Experts said that financial distress is one of the major reasons for the decreasing adoption rate.
Fewer people are adopting pets after the ease of lockdown due to financial burden and returning to working from offices. Animal shelters say, they are overburdened and are running out of space.
Keerthan, manager, Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE), Yelahanka, said that no dogs were adopted from the centre in past two-three months, “We have 60 puppies up for adoption and we can’t take any senior dogs as our trauma centre is full with 160 to 180 dogs,” he added.
Sudha, owner of Sudha Shelter Home, Ramnagara, said, before the second lockdown four to five kittens would get adopted every week but now it has dropped to one kitten each week. She added that they were providing shelter to 270 cats and 32 kittens. She said that they could not accommodate anymore cats.
Two in every four kittens adopted were returned by the owners, Sudha said. Due to less adoption, they have started providing shelter to puppies at their cat shelter for the past six months.
The animal shelters stated several reasons behind the decline.
Keerthan said that people are not adopting pets currently as they are returning to their offices; they don’t have time to take care of their pets. He added, “They are uncertain about their future so they don’t want to adopt a dog which needs a life-long commitment—the rate of adoption dropped by 80 percent, and the rate of returning pets rose to almost 95 percent this year.”
He said the adoption rate last year was so high that they had no puppies left for adoption. During the lockdown they even did a ‘virtual adoption’ drive by circulating photos and videos of puppies, and dropping them at doorsteps of the owners, he said.
Dr. Nawaz Shariff, Veterinarian, PFA Wildlife Hospital, Sunkalpaya said that one of the major reasons of decrease in pet adoption is the financial distress faced by the middle class and lower middle class due to the pandemic.
Deepshikha Agarwal, 28, a pet owner who adopted a dog nine months ago, said that she spends around Rs. 8,000 every month on her dog which is one-third of her salary. The expenses include packed food, medicines, veterinarian care, grooming, toys and vaccination, she said.
Shariff added that another reason is that the Indians prefer exotic pet breeds over Indian breeds, and the adoption centres have more Indian dogs than the exotic ones. He explained that Indian dogs are very easy to take care of as they don’t fall sick easily and they don’t need much veterinarian care, but people don’t understand that.
Dr. Rupsa Das, psychologist, JP Nagar said that after lockdown, many people adopted pets last year because they might not have wanted to feel lonely and wanted company as they were not comfortable staying home alone.
She further said that now that they are going back to their offices; they have started feeling that their pets are a burden. She said that people got influenced for adopting pets by seeing other pet owners but later realized how challenging it is to take care of a pet. “Taking care of a pet is just like taking care of a baby, it is not that easy,’’ she added.