Although there has been an increase in demand for the adoption of pets during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been an uptick in the number of animals being surrendered to shelters, according to several Hawaii nonprofits and shelters.
The Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Wahiawa said it has experienced a decrease in monetary donations but an increase in the number of animals in need, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
When the pandemic hit, Oahu SPCA President Stephanie Ryan said donations dropped to about one-third of the usual levels.
“What we’re finding right now is people are having to move to the mainland (and leaving their pets behind),” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s due to extended family needing help or their inability to pay for their homes and apartments, but this is a huge trend right now, people moving to the mainland. As you’re aware, Hawaii is very expensive.”