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Want to see a vet? Pet owners in Treasure Valley could be waiting a while

While media outlets across the country reported a surge in pandemic pet adoptions, that hasn’t been borne out by statistics. Adoptions decreased from an estimated 2.8 million adoptions in 2019 at 4,000 shelters in the U.S. to 2.3 million in 2020, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. It was the fewest adoptions in the past five years, but veterinarians haven’t seen their caseload decrease.

The number of dogs taken in by shelters nationally dropped by 32%, while cat intakes decreased by 23%. The number adopted was nearly evenly split between dogs and cats.

“Fewer people were relinquishing their pets, and animal control was less active in picking up strays,” the AVMA said in an analysis issued late last month. “Finally, spay-neuter programs have been effective in keeping populations down.”

From March 2019 to February 2020, 3,378 cats and 2,853 dogs were adopted from the Idaho Humane Society in Boise. From March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, to February 2021, cat adoptions rose to 3,387, while dog adoptions decreased to 2,367.

“We are pretty close for adoptions remaining steady, even with COVID,” Humane Society spokesperson Kristine Schellhaas said by email. “We greatly slowed intake in March 2020 because we were unsure of how COVID would affect our shelter.”

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