Burlington County animal shelters filling to capacity now that more people are returning to work

As many people head back to work and school in person, animal shelters are seeing an influx of pet surrenders. The people who run a shelter in Burlington County say that they are hoping to get hundreds of dogs and cats adopted.
“We have about 100 dogs that are here and up for adoption or foster,” says Burlington County Animal Shelter director Ericka Haines.
The shelter also has about 300 cats. Haines says that the shelters are reaching capacity.
“Now that [pet owners] are back to work and they won’t have the time to spend with the animals, unfortunately, they realized that that’s not the right fit for them,” she says.
The shelter is waiving adoption fees for cats and dogs until the end of the month to help get the animals into the right homes. They are also encouraging those who can’t adopt an animal to consider fostering one instead.
"It gives you that wiggle room and that confidence to know that you still have the backing, if it's not the right fit, to come back to the shelter,” says Haines. “We always help everybody as much as we can with guidance and advice and counseling. We are always available when any of our dogs go out into foster."
Burlington County Commissioner Dan O’Connell is currently fostering an animal.
“Knowing that the shelter was filling up, I thought if I just foster it, it gets one more animal out of the shelter,” he says.
A majority of the dogs up for adoption are pit bull mixes. The shelter is hoping to destigmatize the breed.
“Most of our dogs are more scared of you than you are of them. And so we just work our hardest to try and find the right home so they don’t get returned,” Haines says.
The shelter requires appointments during the week for potential adopters, but is now adding walk-in hours on the weekends from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.