While remote work remains the norm for many people, others are returning to the office at a rapid pace. According to a survey by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 7.7% of workers were working remotely in April 2022, a marked difference from the 35% working remotely in May 2020.
Along with people returning to the office, there has been an increase in abandonment of pets by owners to animal shelters. But when it seems the two go hand in hand, Seattle Humane is setting the record straight. This is pure coincidence, and there are other factors at play that cause shelters to be overwhelmed.
“In 2022, we are seeing an increase in the number of pet owners seeking to rehome their pets, and shelters across the country are seeing this same trend. However, we don’t believe this increase is due to people returning to the office,” says Brandon Macz, public relations and social media specialist at Seattle Humane. “In fact, downtown Seattle office occupancy is currently below 40%. Rather, from our perspective, this trend is driven by increasing levels of financial and housing insecurity.
According to Macz, the real reason behind pet abandonments is the current economic instability in the United States. Families have realized that taking care of themselves, let alone their pets, is hard enough. Due to these financial difficulties, thousands of people have made the very difficult decision to give up their pets – they are no longer able to care for them and they want them to be with a family who can provide for them. this support.
“Nationally, the number of monthly homeowner buyouts increased from 34,579 in January to 43,249 in May. So far this year, more than 4,300 pets have been abandoned by their owners in Washington,” Macz said. “[At Seattle Humane]the number of pets we accepted due to housing insecurity in 2022 nearly reached the total number of admissions due to housing issues for all of 2021. At this rate, we can predict that the number of pets abandoned this year due to housing issues will far exceed our total in 2021.”
Although Macz says people returning to the office are not contributing to the high number of animals turned over to shelters, he Is think this could be a factor that prevents people from adopting a pet. People have less time for a pet that needs more care or attention related to behavior or medical conditions. This results in a bottleneck in the sheltering system.
So what can you do to help? First, if you have the time and the means to adopt, it’s one of the best ways to help. But if that’s not an option at this point in your life, there are still other ways to make an impact.
Donations to animal shelters, even small ones, go a long way in providing these abandoned animals with the best possible care. Macz says you can also drop off pet food, kitty litter and other supplies, or donate animals through a shelter’s Amazon wishlist. “Pet food and supplies are still in high demand, more than ever,” he says.
If you want to adopt but are facing the same situation as many – going back to the office – Macz has a solution for that too.
“We recently partnered with our friends at Trupanion to encourage and provide resources to help more businesses create dog-friendly workplaces,” he says. “You can learn more about the ‘Working K9 to 5’ program here and forward it to your HR department.”
Every pet deserves to be snuggled up on the couch with their favorite human. And with your help, more cats and dogs can find their forever homes.
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