Over the past six months, Eagle County Animal Services has seen a significant increase in the number of abandoned animals found in the county.
âThey have all been found in very strange areas, and this really concerns us, as we understand that people go through life changes and need an outlet like refuge to help find a new home for their animals. company, âsaid Rhiannon Rowe, shelter manager at Eagle County Animal Services. “We’re just blown away by what we see because it’s just not what we normally see.”
Recently, the shelter found a random assortment of abandoned animals and pets. This included three guinea pigs found at the Edwards recycling center, a rabbit in a ‘random location’ in Gypsum, a cat in a crate on Cottonwood Pass, and three stray dogs in a rural location.
Typically, the shelter expects to help with animal surrenders, however, abandoned animals tell a different story.
âMost of the stray animals are in areas where there are houses, and then most people go when they feel they can’t take care of them anymore,â Rowe said. “But we just find these animals in places that are not normal places to find a pet.”
The reason for this increase is also a bit of a mystery. Rowe said Eagle County Animal Services has made an effort to communicate that the shelter will accept animals in need of a home. Rowe said that while families typically come to the shelter for the family’s dogs and cats, he has a network of other rescues he can use to find these small animals – like hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits – a good home.
All of the recently abandoned animals, including pocket animals, have all found homes.
âFortunately, they were all great social animals, who I think were scared to death because they had no idea where they were. Mostly these poor guinea pigs, but they all found homes, âRowe said.
Coming out of the pandemic, where pet adoptions saw a significant increase, Rowe said the shelter expected a much larger increase in surrenders. However, she said the shelter’s surrenders are “not something that stands out.”
Rehoming, abandon a pet
No one wants to relocate a pet, but there are definitely times when it does.
The # 1 reason a pet is returned, Rowe said, is usually because the owner is moving to a house where pets are not allowed.
âFinding pet housing is not easy, especially in our valley,â she said.
Another common reason: a change in lifestyle, like divorce, a new baby, or some other situation “where they don’t feel well adjusted,” she said.
And for people or families considering getting rid of a pet, “the shelter should be a last resort to get to,” Rowe said. “It’s a higher stress environment for these animals.”
First off, Rowe recommends reaching out to your friends and family to see if they can take care of your pet. She also recommended a new service of AdoptAPet.com, which is an organization and website used by many shelters, relief groups, and humanitarian societies to help promote pets and find them homes. The new service has a special focus on placement and allows owners to create a profile for their pet that can be searchable with other similar pets.
Rowe added that the shelter is also happy to help with the relocation process if that’s something residents are considering.
âWe can just start them with the process before the animal actually has to go to the shelter,â she said, adding that for behavior issues the staff are well equipped to help people find local behaviorists. and ways to keep the animal at home. .
Relocating rather than surrendering should be the first action an individual or family takes, she said.
“It’s a much better situation because the owners know (to whom) the dog is goingâ¦” Rowe said. “But if that doesn’t work then we are available to talk to the dog [or pet] in.”
And even earlier, before anyone saves or buys a new pet, that person or family should seriously consider the feasibility.
âConsider the fact that a pet should be with you for the duration of its life,â Rowe said, adding that things to consider include whether you will be able to take care of the animal’s needs and whether you are in a secure housing situation. . âYour pet should be considered part of your family. “
For more information on Eagle County Animal Services, visit EagleCounty.us/AnimalServices
Journalist Ali Longwell can be reached at [email protected]