In the animal rescue world, this holiday season is called "dumping season," when animals are bought as Christmas gifts and owners realize that they can’t take care of them, or animals are given up because of financial troubles.
At the Chelsea Bailey Animal Shelter in Butte, Animal Services Coordinator Lynette Hogart said that the pandemic has caused a change of pace for adoption at the shelter.
"We thought it would be difficult to get animals out, but it actually has been really nice because we’re able to take more time with people and really get them the right pet." Hogart said.
But Hogart also said that many people in the community need help to feed their pets.
"Because of COVID I think that we’ve had a lot of people needing extra assistance, and we do have assistance for food and if people need it they can call our shelter and we will help them with food for their animals so they can keep their animals in their homes." Hogart said.
At Pintler Pets in Anaconda, many dogs, cats, and puppies are looking for good homes to go to this winter. But Pat Phillip, the president of Pintler Pets, said her shelter won’t let potential adopters give their animals as a Christmas gift.
"We don’t adopt out for Christmas presents or stuff like that — dogs or cats — because after Christmas it’s like, 'Oh we don’t want this dog or cat or whatever or puppy,' so then they get brought to a shelter or brought back to the shelter," said Phillip.
Phillip said that she and her team are very careful about adoptions because they want to see the animal succeed instead of being brought back to the shelter.
"So we’re really, really picky who gets our animals and some people don’t like that but I don’t care. We’re being the advocates for the animals and they can’t speak for themselves." Phillip said.