The past year has seen a huge increase in the number of people returning foster pets to shelters in Victoria, some after just a few hours with their new animal.
The number of people returning foster pets to the Home for Lost Dogs in Victoria has increased 67% in the last year.
Koi, a seven-year-old male Lab, was returned to the Melbourne shelter a day after being adopted by a new family. He had been given up for adoption at the Cranbourne shelter this year after his owner’s death.
“He spent a lot of time vocalizing, barking, whining, and feeling a bit restless, so the people who had adopted him couldn’t bear it and returned him 24 hours after they brought him home,” said Shelter Supervisor Allie Small.
Koi is one of many pets returned to the Lost Dog Home shelters in North Melbourne and Cranbourne.
The number of foster pets returned by their new owners increased by a third in a month, after a 30% increase between June and July. While 481 pets were adopted in July, 30 pets were returned, some within hours, days or weeks of being adopted.
The number of people asking online about how to deliver their pets also grew, by 46%.
Small said he was seeing many animals return within 24 to 72 hours because people didn’t know how to deal with their new pet’s behavior.
“Instead of reaching out to us and trying to get help, and getting some advice from our behavioral team or our veterinary team, they are just giving up,” he said.
The data showed that the number of people asking about accessing pet behavior training has been cut in half.
Small said that many people were adopting animals after seeing friends or family with new pets, not realizing they weren’t up to the challenge.
“They are not taking into consideration the amount of time and effort it takes to integrate a new animal into your home,” he said. “Adopting a pet can be exciting, it can be fun, but it is not a game. It is not an opportunity to take pictures on social media.
“It is a lifelong commitment and we hope that people will honor it. If you have problems with your pet, there is help. Just get in touch. “
It could take between three weeks and three months to install a rescue pet in a new home, Small said. “That’s three weeks to three months of really hard work to make sure your animal understands its new routine. You fit the animal into your lifestyle, but you continue to satisfy the animal’s needs; it requires a big enough change for everyone. “
As for Koi, Small said they would place him in foster care “to give him the time he needs to learn to be in a home.”
He encouraged people thinking of adopting pets to consider fostering an animal first.