There is a shortage of dogs in New York. Of all the shortages created by the coronavirus pandemic, like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and bottled water—the oddest of them all has to be canines. New York City's animal shelters are experiencing an uptick in adoption and pet foster applications as millions of bored New Yorkers are stuck at home amid a government-ordered lockdown.
Animal rescue groups Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society told Bloomberg News that shelters they work with are almost out of cats and dogs after a surge in interest in the past two weeks.
Demand for dogs right now is "totally unprecedented," said Sarah Brasky, the founder and executive director of Foster Dogs Inc., a New York-based nonprofit that connects animal rescue organizations with adopters and fosters.
Foster Dogs has seen a more than 1,000% increase in foster applications this month in the New York area — the epicenter of the US outbreak — compared with the same month in 2019, Brasky said.
Muddy Paws Rescue, a New York nonprofit, normally sees about 100 foster applications a month, but in just the past two weeks it's received close to 1,000, said Anna Lai, the organization's marketing director
"Everybody who has ever wanted to foster or adopt is suddenly much more available," Brasky said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last week urging residents to work from home unless they are considered essential workers. The statewide mandate is an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
However, some rescue groups are worried the uptick in pet adoptions could lead to an increase in surrendered pets if people lose their jobs amid the crisis.
“We’re doing whatever we can to empty all of our shelter facilities,” Lisa LaFontaine, chief executive officer of the Humane Rescue Alliance, told the news outlet. “We don’t know what’s going to happen when the economic wave starts hitting.”
The interest in four-legged friends extends beyond New York. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said its Los Angeles office saw a 70 percent increase in animals going into foster care, according to Bloomberg.