Skyrocketing rents force families to choose between their homes and their pets

black labrador retriever leaning on the gate fence of a house
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Surrender their pet or lose their home, that’s the devastating choice that many families across the United States have faced this year as rent costs continue to skyrocket by as much as 40%.

While the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic may now be behind us, the financial implications of close to two years of lockdowns around the globe are now hitting hard.

Those who just a few years ago would have classified themselves as being able to live comfortably are now struggling to make ends meet - a situation that is leaving many with no option but to give up their pets in order to survive.

According to Katy Hansen, the director of marketing and communications at Animal Care Centers of New York City, owners surrendering their pets to shelters was up 25% in the first half of 2022.

And if you think that people who bought pandemic pets have simply changed their mind and no longer want them now that they’ve returned to the office, think again.

“There have been a lot of stories out there saying, ‘Oh, the pandemic pets are being returned,'” said Hansen. “That’s not what we’re finding. The increase in surrenders that we’re finding are from family-owned pets. They’ve owned these pets for years. They’re in a financial situation that they can’t get out of.”

dog lying in bed with owner

Owners surrendering their pets to shelters was up 25% in the first half of 2022. (Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s a heartbreaking situation that’s made even more difficult by the simultaneous drop in adoption rates, leaving many once-beloved family pets at risk of euthanasia. 

While shelters across the country are doing everything they can to accommodate surrendered pets, including setting up pop-up cages in their lobbies and offices, many are having to turn families away, causing them to take drastic measures.

“We have found a lot of dogs abandoned with notes,” said Karen Hayt, owner of the Facebook group Lost Pets of Jacksonville. “They love them. They’ve been with their family for a long time. But they’re either getting kicked out of their house… They cannot afford to feed them.”

With the cost of living showing no signs of decreasing any time soon, one thing has become crystal clear - we humans aren’t the only ones suffering in this post-pandemic financial crisis.  

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.