Pet abandonment cases soar all over the world due to inflation, rising cost of living

Pet abandonment cases soar all over the world due to inflation, rising cost of living
Опубликовано: Friday, 24 February 2023 07:52

The number of pet abandonment cases all over the world is soaring as inflation drives up the cost of keeping these beloved animals around and people who got pets during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown period are now resorting to abandoning them as they return to their offices.

In Singapore, animal welfare groups said these new developments have emerged as major reasons why people abandon pets like cats and dogs.

Last year, the Singaporean government-run Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) noted that it looked into 310 cases of pets being abandoned. This was up by nearly 38 percent from the 225 cases of pet abandonment in 2021. Furthermore, there were 251 and 230 pet abandonment cases in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Aarthi Sankar, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a private animal charity, said that some pet abandonment cases can be difficult to identify. The group regularly receives 50 to 60 cases of animals that were not microchipped or registered being abandoned each year.

“As there are currently no regulations requiring cats to be registered, it is even harder to identify whether a cat has been abandoned,” said Sankar. “Often, our officers cannot clearly ascertain if a rescue animal is from the community or an abandoned pet. It is thus likely that abandonment rates are higher than reported.”

Jessica Kwok, group director of the AVS, warned that people who abandon their pets can be charged under the Animal and Birds Act. First-time offenders who fail in “the duty of care” to their pets can be fined a maximum of SG$10,000 ($7,472), be jailed for up to 12 months, or both.

Pets being abandoned all over the world

Unfortunately for many pets around the world, Singapore’s case is not solitary. In Malaga, a city of over half a million people on the southern coast of Spain, rising prices and a worsening economic situation across the province has led to a rise in the number of dogs being abandoned.

The city’s municipal animal protection center noted that it received 913 cases of dogs being admitted to the shelter in 2022, up by 68 percent from the 544 dogs admitted in 2021.

Animal shelters in the area noted that everything related to products and materials for pets has seen a price increase of anywhere between 35 to 40 percent, and pet food prices have gone up by 25 to 30 percent.

In Ontario, Canada, Parks Canada noted that it has seen a three-fold increase in instances of unwanted animals being abandoned at the Rouge National Urban Park, which is located within the city of Toronto. The situation has gotten so bad that the urban park’s authorities went to social media to ask people not to abandon their pets there.

“Releasing pets into nature seldom has a happy ending. Domestic animals struggle in the harsh natural environment and can spread diseases to native species,” the park’s authorities wrote. “Please don’t abandon animals in Rouge National Urban Park.”

Furthermore, amid rising costs and the massive return to offices, the number of pets in Toronto being surrendered to animal shelters soared by 75 percent last year compared to the same period in 2021.

Pets in the United States are also no exception. According to the Humane Society, between 10 to 11 million dogs across the nation are at risk of abandonment due to the rise in housing insecurity. In Hamilton County, Ohio alone, the number of pets left behind by their owners increased by nearly 50 percent in 2022.

Ray Anderson of Cincinnati Animal CARE noted that about 383 dogs were abandoned to the shelter in 2022 due to housing insecurity, up from 294 dogs abandoned the previous year.

“It is a lack of affordable, pet-friendly housing,” noted Ray Anderson of Cincinnati Animal CARE. “It is, ‘Landlord changed over and changed the rules and I can’t have my pet here anymore,’ ‘My rent got raised too high, I have to move somewhere where I can’t afford to move,’ ‘I can’t afford to bring my pet with me’ or ‘I’ve been evicted and I can’t find another place where I can bring my dog.’ We’re seeing a lot of that.”


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