Florida animal shelter sees recent increase in pet abandonment

A Seminole County animal shelter said they are seeing too many abandoned animals come through their doors. The shelter told FOX 35 News that they believe this to be a negative side effect of the pandemic’s impact on the economy.  

In Sanford at the Pet Rescue by Judy, there are more than 120 dogs and cats waiting to find their forever home.

"We’re doing as much as we can and will take as many as we can," Judy Sarullo said. "I usually, I get hollered after my staff, ‘I go well you got room for one more. Push a crate. Make some more space.’ Because we try to not turn people away but even us there’s only so much we can take in."

MORE NEWS: The Weeknd vows to tone it down for his Super Bowl show

Sarullo said the pandemic first brought some relief to the non-profit shelter as adoptions increased, but now are seeing pets returned and abandoned. Some were emaciated, flea-infested, or worse.

"When it started, everybody was being left at home and then everybody then wanted to go save an animal," Sarullo said. "But now, due to finances, they don’t have the money now to keep bringing money in so they can’t afford them so they let them go and they’re giving them back. You know so it’s just a vicious cycle."

She said they have taken in more than 50 animals over the last month, which is pushing their budget and space to the limit. In addition, they need volunteers, foster families, and donations to meet the need.

Sarullo said folks can even foster for a weekend or take a dog for a walk before making the big decision. All of the pets are vaccinated, spayed and neutered and treated for all health issues.

MORE NEWS: Who will receive a third stimulus check? What we know so far

"If you can’t give a good home, you’re not going to take one of my animals," Sarullo said.

She added that anyone thinking about adoption should consider their finances and the time it takes to train a new pet.


Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.