DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Animal shelters across the Miami Valley are seeing an increase in the number of strays and surrendered pets compared to last year. Professionals from some of those shelters say in some cases, the spike simply has to do with a change in the weather, while others are noticing a change associated with the pandemic.

“We’ve always sort of seen this trend as the weather gets warmer,” said Michael Zimmerman, public information officer for Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. “More dogs are outside, more of them tend to get away from their homes.”

Senior marketing manager for SICSA, Samantha Hoefler, added, “This year, adoptions are actually down. We can attribute it to many different things, like people wanting to get out of the home, going on vacation. Maybe they’re not able to have a dog at home because they’re aren’t home a lot.”

Hoefler said in addition to putting a strain on workers at animal care facilities, the increase of strays and surrenders is taxing for pets.

“It can cause them stress,” she said. “It can be scary to just go back and forth and then coming into a situation at a shelter, they don’t know, you know, if they’re gonna go to another home, or they’re gonna be here for a while.”

Population limits are also becoming an issue, as some shelters are near capacity. Luckily, if you think you have no choice but to give up your furry family member, there are other options.

“If they need support, whether it’s training, food, veterinary care, all those kinds of things –sometimes those are reasons why people are surrendering animals,” said CEO of the Greater Dayton Humane Society, Brian Weltge. “And if we can help with some of those things, we’d rather keep a pet in their home than have it surrendered to any shelter.”

A number of shelters in the Miami Valley, including SICSA, also offer assistance with pet care or fostering programs for those who’d like to help take care of a pet temporarily. And professionals say those who are ready to adopt should be ready for a long-term commitment and lots of love. 

“When you  adopt, not only are you adopting a beautiful furry family member for your home,” said Weltge, “but you’re also freeing up the space for us to let other animals in.”

You can learn more about shelters in the Miami Valley and the services they offer by clicking the links below: