Apr 19, 2022 - News

Colorado's crowded animal shelters hit "critical" capacity levels

Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's pandemic-era pet adoption boom appears to be waning.

Why it matters: Nearly 1 in 5 households adopted a dog or cat during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  • But as normal life resumes, furry friends are showing up at shelters in droves and increasingly having trouble finding new homes, putting them at risk of euthanasia.

Driving the news: The Dumb Friends League on Monday reported "critical" capacity levels and "significant" increases in the number of dogs at its three shelters across Colorado.

  • Dog surrenders are up 15% compared to pre-pandemic levels, while stray dog intakes have soared 41%. The shelters took in more than 1,100 animals in March alone.
  • To make more space, the Dumb Friends League is now offering dog adoptions at a discounted price through April at certain locations.

What's happening: From a return to in-person work to rising costs of living, industry experts say a number of factors are at play that have left many pet owners strapped to care for their animals.

  • Moreover, the surge in COVID-era adoptions has strained resources among veterinarians, trainers and day care centers, and the limited services may have resulted in a generation of pets who lack training or act out β€” raising their odds of being returned.
  • Difficulties securing veterinarian appointments also meant many spay and neuter efforts were put on pause, leading to more puppies and strays.

The big picture: Pet adoptions have slowed nationwide, with 100,000 more dogs and cats in shelters as of late January compared to last year, according to the Best Friends Animal Society.

πŸ• Adoptable dogs from the Dumb Friends League


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