SEATTLE — Seattle Humane is seeing an increase in people looking to rehome their pets and the shelter wants people to know it's not because people are returning to the office.
"We really want to dispel that myth because quite honestly it's just not true," said Seattle Humane Chief Operating Officer, Libby Jones.
The shelter looked at its data collected from people who have surrendered their companions and believed the trend is caused by increasing levels of financial and housing insecurity.
"What is happening is people that are responding to the economy. They're responding to inflation, the housing crisis, exorbitant medical, behavioral, food all different care costs," said Jones. "All of those pressure points are affecting these people and the first thing they always want to do is help their pet."
The number of pets surrendered at Seattle Humane due to housing insecurities in the first six months of 2022 is about to surpass the total number of pets surrendered for housing insecurities in all of 2021. The overall number of pets surrendered is also on track to surpass 2021 numbers.
"We're seeing a lot of people reaching out saying what do I do next? I can't access resources and I don't know what else to do," Jones said.
Jones said surrendering a pet should be a last resort. She said shelters and organizations may have programs to help with financial assistance, foster care and veterinary care.
Seattle Humane has seen what it's calling a massive increase in requests for pet assistance. The organization is encouraging people to reach out before making the decision to surrender their pet.
Seattle Humane has a donation-based Pet Owner Assistance Fund, which helps provide pet resources. Jones said Seattle Humane also has a temporary foster program, dog training course and pet food bank.
"We want to help them overcome that moment of crisis so that way they can keep their animal because they do have that bond. It is not an easy decision to have to rehome your pet," said Jones, "If rehoming is ultimately the decision that you need to make then we can help you do that."