Save Me Animal Rescue, ACCT among animal shelters stressed by rising dog abandonment. Here’s how to help

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – Philadelphia animal shelters say they are reaching breaking point due to the number of animal surrenders.

At Save Me Animal Rescue in the Gray’s Ferry section of Philadelphia, the kennels are full and the workers are strained. Workers there say the pandemic adoption boom is over.

“It also leads to a lot of people staying indoors, not socializing their dog properly, not training their dog. So now the dogs that come back tend to have more behavioral issues,” said the shelter manager, Devon Kluver.

She says that as people return to more normal pre-pandemic lifestyles, some are choosing to give up their dogs.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia-area shelters are seeing an influx of pet abandonments as more people return to work

“We don’t typically take owner buyouts into consideration, but we’ve started taking some on what happened at ACCT to help ACCT,” Kluver said.

ACCT Philly says dog consumption is up 40% from a year ago and more than half of them are dropouts. The shelter has over 100 dogs available for adoption and is at capacity.

“It’s heartbreaking. We want to say yes to everyone. We want to help every dog,” said Jessica Graaf, president of The Philly Bully Team, a non-profit organization that helps foster pit bulls.

She says her organization no longer accepts assignments.

“When someone contacts us, an owner, and wants to give up their dog, we dedicate all of our resources and time to finding a foster family and making sure we have enough money to cover all the resulting medical or behavioral problems,” says Graf.

Workers say the other side of the issue is that fewer people are willing to foster or adopt, which means dogs stay longer in shelters.

Graaf is currently caring for a pit bull named Dottie, whom she took in two weeks ago because the ACCT couldn’t.

That’s a short turnaround compared to Kurt, a pit bull who’s been at Save Me Animal Rescue for a year and a half.

“The shelter is a stressful environment for any dog. And for a dog that stays here for over 500 days, you can kind of see them start to decline a bit,” Kluver said.

She says Kurt is a sponsored dog, which means adoption fees have been waived. She hopes someone will step in and take her in soon.

“There is a home for him and we really want to find it,” she said.

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