ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – An abundance of furry friends leaves little vacancy at Winnebago County Animal Services. Recently, around 20 dogs and 70 cats are patiently waiting to be adopted on any given day.
âThere has been an influx of cats and dogs into our facility, mostly stray dogs,â says DeShawn Christiansen, shelter operations coordinator.
âWe struggle a bit to make sure we get all the animals home as quickly and safely as possible,â adds Amber Pinnon, Adoption and Volunteer Program Coordinator.
Shelter workers are unsure of the reason for the stray animals, but believe COVID-19 may be partly responsible for pets returned by their owners.
âWhen the shutdown happened, we saw a surge in the number of people interested in adopting and welcoming, even volunteering,â Pinnon said. âAfter the COVID restrictions relaxed a bit, we saw a bit more of the wasting away period. But generally this also coincides with less consumption. And this has unfortunately not been the case in recent months.
Christiansen echoed the sentiment, saying, âI’ve seen in a number of cases where people cite that they don’t have enough time or that they have unrealistic expectations. So I think some of them could be people who deal with animals during COVID, and now they’re going back to work, they just don’t have the time. “
A staff shortage at the shelter adds to the problem.
âWe really have the impression that we are jostling each other. We know a bit about the labor shortage that I think veterinary clinics and businesses are experiencing nationwide, âPinnon said of the additional hurdle.
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