Summer is the time for fun and vacationing with family. Unfortunately, that vacation often doesn’t include the family pet. In the summer, shelters see an increase in dog drop-offs, especially in Europe where month-long summer vacations are the norm.
Europe Sees Summer Increase in Pet Abandonment
A recent report on NPR suggests that over 100,000 pets are abandoned each summer in France because owners don’t want to deal with them during vacation months.
“So we make them come with us to put the dogs in the cages themselves. And when they see the stress of the animal they’re leaving behind, at least they’re not proud of what they’re doing. And we hope that keeps them from doing it again,” Claire Brissard, a shelter owner, told NPR.
Spain and Italy also see an increase in pets left behind during summer months.
Shelters Suffer in U.S. During Summer Months, Too
The problem isn’t just overseas. Unfortunately, summer months are taxing for United States shelters too, where they see increased drop-offs and abandonments, especially for cats and kittens.
“People are more likely to get a dog fixed than a cat, more likely to microchip a dog than a cat and more likely to claim a dog than a cat. Cats are the throwaways and we end up with way too many litters,” Barbara Bruin, director of The Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department, told Fox News.
Many shelters are currently well over their capacity. The Southeast Fort Worth shelter is receiving 70-80 dogs and cats on average daily, according the Star-Telegram.
The increase in pet drop-offs naturally causes an increase in costs for shelters–food and medications like heart worm and flea and tick treatments are costly for shelters in the summer. For many shelters, they are euthanizing the animals because they can’t afford to operate with the higher costs and capacity.
How You Can Help With Pet Abandonment
Here are some tips on how you can with pet abandonment in the summer:
- Factor in the cost of boarding your pet when planning your vacation. Planning ahead will help avoid that last-minute “Uh-oh! What are we going to do with the dog?” issue.
- Consider adopting a pet instead of using breeders or puppy mills. There are plenty of great animals waiting for a home at your local animal shelters.
- Donate time, money or supplies. Shelters are always in need of extra help and other items. Contact your local shelter to see what they need the most.
- Don’t get a pet if you can’t take care of it for the entire lifespan, 15-20 years in some cases.