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Pet adoptions soar as people seek quarantine companions

KING-TV Seattle logo KING-TV Seattle 4/9/2020 Christin Ayers
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Officials with the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County said pet adoptions spiked in March as people forced to stay home due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns sought comfort in animals. 

The Tacoma Humane Society adopted out 337 pets in March, 50 more than in February.

Victoria Gingrey, a spokesperson for the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County, said the demand was, to her knowledge, unprecedented.

“It’s nothing any of us have seen in our lifetimes,” she said.

The Seattle Humane Society, which is currently closed to the public, started taking adoption appointments online, but after receiving more than 1,000 applications, posted a statement online: “Due to an overwhelming amount of support from the community, Seattle Humane is closing application submissions for a while.”

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Julie Tran, of Tacoma, officially adopted her 1-year-old pit bull mix, Lady Stein, on March 8 after briefly fostering her. Tran said before the state stay-at-home order slowed her schedule down, she thought she didn’t have time for a dog.

“Working full-time and going to school full-time, it was just, ‘when will I have time for a puppy or a dog?’” she said.

Tran said adopting Lady Stein has changed her life.

“I love her. I can’t imagine life without her,” said Tran. “Especially when you can feel so alone right now and you don’t get the company that you need that we’re so used to.”

Gingrey said most of the adoptions have been of cats or kittens. She said the demand is likely being driven by people who are staying home and now have more time to get to know a new pet.

RELATED: King County Libraries offering free events, classes to help pass the time at home

“They are lonely or they’re thinking this is a great time to bond with a pet,” said Gingrey. “In normal circumstances, you might not have two weeks or more to really be at home and get to know your pet.”

While the number of adoptable animals on the shelter's website was hovering around 20, Gingrey said more pets were expected to be available as "kitten season" begins in early spring. 

Gingrey said the shelter is practicing social distancing at its facility, allowing only five visitors at a time and encouraging people to come and adopt in person only if they are very serious about adopting an animal that day.

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