PEI

P.E.I. Humane Society says fewer pets surrendered, stays at shelter shorter since COVID-19

The P.E.I. Humane Society says fewer animals are being surrendered to the shelter since March — around the same time many businesses were shutting down due to COVID-19.

'It allows us to to really focus on animals who might need more care, might need more training'

Dogs at the P.E.I. Humane Society are getting adopted faster since the pandemic hit than they were last year. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC News)

The P.E.I. Humane Society says fewer animals are being surrendered to the shelter since March — around the same time many businesses were shutting down due to COVID-19.

Animals that are being surrendered are also at the shelter for less time before they are adopted.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, those first couple months our adoptions were very robust," said Jennifer Harkness, development and communications manager with the society. "Any animal that was going up for adoption, whether it was a cat, a dog or rabbit was getting adopted almost immediately."

Last year, dogs waited an average of 14 days at the shelter before being adopted. This year, that's down to 10 days.

Rabbits and other small animals are getting adopted in two weeks this year, compared to 53 days last year. Cats, however, are still getting adopted in about 20 days.

"It's just kind of interesting to see. I think, you know, we have more time to spend at home," Harkness said.

"It's ideal to have pets. I mean, that's what people want to have in their home, but sometimes their life doesn't allow it. But this pandemic has had that positive side on adoptions."

'We get a lot of complaints that they can't adopt because there's not enough animals,' says Jennifer Harkness, development and communications manager at the P.E.I. Humane Society. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

Harkness said with fewer animals in the shelter, those that have special needs are able to get more attention.

"It allows us to to really focus on animals who might need more care, might need more training," she said. "The more time that we can spend on an individual basis with an animal is a great thing."

Harkness said adoptions are starting to slow down, but there are still many people looking.

"We get a lot of complaints that they can't adopt because there's not enough animals," she said. 

"We see that as a real good thing, because that's our goal of course, is to reduce homeless animals."

Harkness acknowledged that can be frustrating for people who want to become pet owners, but she has some advice.

"If they're patient, the right animal will come along."

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