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!

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Newsradio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash...
Rachel Belle

Winemakers lost billions to wildfires, but a startup can now save smoky grapes

A startup developed a process to naturally and organically clean grapes tainted by wildfire smoke.
19 days ago
Courtney Hirschi bought a new home so she could move her Grandpa Bob in (Photo courtesy of Courtney...
Rachel Belle

More Americans are caretaking an aging relative because of the pandemic

When the pandemic hit, and nursing homes became unsatisfactory places for the elderly to live, many families decided to move their relative home. 
22 days ago
The Love Wins cocktail from Kamp features a non-alcoholic spirit and frothy egg white (Photo courte...
Rachel Belle

In Seattle, a new bar for the ‘sober curious’ and the dry wedding trend

Kamp, a bar and restaurant set to open in Seattle by the end of July, has a large cocktail menu made with non-alcoholic spirits, plus non-alcoholic beer and wines. 
28 days ago
(Antor Paul/Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

Two years later, some COVID patients still can’t smell or taste

A doctor who specializes in the olfactory system says losing taste and smell to Covid can cause depression and isolation. 
1 month ago
(Rich Martello/Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

Is North Cascades National Park the most deadly park in the country?

A report analyzing the safety of America's national parks named the Washington state park as 'the top park where you are most likely to suffer a fatal accident.'
1 month ago
(Photo courtesy of Elderwise) Participants enjoy conversation and creative arts at the Elderwise ad...
Rachel Belle

The Memory Hub is a new Seattle community center for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s

The Memory Hub is a free place for people with dementia and Alzheimer's, and their families and caregivers, to access all kinds of programs and support. 
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
As people return to the office, pet surrenders have increased, are these related?