Pet adoptions on the rise this holiday season, but needs remain high at WV shelters

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More people are adopting pets this holiday season compared to last year, when shelters were under heavy demand due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Hannah jones

At the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, volunteer coordinator Hannah Jones said the overcrowding of cats and dogs had largely stabilized.

“Our kennels aren’t packed, but we just got some new dogs in, so we’re kinda up there,” she told MetroNews.

Jones said their Black Friday adoptions were on the rise this year, but said they were still struggling to recover from the woes of the pandemic, including an ongoing staff shortage.

A big concern this Christmas centers on deceptive offers. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a statement this month warning pet owners to ensure they don’t fall for warrants sought or forged photos.

Jones said it’s important to make sure you know where your pet is coming from. They aim to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information.

“We’ll tell them exactly where we know they’re coming from or if we don’t know where they’re coming from, we always let them know that we don’t know much about them, but that’s what we do know. , that’s what we learned and that’s how we saw them, ”she said.

Fostering became more popular during the pandemic, particularly in early 2020 when many people were working from home. Leah Arevalo, of Charleston, had previously taken in pets. She found a 10 week old pit bill boxer mix in a Kroger parking lot and decided to save it.

“I was going to my car and someone is yelling ‘free puppies’ in the parking lot. There was only one left and I couldn’t help but ask, ”Arevalo said.

As a pet lover, Arevalo said she knows there are a lot of deceptive offers, so people need to be careful who they adopt.

“It makes me sad. Sometimes the promotions during these holiday times don’t help. They get a lot of pets as gifts and then they come back not knowing what they really signed up for, so it’s always best to have them. get verified, ”she said.

Although foster care, Jones said, is a way to help increase stress in shelters, some puppies have not received proper training due to canceled in-person classes. This created high energy levels that the dogs, who are now one year old, have never learned to control.

At the Putnam County Animal Shelter, donations are collected for cat and dog food, cat litter, laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies.

The majority of new arrivals are stray animals. Jones said it is a “non-judgmental” area and accepts pets that cannot be cared for. The goal is to eventually provide them with homes forever.

“We love the idea of ​​them being home for the holidays. Just having the family around to socialize them, more food and more time to play is great for them, ”she said.

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