TAMPA, Fla. — Pet shelters in the Tampa Bay area are reporting a spike in adoptions as those under stay-at-home orders look for animal companionship.
But ABC Action News also found the financial fallout from the pandemic is forcing more owners to surrender cats and dogs because they can no longer afford to care for their pets.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay reported the number of pets surrendered since mid-March has spiked 20%.
“They are starting to really panic about how they are going to care or feed that animal,” said the organization’s executive director, Sherry Silk.
The shelter also reports it has seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking help from the Humane Society’s food assistance program.
“We give free (pet) food to anyone who needs it, basically no questions asked,” said Silk.
But Silk said there’s also a silver lining: pet adoptions have increased with nearly 500 people adopting pets in just the last three weeks of March.
Although adoptions are up, donations are down, according to Silk. She said the shelter is seeking pet food and supplies as well as cash gifts to help care for the influx of surrenders.
For more information on how to donate or seek assistance, visit humanesocietytampa.org.