As people return to the office, pet surrenders have increased, are these related?

Jul 6, 2022, 12:00 PM | Updated: 12:21 pm

(Photo by Markus Winkler/ Unsplash)...

(Photo by Markus Winkler/ Unsplash)

(Photo by Markus Winkler/ Unsplash)

Animal shelters across the country are reporting a big uptick in the number of pets being surrendered. Seattle Humane says they’ve received several calls from the media, wondering if it’s people who adopted a pet during the pandemic who are surrendering them now that they’re going back to the office. But Seattle Humane says that’s simply not true.

“In Seattle, specifically, the return to office rate is really low,” said Libby Jones, Chief Operations Officer for Seattle Humane. “It’s still under 40% occupancy, so we’re not seeing this drastic increase of people returning to the office and not knowing what to do with their pet.”

Jones says they want to set the record straight.

“People commonly have a misperception about when a person comes to the shelter to surrender their animal, that they’re just giving them away or abandoning their animal,” Jones said. “That is not the case. We do not see that with our clients. Our clients love and are committed to their animals and want to do what’s in their best interest.”

So why are so many people surrendering their pets to shelters right now?

“Most people are bringing their pets in because of financial restraints,” said Jones. “We’re seeing a lot of people having to downsize their home or relocate their home or becoming completely unhoused. When an animal goes from one situation, like a home with a backyard, to an apartment complex, landlords and apartment management companies will say, ‘Hey, this animal is not doing well in this environment. You need to get rid of your animal.’ A lot of people don’t have a lot of options at their disposal so they’re turning to shelters for that help.”

Unfortunately, a lot of shelters can’t help. But Seattle Humane can; they have many programs in place to help keep your pet in your care, instead of having to surrender them to a shelter when times get tough.

“We have our Pet Owner Assistance Fund which allows us to be able to help pet owners with immediate monetary needs, whether it’s for a special procedure or if someone is having to transition housing, they can utilize our funds to help with an initial pet deposit,” Jones said. “These funds are for income-qualified individuals. We also have our SPOT program, that is specifically for transitional fostering. If someone needs medical care and doesn’t have anyone to care for their pet or if someone is becoming unhoused and doesn’t know how to access housing options that are pet friendly, they can apply to our SPOT program so we can do temporary fostering for their animal to allow them to stay in the care of their owner.”

Sadly, for the first time in five years, the national euthanasia rate is going up in shelters, partially because some of the pets being surrendered have serious behavioral problems. Luckily, Seattle Humane has a program that works with pets like these, so they can keep them with their original owner or get them back to an adoptable disposition. But in order to run all of these lifesaving programs, the shelter needs your help.

“Our number one ask is to donate to those funds so we can continue to provide community support,” said Jones. “But also you can foster, you can volunteer, you can bring pet food in, you can bring toys and different things.”

If you are struggling to afford pet care, reach out to Seattle Humane for help. 
Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal.” Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!

Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle...

Rachel Belle

Belle: This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later

After 20 years in news radio, I'm leaving my post at KIRO Newsradio to focus on making my podcast "Your Last Meal" full-time!

7 months ago

emily post etiquette...

Rachel Belle

Emily Post’s “Etiquette” goes modern: Advice on pronouns, hugging

In 1922, Emily Post published her very first etiquette book. Since then, 18 editions have been published by five generations of Posts.

7 months ago


Rachel Belle

Combat winter blues with friluftsliv, the Nordic tradition of being outside

Friluftsliv is part of the culture in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, places that are darker and colder than Seattle in winter.

7 months ago

small talk...

Rachel Belle

Most Americans hate small talk, but Seattleites continue talking about weather

Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 71% said they prefer silence to small talk and 89% of Gen Z use their phones to avoid making small talk.

7 months ago

(Igordoon Primus/Unsplash)...

Rachel Belle

Seattle sperm bank in desperate need of Black donors

Only 2% of American sperm donors are Black men, which is causing a lot of heartache for women specifically looking for a Black donor. 

7 months ago

Photo courtesy of Rosie Grant...

Rachel Belle

Woman cooking recipes engraved on gravestones says they’re all ‘to die for’

You know that recipe your family requests at every holiday, potluck and birthday party? What if you had it engraved on your tombstone?

7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

As people return to the office, pet surrenders have increased, are these related?