Are People Returning Pets Adopted During the Pandemic? Snopes Says Nope

We’ve heard talk of pets adopted during the pandemic being returned to shelters now that people are vaccinated and going back to work, school and their social lives. Fortunately, this sad rumor is false according to the fact-checking website Snopes.

“Despite alarmist headlines tied to regional reports of a surge in owner surrenders, this trend is not currently evident on a national level with many organizations simply seeing a return to pre-pandemic operations and intake,” the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said in a May 26 statement.

According to monthly reports from PetPoint, a website that aggregates data from more than 1,100 animal welfare organizations in the U.S., yes, shelters were experiencing an increase in pets getting dropped off in spring 2021, but the rate appeared to be returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to The New York Times.

“We will be watching this closely over the next several months,” Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association, told the news outlet. “Certainly we’ve been aware of this as a possibility since we began hearing about more people bringing pets home during the pandemic. But so far we haven’t seen any evidence of a corresponding increase in surrenders.”

Furthermore, the ASPCA’s statement highlighted findings of a roughly 5,000-household survey that showed 90% of dog owners and 85% of cat owners who adopted in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak still had the pets in their homes.