Animal shelters all over Canada and the United States are overcrowded and low on funds, with most animal rescuers having their hardest year since the start of the new millennium. Some reports show that the troubles in animal shelters are due to a pandemic pet trend. The pandemic pet trend from reports states that when the pandemic first began, shelters recorded a high number of pet adoptions, and now that people are going back to work. Many of those same people are returning their pets to the shelters on vacations.

The reality of the overcrowded and underfunded animal shelters issue is that it isn’t just that people are returning their pandemic pets; the problem stems from the complications of COVID-19 and the pandemic. Those complications include staffing shortages and issues with the train of transport that usually gets animals from off the streets and into their new homes. The shortage of staff at animal shelters means fewer animal intakes, fewer operations, and fewer significant adoption events for the animals to find new homes.

Recent surveys in the U.S. show that a very high percentage of animal shelters are so understaffed that this has turned into a problem all over the nation. There is also a huge shortage of veterinarians in the United States, and some counties in the country don’t even have a local vet. Neuter and spay services for animals were non-essential in most places in the United States during the pandemic. That created a huge backlog of shelter animals that needed to be neutered and spayed before they could go to new family homes. This has turned out to be one of the biggest hurdles to pet adoptions because shelters cannot get animals adopted in the efficient way they used to.

The overcrowded animals in shelters, the slower adoption rate, and the shortages in staff have thrown off a whole thriving network of the animal sheltering community. These animal shelter issues are also causing the staff at the shelters to be overwhelmed and fatigued. The biggest help has come from all the people that have been able to adopt these animals and welcome them into their homes at this time. More of that help will help the issues and complications that animal shelters are now experiencing.