Hundreds of animals have been adopted from shelters in the last two weeks – but will they be long-term companions?
Hundreds of animals have been adopted from shelters in the last two weeks – but will they be long-term companions?

Concerns of mass pet surrender post-virus

An animal shelter has urged people seeking the comfort of a dog or cat in their social isolation to imagine life post-virus before adopting a furry new family member.

A companion animal might appeal when you're stuck at home and barred from visiting friends and family. But what happens when life returns to normal?

In the past fortnight, more than 500 dogs and cats have been adopted from shelters across NSW.

It's a 28 per cent increase compared to the same time last year, according to the RSPCA.

"We have seen so many animals go into their forever homes, and we hope they're bringing you some much needed love, warmth and company," RSPCA NSW's chief executive Steve Coleman said.

However the Lost Dog's Home is concerned adoption-fever will lead to a mass surrender of animals when life returns to normal.

"During times of stress dogs and cats can provide people with happiness and cheer them up," the charity's Suzana Talevski said.

"But we don't want them used that way and then suddenly discarded when they're no longer needed."

The North Melbourne shelter has strict adoption requirements to ensure dogs don't end up back on the kennel floor.

Roger the cat. Picture: RSPCANSW
Roger the cat. Picture: RSPCANSW

Ms Talevski said some people won't have fully considered what it means to adopt an animal.

"These pets are meant to be with us for the duration of their lives.

"It might be easy and fun now you're working from home and can walk it twice a day (but) what happens when you go back to work? What if they don't get on with your existing pets - how do you control that when you're not there?"

RSPCA South Australia was already struggling before the coronavirus to look after the high numbers of animals in its care.

More than 400 kittens, 16 per cent more than last year, have arrived at the animal welfare group during the past three weeks.

In response, it has slashed adoption fees and opened an online appointment system.

RSPCA NSW shelters and care centres are closed to the public from Thursday, with adoptions to be processed via phone or video call and animals delivered by RSPCA staff because of coronavirus restrictions.

In Queensland the RSPCA is flipping through 3000 volunteer applications to find homes for animals as concerns grow its facility will be shut down if the pandemic worsens.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN ADOPTING A DOG/CAT

EVALUATE

The size of your property, including suitable open space.

Safe and secure indoor and outdoor access.

How much time will you have for your pet after the pandemic?

Are there other pets that do not like to share their space?

Are there small children?

RESEARCH

Take a good look at the type of animal you want to adopt.

Some cats and dogs don't like other animals.

ACT

Make a responsible decision.

If you can't offer similar care and time for your pet as during virus isolation, chances are it's the wrong decision.

Originally published as Concerns of mass pet surrender post-virus

Jelly the dog. Picture: RSPCANSW
Jelly the dog. Picture: RSPCANSW

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