There are other, less quantitative warnings: Some pet store owners in the city say that customers at the height of the pandemic bought critters like bearded dragon lizards and hamsters as companions. playing for the captive children brought them back.
New York guinea pig farmers say they are overeating. In Central Park, the number of red-eared slider turtles in the water has nearly tripled this year so far – although the park department warns that the number could mean more turtles in distress not more animals. Rabbits and guinea pigs have also been found. It is illegal to release animals in city parks.
A variety of factors appear to be driving the increase. Christa Chadwick, vice president of shelter services at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says part of the increase may be because many shelters have not accepted animals in the area. the course of the pandemic. And, she notes, shelters are crowded with small animals in part because adoption has generally slowed.
“It is important for the public to return to shelters,” she said. “Whether it’s for cats or dogs, chickens or hamsters.”
Rising rents, inflation and housing insecurity are also forcing people to come up with ideas, said Hilary Hager, vice president of outreach, engagement and training for the Humane Society of the United States of America. Difficult decisions about raising beloved pets. “I would never want to suggest to anyone that people don’t care,” Ms. Hager said. “There are just so many other factors that are at play.”
Jade Perez’s family bought a dog and two kittens to ward off the loneliness of being locked up, she said. But when soaring rents forced her family to downsize to move into a smaller apartment on Staten Island, she put Honey, the guinea pig she bought just before the pandemic, for adoption on Craigslist.
“We have a lot of animals, and we can’t take care of the guinea pig now,” said Jade, 17, citing inflation affecting prices of food and supplies. “He’s not living the best life he can.”