Animal Adoption and Fostering Rates Rise as Social Distancing Continues

Caeli Willard, Zinnia Wery, & Jenna Harper
Many animals are finding new homes despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

Madeline Williams, Staff Writer

   Due to the outbreak of coronavirus and the enforcement of social distancing guidelines, many people are left with lots of free time and are adopting and fostering pets to fill that time. 

    Since the outbreak, animal adoption rates have gone up tremendously. According to The Riverside County Animal Shelter, they are all out of adoptable animals. “As you can see, we have a completely empty adoption center,” explains Animal Services Director Julie Bank in a video posted to the California shelter’s Instagram account (  

   Not only are adoption rates increasing in California, but all over the country. Chicago Animal Care and Control’s Adoptable Pets program had similar news. According to 10 News, “CACC has no dogs currently available for adoption” ( Animal shelters from New York to Wisconsin, North Carolina to Colorado, and even New Mexico are reporting massive upswings in the numbers of animals that have adopted or fostered (  

   In an LA Times article, Ms. Kristi Labrenz Galvan, who runs the CatCafe Lounge, explains that many have come to the conclusion that now is the perfect time to bring a pet into their homes. Ms. Namiko Ishii-Danganan, who just adopted a new pet says, “People that might have been considering adopting or fostering, well the stay at home practice has  given them the urge to actually do it” (  

    UC High Junior Elaina Martin who is currently volunteering with a pet program known as PAWS said, “… basically people really want to adopt or foster animals because many are at home and have the ability to take care of pets now. Also, all of the pets being adopted allows most of the staff at the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) to be safer and to practice social distancing.” 

   According to the president and CEO of the Humane Society Kitty Block, “Folks don’t have animals for one reason or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, but due to the circumstances right now it’s all changed” (

    Even though the adoption rates are increasing, this also causes some concerns. The Helen Woodward Animal Center explains, “Welcoming a pet is not a two-week affair. Once schedules return to normal, that new family member will require the same care and attention” ( Shelter workers worry that once life starts going back to normal, that people will soon find out that they don’t have enough time to take care of their pets anymore.

    Another main concern that appears during this time, is that during the process of  adopting or fostering animals, social distancing guidelines may be violated. However, the workers at these shelters have tried to adhere to the guidelines to the best of their abilities. Most shelters adjust their operating procedures to have fewer workers and to only allow appointment-only adoptions. According to the Helen Woodward Center, their therapeutic riding program, and many other of these programs are on hold, but adoptions are still available by appointment (