LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Current animal shelter data shows that nearly sixty thousand more dogs and forty thousand more cats are available for adoption now compared to last year.

What You Need To Know

  • 100,000 more dogs and cats in U.S. shelters are awaiting adoption this year compared to last

  • 60,000 more dogs and 40,000 more cats are available for adoption

  • Shelters across Kentucky are feeling the squeeze

  • Many are dealing with an increase in pets as a result of the pandemic

2021 was a busy season for Wendy Bade and the Animal Care Society in Louisville.

“In 2021, we adopted almost 550 pets compared to previous years,” Bade said. “I think our high was in the 250 range, so there were a lot more adoptions and people were very interested in adopting."

Now as people return back to work, animal shelters across the nation are experiencing a strain from the pandemic. According to Best Friends Animal Society, nearly 100,000 more dogs and cats in US shelters are awaiting adoption.

“We do have a wait list. We're starting to see it throughout the pet rescue community where people are returning their pets now that COVID is kind of over and getting back to life is [more] normal,” Bade said.

Animal Care Society has nearly 100 pets on their wait list and can only house 25 dogs and 20 cats. For others like the Louisville Metro Animal Shelter, they have even waived redemption fees for owners who claim their stray pet to avoid reaching capacity.

“The effects of COVID, all the COVID pets now possibly not having homes, it's kind of sad. But we'll work with other shelters and take in pets from other shelters,” Bade said.

That’s not all – the pandemic has also caused a shortage of employees for the Animal Care Society. With other employers raising wages more and more, Bade said it's hard to keep up.

“It's hard for us to increase the pay as we look down the street and see every other person putting signs out increasing the wages to get people. I think it takes a special person to work in animal rescue,” Bade said.

Bade’s job doesn’t stop just because the shelter is full. She continues to search for the pets forever homes.

“I just have a passion for dogs specifically. The underdog that doesn't have a home. I just really love being able to help pets find a home and care for them while they don't have a home and that's what keeps me coming back,” Bade said.

The Animal Care Society is always taking donations including cleaning supplies, dog and cat toys and food.