Why Do They Walk Away?

Lately we have been hearing of more instances of owners abandoning their dogs. They walk away, leaving their property and their Pyrs, in some cases Moms and puppies, to fend for themselves. As shocking as it is we received this message last week from someone who lived several states away from the abandoned dogs. A woman told her coworker that her Dad moved away.

“Hi there! This is going to be a wild message but I have a coworker that was telling me today that her dad moved and left the three dogs behind at his house. Said they have not been cared for in about 2 weeks and that she contacted animal control and they did nothing. I am 6 hours away but she said whoever goes to get them can have them. She said she cannot go get them herself bc she has no where to shelter them. There is one adult and two older puppies. They are all white. I have the address and wanted to get the message out to someone that dearly loves the breed. They have not been fed in two weeks. She said if you pull in the driveway you’ll see them by the fence barking for attention. Not sure how much time they have left. She said he lived out in the country so there aren’t any neighbors.”

Thankfully there were neighbors feeding the dogs but we learned two puppies died and two adults disappeared before anyone realized what had happened. The sheriff’s office was contacted but they weren’t concerned as someone was feeding the dogs. The message finally did get out about these dogs on social media and they were helped. Shelters and rescues and were contacted (including NGPR) but like everyone, we are overwhelmed with dogs in the states we cover and finding fosters and a place for dogs several states away, becomes increasingly difficult.

We are all struggling. In mid-September, USA Today wrote “Shelters have already had it rough in the past few years, with many now existing in an ongoing status of crisis. Shelters and rescues have seen more animals coming in than leaving, especially in the years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them at a critical level of resource strain.” They believe the animal welfare organizations should be bracing for another kind of impact when student-loan payments resume for millions of borrowers. “With people facing another monthly bill they potentially can’t afford, their pets are staring down the possibility of losing their homes.”

Now the time to consider fostering.

The impact could be stark. “The added stressor of more payments, which are estimated to be $503 a month on average according to the Education Data Initiative, has a good chance of triggering a ripple effect for the 86.9 million American homes that have pets”, according to statistics compiled by Forbes.

U.S.A. Today contacted  Shelter Animals Count, a nonprofit working with more than 7,000 rescue organizations nationwide and creators of  the National Database of sheltered animal statistics which NGPR participates in. They say shelters are in their third year of having too many animals and not enough adoptions. Dog adoptions especially have slowed down and are forecast to remain flat or even dip below 2022 numbers. This poses a big problem, as dogs account for most of the 4% increase in shelter intake thus far in 2023; as of June, dog intake was up 15% compared to 2021. NGPR Intake is up 15% as well, with more litters of puppies coming in than we have had before. Compounding this problem is that big dogs (who eat and cost more) are especially hard to adopt out. NGPR adoptions are down 7% for the year.

While we hope the situation improves in the future, we are concerned these factors, including the high price of mortgages and home ownership, will continue to negatively impact both shelters and rescues. NGPR adoptions peaked in 2020 during the height of the Covid crisis and it’s been a steady slide downhill since then. Now more than ever we need fosters and adopters so we can continue to rescue dogs. Please consider volunteering for one of these positions or adopting to help us through a crisis no one anticipated would be so bad or last so long.