Record spike in pet adoptions, fostering amid pandemic

Advocates ask people to think about finances, responsibility before adopting

San Antonio's Animal Care Services has seen its biggest spike ever in pet adoptions and fosters during the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio's Animal Care Services has seen its biggest spike ever in pet adoptions and fosters during the coronavirus pandemic.

The steady increase began when people were isolated at home during the countywide pandemic restrictions, then spiked drastically when the order lifted.

“This is typically our busy season. We usually are packed full and, unfortunately, our high end of euthanasia, but right now, we have a little bit less intake and we have adopters coming, so it’s just a really great mix,” said ACS Assistant Live Release Manager Krystine Ellan.

Ellan said the coronavirus crisis has fueled a surge in calls about both adoptions and fostering.

“We’ve certainly seen an enormous presence on-site. We have bookings that are out for weeks sometimes,” she said.

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It is now mandatory to make an appointment to visit pets on-site to comply with COVID-19 precautions.

“We do ask everybody to submit their party size if possible because we maintain our amount of people in each kennel. Nobody can come on-site unless they’re wearing a mask,” Ellan said. “We are truly fortunate we have such a large facility, so we have the acreage to spread people out, especially outside.”

While the number of adoptions is exciting, Ellan wants to remind people that owning a pet is a big responsibility.

“We want owners to understand that pets are for life, not necessarily just crisis companions. That could mean 8, 10, 15, 20 years. A lot of people don’t think of that,” she said,

Ellan said some pet owners are struggling financially during this crisis and have had to surrender their pets. Others in a similar situation are reaching out for help to avoid having to give their pets up.

The San Antonio Food Bank’s Daisy Cares pet food donation program has been swamped and is in great need of donations.

If you’d like to donate to Daisy Cares or want to request free pet food from the program, call 210-431-8326 or visit the program’s website.

Anyone who wants to make an appointment with ACS to adopt or foster can call at 210-207-4738 or head to the ACS website.

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.