Pets are being abandoned at higher rates because their owners can’t find a place to live

Jan 19, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2024, 9:12 am

FILE: Known as the "Toy Story Litter," these puppies were housed at Second Chance for Homeless Pets...

FILE: Known as the "Toy Story Litter," these puppies were housed at Second Chance for Homeless Pets. (Kennedy Camarena/ The Signpost, used with permission)

(Kennedy Camarena/ The Signpost, used with permission)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Abandoned animals and pets have always been a problem for animal shelters and lately, the problem is tied to a human housing issue.

In 2023, the Humane Society of Utah reported a 78% increase in abandoned pets in Utah. The source, the agency said, is the human housing problem.

Pets abandoned because of owners’ homelessness

“We think the economy and the cost of living increases across the board are just affecting people and the ones that are suffering about that now are the animals,” Guinnevere Shuster, the Humane Society of Utah’s director of marketing and communications, told Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio.

Shuster said that the shelter is struggling with increased adoption rates as well. 

In HSU’s case, the pets being abandoned are being left on the shelter’s property. 

“We want to remind Utah residents that abandoning animals is illegal,” Shuster said in the news release.

“However, we recognize the tough times people are facing and aim to provide alternatives for people considering abandoning their pets.”

Where to turn when facing a housing issue with a pet

Those facing temporary housing issues can find help. Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering in Salt Lake City offers a temporary short-term home through pet fostering for 60-90 days.

HSU said they can try to help pet owners threatened with eviction because of their pets. They can ask landlords for a scheduled surrender date.

This way, HSU said, pets may be able to remain with their owners until they reach the day of their scheduled surrender date.

Those who need help with pet food can get help at Salt Lake County Animal Services Pet Crew Pet Pantry, Ruff Haven Pet Pantry, and Street Dawg Crew of Utah.

For those who cannot keep their pet and are looking for a new home, HSU suggests looking into various rehoming options. 

These options include Facebook groups like Utah Animal Rescue and Rehoming, and Utah Pets for Rehoming or Rescue.

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Pets are being abandoned at higher rates because their owners can’t find a place to live