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Last Hope Animal Rescue seeing drop in dog adoptions during pandemic

Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - October may be “Adopt A Dog month”, but struggles with getting dogs into their forever home is something animal shelters and rescue agencies deal with year long. Last Hope Animal Rescue says the COVID 19 pandemic has made things even more of a challenge.

Last Hope works with owner surrenders or dogs that come from overcrowded shelters locally and through some of their rescue partners.

“We’ve got everything from loveable labs to hound dogs to pit mix’s, and we get small dogs too that are in need of foster homes," said Development Director, Amanda Rushton.

Rushton says now months into the COVID 19 pandemic, it has really affected people wanting to adopt or foster.

“I think what we initially saw was an influx of foster applications. People saying well we’re home now. We think we’re prepared to work with a puppy. The problem is we didn’t have a lot of puppies that needed foster at the time. We really seemed to get a lot adult dogs," Rushton said. “We’ve kind of seen our foster numbers dip a little from our traditional foster homes. They are maybe taking a break just kind of figuring out how things are working for them with children and schooling and working from home.”

So far this year, they’ve done about 300 cat adoptions, but people wanting dogs dropped significantly, and after August 10th, the pandemic is not the only thing to blame.

“I think the storm played into that too. We see people that are interested, saying our backyard isn’t as secure as it had been before the storm, we need a little bit of time,” she added.”

Both events led to them having to limit volunteers in the shelter and their ability to host major fundraising events - putting a strain on their operations.

“Events has been a huge hit for us in terms of lost revenue here. We’re generating at least $25,000 a year through some of larger events," Rushton said. “We continue to have the requests for help with animals dogs and cats were continuing to receive owner surrenders, so that’s the hard part is, we’re continuing to help animals and have large vet bills but we’re not able to host those fundraisers to offset the expense.”

Currently, they are taking care of 40 dogs in the rescue as a whole - some with foster families. About 20 are living at the adoption center.

Rushton says she knows the pandemic is far from over and that people may not be able to financially adopt right now, but she’s hoping the community can help in other ways whether with time or donations.

“Financial donations are incredibly important, but we also run off of asking for donations like food, blankets, and old towels. There’s a lot to keep a building running," she said.

However, Rushton says the hope is that this building will only be a temporary stop on their way to finding their forever homes.

If people want to donate or volunteer, they can reach out to Last Hope Animal Rescue through their website.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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