lifestyle, house size, breed, size, age , health considerations, and location – all in as little as 60 seconds. Now adopters also have the option to collaborate with a new tool that allows family and friends to comment on potential matches.

Over the past 25 years, Petfinder has been able to facilitate 35 million adoptions, including 1.8 million last year alone, and hopes to increase their numbers to find animals in need of permanent homes.

About Purina
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates a richer life for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by delivering scientifically-based nutritional innovations. Purina makes some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast, and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,700 associates in the United States are proud of our trusted brands of pet food, treats and litter boxes that feed 51 million dogs and 65 million cats each year. Over 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians and animal care experts back our commitment to unmatched quality and nutrition.

Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, products and support for companion animal organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed over $ 150 million to organizations that bring together and keep people and pets, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.

Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness. For more information, visit or subscribe here for the latest news from Purina.


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