More ‘pandemic pets’ returning to animal shelters


ST. LOUIS – Animal shelters are seeing more adopted animals and foster pets returned to their facilities.

“Shelters in the area are full just like we are,” Andrea Wilkey, director of operations for Stray Rescue of St. Louis, said. “We’ve seen animals left outside on our benches we’ve seen animals tied up down the street.”

Wilkey said they’ve seen a slight increase.

“We had some instances where people take on fosters because they’re working from home, where they’re now traveling, now going back to work, now that restrictions are lifted, so there are a few cases where we’re seeing that happen,” she said.

Spring Schmidt with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health said they have as well.

“We have seen a few more adoption returns in the first five months of this year than we did last year,” she said.

However, Becky Krueger with the Humane Society of Missouri, said they’re not seeing an increase compared to other years.

Staci Sorber has a rescue and is on her second foster dog. She doesn’t like the national headlines she’s read.

“There’s just too many of them in the shelters and they need homes,” she said.

When the pandemic began, Sorber speculated animals might be returned once things started getting back to normal.

“I was very concerned about that happening. It’s upsetting,” she said.

Pandemic or not, she said people should understand the what comes with adopting a pet.

“It’s a lifelong commitment and if you’re going to get one, you should think of it as a lifelong commitment.”

The shelters tell FOX 2 they’re keeping an eye on the numbers and want to help pet owners where they can.

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