Animal shelters see uptick in dogs, cats being turned in after pandemic

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — As the country reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic, animal shelters here in Central Florida and across the country are seeing an uptick in dogs and cats being turned in.

The animal shelter in Sanford saw record adoptions during the pandemic.

For the first time in history, they had no animals to adopt out as more people were working for home.

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But now that people are going back to work, some are finding that a COVID-19 comfort pet is too much handle.

At Seminole County Animal Services, there are plenty of dogs and cats waiting for a “furever” home.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the shelter was practically empty.

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“Things have started to open back up, so dogs and cats are being turned in as strays,” said Diane Gagliano, program coordinator for Seminole County Animal Services.

During the pandemic, they had few dogs, or no dogs, to adopt. But after the pandemic, they have seen about 20 dogs a day at the shelter. Normally, it’s 10.

“I think with people going back to work and everything, they are assuming they are not going to have time,” Gagliano said. “The thing is they do have time.”

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She said the animals will adapt.

“People need to realize all that animal needs is proper food, shelter, love and attention, and if you are gone eight or nine hours a day, so be it. It is better than being in a shelter.”

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.