When the pandemic started in March of 2020, many individuals found themselves in an unfamiliar situation: they had unlimited time at home. Individuals were encouraged to quarantine and stay at home to help us better navigate the pandemic. With this situation came one simple trend: an extreme boom in pet adoption. People far and wide were adopting their first pet, or adding more pets to their home. This was, in part, perhaps due to boredom, or perhaps due to the desirable opportunity of being able to spend as much time with the pet as possible. Regardless of the reason, pet ownership has peaked in 2020 and into 2021.
Meanwhile, veterinarians, considered essential workers, stayed open during the pandemic. Protocols may have changed, but animals still needed to be seen. Licensed veterinary professionals widely experienced a notable surge in patients and clients. People who had never had pets before due to time and lifestyle constraints were needing to book appointments for their newly adopted cat or dog. Commonly, newly adopted pets will need vaccinations, boosters, medications, preliminary check-ups, and sometimes even health-related treatments early on in their lives. For example, purebred animals often have health issues due to inbreeding or improper care. Pet owners, especially those who have never had pets before, are usually wildly unprepared for the costs and time spent ensuring their pet is safe and healthy.
A new trend has started to emerge, as noted by professionals who work in the animal care industry: new pet owners are beginning to return their pets to shelters or other adoption centers, or even surrendering the pets at veterinary offices. There are several reasons why this is occurring. With the slowing of the pandemic and the return to normalcy, people are going back to work in offices, and no longer have time to take care of pets. Some may also feel guilt that their pet, who had been enjoying time at home with their owner, will now be alone during work hours. Pet owners, especially those who had not previously had a pet, may also be shocked and burdened by the sometimes-unexpected costs of pet ownership. Another fiscal issue might be that pet owners have lost their steady income due to the pandemic and can no longer afford basic care for their pets. These reasons, and more, are what professionals have noted as the impetus for returning pets.
The effect this has on pets and their owners aside, licensed veterinary professionals have certainly noted the struggle to handle both sides of this trend: firstly, the extreme business and hectic environment of hundreds of new pet adoptions and the care needed thereafter; on the other side, many veterinary offices are experiencing unforeseen surges in pet owners insisting or requesting to surrender their pet to the office, which is something that vet offices generally do not do. Out of sheer necessity, veterinary offices have become a middle ground of taking surrendered animals and finding temporary homes for them in shelters, foster programs, or other adoption centers.
Williams & Nickl has represented thousands of licensed professionals and their licensed business entities who face issues with IDFPR. If you find yourself in such a situation, Williams & Nickl can provide the help you need.