SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — With the start of the new year, dozens of surrender requests have come into Renegade Paws Rescue.  

Volunteers say people giving pets as gifts during the holiday season is a big factor in the high turnover rate and shelters in our area are feeling the strain. 

“As a rescue ourselves, we’ve seen an increase in requests to surrender a pet. Just in the past 24 hours probably less than 24 hours, we’ve seen over 14 requests from individuals,” Rachel Weymouth said. “That’s not from county shelters or from other rescues, that’s from individuals reaching out with a pet that they want to rehome.” 

The recent uptick in surrendered animals is adding stress to a shelter system in our area that is already overwhelmed. 

“We have over 300 animals in care right now, that is a lot of mouths to feed that is a lot of pets and medical bills. But the reality is, in our area, in our surrounding area, we are always at capacity, our shelters are always at capacity,” Weymouth said. “It’s just an unfortunate truth. So, when we see an increase in surrender requests, we know that we will see our shelters being overfilled again.” 

But volunteers say that if you have received a pet as a gift this holiday season allows some time for adjustment before seeking other options. 

“Anytime you get a pet, whether it was a surprise or a pet that you spent a long time thinking about, that anytime you bring a new animal into your home there’s an adjustment period,” Weymouth said. “No matter how an animal is coming into your home just remember to allow for that adjustment period because just like us they’re living breathing creatures and we all just need our time to adjust.” 

Volunteers say if you want to give the gift of a pet another option is to buy supplies like crates and leashes and let them find the pet that best suits their lifestyle.