Animal shelters becoming overrun as pandemic pets are being brought back
Shelters on Long Island are becoming overcrowded with animals after people who got pets during the pandemic are now giving them up.
Town of Smithtown Animal Shelter officials call some of the dogs now up for adoption pandemic puppies. They are animals that had homes for two years, but are now they are back in shelters because their owners couldn't take care of them when they went back to work.
"It's too difficult to take care of them because they need to be walked and cared for so they just call us instead to take them," said Smithtown Animal Control Officer Denise Vibal.
Experts say as people head back to the office and the costs of owning a pet continue to rise, cages are filling up fast.
Shelter workers say in addition to dogs and cats being surrenders, they are also getting calls to take in smaller animals like guinea pigs, hamsters and birds.
Pet owners are also facing a shortage of veterinarians across Long Island.
Workers at Peace Love Pets Veterinary Care in Commack say owners are desperate for appointments
"The phones are ringing off the hook, people are calling all day in to get in," said Danielle Watson, of Peace Love Pets Veterinary Care.
Dr. Diane Levitan, a veterinarian for 30 years, says her days are long with little rest in between appointments. She says the numbers of veterinarians continue to decrease as the number of pet owners rises.
Levitan says a lot of the reason is "compassion fatigue," with vets working so hard to try to make everyone happy.
Anyone who can't adopt or foster, shelter officials say you can still help by donating or sharing a post on social media.
Experts also caution people considering adopting a pet to seriously think about their decision because it's a big commitment.