SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — In the midst of the COVID pandemic, shelters across the country saw a demand in pet adoptions as more and more people operated from home.

Now, past the halfway point in 2022, Chatham County animal services are seeing a spike in pet surrenders.

“The biggest thing we can say in 2022 is that we’re seeing a significant amount of, significantly more amount of owner surrenders in the past,” said Animal Services Director, Dr. Jake Harper. “Especially over the last few months. We’ve had almost double the amount of owner surrenders.”

Chatham County animal services says they are the last resort for pet owners – animal services are asking pet owners to try other rescue or foster organizations first – but even then, there’s still too many paws to care for.

“Our adoption numbers over probably the last six months have been pretty much the same,” Harper said. “So, we’re kind of stagnant with that, which is a little concerning when we have so much greater intake than we’ve had in the past.”

Owner surrenders are up 74% this year for animal services. Its director believes inflation has a direct impact, being at a new high for the first time in 40 years. 

“With the economy the way it is I think they may not have the money to adopt a dog,” Harper said. “Last year, some of the rescue groups around town have had kind of record years. This year is just not the same. And yes I do think it has something to do with the economy for sure.”

Harper says rescue organizations can offer assistance for owners whose only option is to surrender their pets. He says to check with renegade paws, one love, and coastal pet rescue for assistance and pet surrenders before contacting Chatham county animal services.