Animal adoption centers across Victoria are at a crossroads as the number of surrendered pets in shelters outweighs the number of families looking to adopt.
RSPCA Victoria, the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) and The Lost Dogs’ Home are among a number of animal rehoming organizations that are struggling to keep up with the supply of animals in search of a home.
During the pandemic, these organizations were seeing record adoption rates as families sought a furry friend to accompany them during the state’s multiple lockdowns.
However with the cost of living on the rise, employees returning to the office and a number of other factors, that success has since backflipped with RSPCA recording a surge in the number of surrendered pets since the beginning of the Christmas season last year.
RSPCA shelters across the state were recording a collective total of 50 surrendered pets a month at the end of 2021, but that number has since tripled with shelters housing 150 abandoned animals monthly.
Meanwhile, GAP saw such high numbers of abandoned greyhounds in its shelters that it was calling on dog lovers to consider fostering a hound to relieve pressure on the system.
“Frens (sic), we need your help! We have so many boopable snoots looking for their forever homes and no one wanting to adopt them,” GAP said in a Facebook post.
“Our kennels are bursting at the seams with long bois (sic) and girls.”
At the beginning of this month, The Lost Dogs’ home had more than 40 canine companions in search of their forever homes while the number of cats in its care was double the amount.
“As we share this update, more than 80 cats are available for adoption or awaiting space in the adoption centre,” The Lost Dogs’ home posted to Facebook at the end of June.
“Sadly they’re being constantly ignored in favor of kittens. While it’s wonderful that so many families have opened their homes and hearts to a kitten in need, our adult cats deserve a home too.”
Meanwhile, RSPCA Victoria animal care manager Nadia Peiris said dogs across all age groups were being surrendered.
“(The number of) puppies coming in is just mind blowing,” she told 9 News.
“During Covid, we probably saw a puppy coming in during the whole two years. That really shows you the dilemma that we’re in.”
Additionally the rate of unreclaimed pets is also on the rise, with around a third of dogs brought into RSPCA’s care, due to being lost, abandoned despite the organization finding the dog’s owner.
“When we call the owner to let them know that the dog is in the shelter we’re hearing people say, ‘Oh, we’d just like to surrender the dog,’” Ms Peiris said.
With adoption rates at pre-Covid levels across some organisations, shelters are doing their best to encourage animal lovers to consider applying before buying their pet from a breeder.
The Lost Dogs’ Home has previously lowered adoption fees, while GAP has started a new campaign where the next 100 greyhounds adopted will receive a free pair of hound-proof long johns to keep them warm in the winter.
“From (tomorrow), the next 100 greyhounds adopted all come with their own super cute pair of long johns as part of our #longjohnsforlongdogs campaign,” GAP posted on Facebook.
“Bonus block of chocolate to those adoptees who turn up in their own long johns or onesie!”
RSPCA will also kick off a new adoption campaign in August to entice more animal lovers to consider adoption.
“If anyone is applying, please give our customer service team a call, book a time to come and view our animals,” Ms Peiris said.
“We’ve got lots ready to go home.”
To adopt a pet, each organization has its own adoption processes and fees. Pets are up-to-date with their latest vaccinations, and are fully vet-checked.
Each pet also requires its future-owner to meet a specific criteria which is based on the pet’s needs, personality and temperament.
For example, not all of GAP’s greyhounds are cat-friendly, while some of RSPCA’s and the Lost Dogs’ home’s pets aren’t always suitable for a family with young children.
But with so many pets available for adoption, all shelters are committed to finding the perfect match to suit each individual’s and animal’s needs.
For more information, head to rspcavic.org, dogshome.com or gap.grv.org.au to find your next paw-fect companion.