The coronavirus lockdown has led to a surge in pet adoptions.
Adelaide’s RSPCA shelter has already beaten previous adoption records, despite it still being only May, and is confident a new online booking and screening system will prevent a flood of abandoned pets once the pandemic is over.
Kyle Marie Gorst was among those who decided to add to her family during the coronavirus pandemic.
She adopted Trixie, one of a litter of puppies rescued by RSPCA inspectors.
“The kids had fallen in love, completely in love,” she said.
“My husband was obsessed, so I didn’t really get a choice.”
Trixie is one of 4,600 animals adopted from the South Australian shelter so far this year — a new record.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the RSPCA called out for help.
“It’s been fantastic that the community have responded, we really did need them to respond,” RSPCA head of animal operations Tim Charles said.
“We were sitting on 800 animals.”
Change to visits and adoptions
Social distancing reduced volunteer numbers, and the adoption process had to change.
A new online booking system has reduced visitor numbers but increased the rate of adoption.
New owners are spending more time with their pets than they would have before, helping them settle in.
“We’re finding that it’s a good introduction for the animals,” Mr Charles said.
“The people fall in love with the animal — it works really well.”
People need to make a booking to go and see the animals, reducing the number of people just going for a look.
The RSPCA said a strict screening process for new owners should stop a flood of returns when the pandemic was over.
It did, however, warn that the new pets would need some time to adjust when owners went back to work.
“I think it’ll take time,” Ms Gorst said.
“One of the things that we’re trying very hard to do is set routine so that the dogs are aware of when it’s their time to walk, when it’s their time to do anything.”
About 380 pets are currently being cared for at the RSPCA’s shelters in Lonsdale, Whyalla and Port Lincoln.