Animal welfare organizations are preparing for a potential increase in pet surrenders as millions of borrowers face the resumption of student loan payments. Shelters have already been strained in recent years, with more animals entering than leaving, and the ongoing economic hardship caused by the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation.
According to Shelter Animals Count, shelters in the United States have been struggling with overcrowding for the past three years, with dog adoptions particularly slowing down. This year, dog intake has increased by 15% compared to 2021. Economic difficulties have been identified as one of the main reasons behind the increase in pet surrenders. Factors such as food insecurity and unaffordable housing have led to more animals being brought to shelters.
The economic challenges faced by pet owners are likely to worsen as student loan payments resume. Many Americans are already feeling the financial strain of the current economy, with high inflation and rising prices. A survey found that 85% of borrowers expect to face financial hardship due to student loan repayment. This added stress of additional monthly payments could lead to more pet owners considering giving up their pets.
The potential increase in pet surrenders comes at a time when shelters are already stretched to their limits. Shelters across the country are operating at capacity, and any additional burden could push them to their breaking point. Animal welfare organizations are urging people to rally behind their local shelters and provide support through volunteering, donating, or fostering.
To prepare for unexpected events, pet owners are advised to have a plan in place. This includes ensuring pets receive routine veterinary care, having a backup plan in case of financial hardship, and familiarizing themselves with available community resources.
As the resumption of student loan payments looms, animal welfare organizations are bracing for the potential wave of pet surrenders. It is crucial for individuals to support their local shelters and take steps to ensure the welfare of pets in times of financial hardship.
Sources: Shelter Animals Count, USA TODAY, Forbes