Lewis County Humane Society voices concerns following high adoption rates during COVID-19


LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWTI) — As more people stayed home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they found furry companions to keep them company. 

The Lewis County Humane Society, like many shelters, saw an increase in adoptions, especially last spring. 

However according to Shelter Manager Amber Zehr, there are now concerns that as residents continue to return to work, and busier lives, animals adopted during the pandemic will be returned to local shelters.

She noted that full-time work schedules are one of the most common reasons animals are surrendered to the shelter.

“Animals are surrendered to the shelter because they’re working full time and they just don’t have the time to give the animals the care that they need,” stated Zehr. “So they feel guilty and bad, and then they ended up surrendering them.”

The Shelter is expecting adoption rates to rise again as the pandemic continues and the North Country is heading towards warmer weather. 

But despite trends brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lewis County shelter is currently feeling the impacts of what Zehr called “Kitten Season.” The shelter recently took in five pregnant cats, one specific litter of seven kittens lead to one newborn having eye removal surgery, and another intensive intestinal surgery. 

Photos of the kittens are included below:

Zehr introduced ABC50 to her kitten that she just rescued who was born with a physical deformity, requiring the newborn to walk on its knees. 

She attributed some of these instances to owners neglecting to spay and neuter their animals and cautioned local cat owners to really consider the responsibilities when taking on these animals, especially those with special needs. 

The Lewis County Humane Society is continuing to ask for donations of cleaning supplies, blankets and pet supplies. Applications for its animals on a rolling basis and full list of available pets can be found on their social media and website. 

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