Illinois pet shelters stay busy during pandemic

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(The Center Square) — The COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on just about every part of society, and animal shelters in Illinois are no exception.

Since March when people went into lockdown and stayed at home, pet adoptions have skyrocketed and haven’t slowed down.

Jane Kahman, manager of the Humane Society of Central Illinois in Normal, said people are stuck at home and want a furry companion.

“I think a lot of it is, people are just looking for somebody to love, especially the people that are home and live by themselves,” Kahman said.

Kahman said her shelter continues to be busier than last year, with dogs, cats and even other animals being adopted.

A not-for-profit animal welfare organization, HSCI does not receive federal, state or local tax dollars, and relies on donations and fundraising activities.

Karen Grube, director of the Effingham County Humane Society, said they too have been busy all year, but they always have cats available.

“There is just an overabundance of kittens out in the world, so when people can get a free kitten, they are going to jump at that rather than paying $90 for one that has had all of its vetting already done,” Grube said.

Requests to adopt animals are also up at PAWS Chicago. A spokesperson said adoptions increased by four times once the pandemic hit.

The dog adoption craze actually created a national shortage at some shelters around the country. At the same time, some animal rescue groups and adoption agencies say they have been hit with a drop in donations and face other financial issues brought on by the pandemic.

There is also concern that shelters will see an increase in people who can’t afford to care for pets in the wake of high unemployment brought on by the pandemic.

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