Animal rescues face lack of fosters, more surrenders as pandemic wanes

A puppy stands on a chair at its foster's backyard. (FOX 9)

Last year in the heart of the pandemic, animal adoptions and foster volunteers went through the roof, but now the response is slowing down even though many pets are still in need of a forever home.

Currently, Ruff Start Rescue has about 150 animals available on their website. A year ago, they had about 30 to 40.

"And you couldn’t even have the animal on there for three, four hours and you would have 20 applications for one animal," said Azure Davis, the founder of Ruff Start Rescue.

Across the country animal shelters and rescues have reported a variety post-pandemic problems. In some cases, they are seeing animals that were adopted last year be returned.  

Another Twin Cities rescue, Secondhand Hounds in Minnetonka, told FOX 9 their surrenders are up drastically. From April 1 to May 10 this year, the organization received 90 surrender applications compared to the same time frame in 2020 when they received 50. Secondhand Hounds attributes the increase to people returning to work and travel.

Davis says, luckily that hasn’t happened to Ruff Start Rescue.

"And really we haven’t seen that. We did for maybe one month, so got us a little concerned, but we’ve done a lot of resources, education, training for our adopters and I think that’s really helped," said Davis.

The bigger problem she’s seeing is a drop in interest in fostering. Amid the pandemic finding fosters was easy, but now it’s getting tough to fill the need.  

"Yes, don’t forget about [the pets], they still do [need fosters]," said Davis. "Also fostering is temporary, so if you wanted to start there, try it out, it’s a great way to see if you’re ready for a pet."