Human Interest

Surge in pet adoption sparks fear of animal abandonment over summer

By Paula Boira Nacher

Brussels, Jun 7 (efe-epa).- Pet adoptions grew considerably in Belgium during the coronavirus lockdown but shelters warn that with the easing of measures and opening of borders for the summer season there is a risk a surge in abandoned animals will ensue.

Steve Bové, a Blue Cross worker in Brussels, told Efe that in recent months adoptions “have increased by around 200 percent” compared to data collected in late 2019 and early 2020.

“In April we had about 37 cats and currently we only have 11 left,” said Bové, who is used to seeing about 10 adoptions a month, but not the 20 plus he has counted in the last 30 days.

The refuge has also noticed a decrease in the number of animals that have been taken into the shelter.

“There have been many more exits than entrances,” says Bové, who believes “people have had more time to take care of their animals, and therefore there have been fewer abandonments.”

According to the press, this has been the pattern across animal shelters throughout Belgium.

To adopt a pet, prospective owners need to make an appointment with shelters beforehand.

Demand has surged to such an extent that some shelters, like Arlon in the south, had to ask other centers to send some of their animals to continue offering adoptions.

In the Homeless Animal shelter, in the town of Condroz, they say that each year they receive “around 300 animals”, but following the lockdown, they only have three large dogs left because when new animals arrive “they are immediately adopted” workers were quoted as saying in Le Soir newspaper.

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