US animal shelters in ‘crisis’ from surge in unwanted dog

Animal shelters across the U.S. are facing a crisis due to a surge in unwanted dogs, with an increase in stray dogs taken in by shelters.

Shelters report a 6% rise in stray dogs from January to November 2023, compared to 2022, and a 22% increase since 2021.

The rise in unwanted dogs is attributed to more workers returning to the office and escalating prices for pet essentials like food and veterinary care.

Some shelters are making the tough decision to close doors, reduce hours, or limit the types of animals they can accommodate due to the overwhelming situation.

This year, there is a notable increase in the surrender of not only older dogs but also puppies and purebred dogs.

The decline in adoptions contrasts sharply with the surge seen during the pandemic when pet populations grew significantly.

Animal Care Centers of NYC temporarily stopped accepting dog surrenders in October, citing a population crisis; financial insecurity and landlord disputes are major reasons for surrender.

Financial strain on families due to rising costs for groceries, rent, and pet care is leading some owners to choose between their own needs and those of their pets.

Petco and Chewy are adjusting their product selections to accommodate financially strained consumers, emphasizing value brands.

Overcrowded shelters are facing challenges in handling and placing animals, leading to an increase in non-live outcomes and deaths in shelters. The situation is described as a "national dog crisis" by experts.