According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 23 million families in the US, nearly one in five nationwide, have adopted a pet during the coronavirus pandemic. President Biden has acquired two pets: Major the dog and Willow the cat. Now, in late 2022, animal welfare organizations are scrambling to help some pet owners keep their cats and dogs or find financial resources to care for them. Some owners face the difficult problem of abandoning their animals to keep themselves and their families afloat.
In September, 35 percent of US dog and cat owners were concerned about the cost of keeping them in today’s tough economy with record inflation, according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association trade group. . Half of them said they could give up their pet. At the same time, 14 percent said they couldn’t afford to keep their pet, 12 percent said they gave the animal to wealthier people, and 9 percent admitted they could no longer care for their pet. for several reasons.
Animal shelters across the country have told WP they are facing an influx of pets this year as inflation continues to hit household budgets hard. Although there has been some easing of late, gas and food prices remain high, as does the biggest expense for most Americans, housing. According to the real estate agency Apartment List, the average rent in the country increased by 5.9% year-on-year in November and almost 18% in 2021. At the same time, as specified in the center of the National Equity Atlas, in the middle of October, 5.2 million American households could not pay rent.
As noted by experts, annual food, supplies, and routine medical care cost owners between $500 and $1,000 for a dog and $650 for a cat. Emergency veterinary care can cost thousands of dollars. More than 40 percent of pet owners reported that a vet bill of $999 or less would put them in debt, according to a Forbes Advisor survey. According to Sarah Barnett, co-executive director of ACCT Philly, Philadelphia’s largest open-source shelter, the number of stray dogs in the city has increased by 53% over the past year, and those turned over to shelters by 31%. In 2022, almost one in four pets was abandoned by their owners for financial reasons. They admitted that they have to make a difficult decision between “feeding their children and feeding the pets.” Previously, during a typical year, owners in the United States got rid of one in ten pets.
Animal advocates in the US are concerned that if this influx continues, large numbers of pets will overwhelm shelters. For desperate owners, overcapacity at shelters forces them to make a heartbreaking decision: leave their pets outside. Some have started leaving dogs on the streets, tying them to light poles, fire hydrants, bus stops and even store doors at night.