The Truth About Abandoned Pets

By Theresa Papaurelis

You have probably heard about animal shelters being in a nationwide overpopulation crisis right now. But what does that mean, exactly? It can be difficult to understand why so many animals wind up as strays, and it's so easy to just blame owners for neglect. But the truth is much more complicated than that.

The three cats pictured below were all abandoned in the same week. One was even left outside our shelter in a small crate in the middle of July. We don't know why their owners chose to leave them like this. Homelessness and financial problems are just some of the reasons we legally receive surrenders, so we can only imagine the desperation these pet owners must have gone through to think abandonment was the best thing they could do for their animals.

Spay and neuter surgeries were at an all-time low during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a surge of puppies and kittens. These now-adult dogs and cats languish in shelters, waiting to be adopted, meaning that "closed admission" shelters like Hinsdale Humane Society cannot take many owner surrenders because the kennels are always full. Even worse, "open admission" shelters are forced to euthanize their animals to make room for these surrenders, leading to desperate pleas to partner shelters to take them and save their lives. We all enter the animal care field to help animals, and it's devastating to turn these requests down. And because of this nationwide situation, some pet owners make the heartbreaking decision to abandon their pets. We can only be grateful that they leave them outside our shelter where they know we will provide love and care to their cherished pets, but it doesn't have to be this way.

Your pets are your family and we want them to stay with you. Please contact us if you feel you can no longer keep your pet. We can give you access to low-cost veterinary care, food pantry services, and other community resources.

The overpopulation crisis cannot be solved by adoptions alone. We all must come together and support those in need. The donations we receive typically go toward the care of our animals, but donors can also choose to donate to our food pantry or help fund our outreach programs. If you have the means, please consider donating by visiting the How to Help tab above. Your generous gift will help not only animals in need but people, too.

Comments (5)

Mady Miller
Sun, Oct 8, 2023, 4:44 PM
Love these stories. If I could adopt every senior cat at HHS, I would. These little babies just want a home too and to be loved.☹️
Diane Kime
Fri, Oct 6, 2023, 3:54 PM
I rescued a 7 year old cat named Pepe from Hinsdale Humane in 2005. He lived to be just a few months shy of 19 years old and remains one of my greatest loves. His ashes have a honored spot on my fireplace and will be combined with my ashes when I go. I strongly believe shelter animals know you have rescued them and show you great love because of it.
Tue, Aug 1, 2023, 11:43 AM
I adopted a wonderful sweet senior boy from HHS. He was about 12 when I adopted him. He was with us for 4 1/2 more years...he was the sweetest kitty. So laid's like he was so grateful to be loved...I still cry when I think about the day he passed. HHS is wonderful to work with and I would recommend adopting ANY age kitty or pup from them. They are the absolute best and truly care about all the animals. I will be forever grateful that they allowed me to take my "old man"... :)
Pat DeMars
Mon, Jul 31, 2023, 7:15 PM
People should not be concerned about adopting an older cat. We adopted one from Hinsdale Humane Society who was nine years old. He was the best cat we’ve ever had. I told him he had to give us 9 more years and he lived one month shy of 10 years with us.
Joi N Kamper
Mon, Jul 31, 2023, 6:12 PM
I've long thought that only the requirement that all animals be spayed and neutered except those by regulated and licensed breeders would solve this crisis. This would mean that a free spay/neuter option would likely need to be funded and that regulation and licensing of breeders be much stricter. I 'm not sure how to get public will behind this, although I think at least one other country, Belgium, has done this.

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