NHSO sees increase in owner surrenders at animal shelter

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The pandemic has impacted many people physically, emotionally, and financially — leaving some people with difficult decisions to give up things that they love.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Unit Shelter Manager Stephen Watson said their owner surrender hotline has seen a 10 to 15-percent increase in calls in the last month or so.

“We have seen an increase in owner surrenders through the pandemic because people’s financial status has become unstable, but just since September we have noticed even more of an increase in owner surrenders and evictions,” Watson said.

This aligns with the expiration of the eviction moratorium on September 1, leaving some people looking for a new home for themselves as well as their furry companions, in turn filling up shelters.

“While we do have a large facility and we can house many animals, we’re always concerned about being filled to capacity,” Watson said. The more animals that we have the more at risk for airborne disease and tactile disease.”

However, if you do find yourself in a difficult situation you can call the Animal Services Unit for guidance.

“Our representative Erica works with the folks in a very non-judgemental frame of mind,” Watson said. “It’s the same with our front office, we do not judge. People can’t help the situations we’re facing today.”

Watson said there are several community resources that will help pet owners who have fallen on hard times, whether they need help purchasing food or paying a one-time pet fee at a new apartment.

For more information on how to adopt an animal from the New Hanover County Animal Shelter, visit their website or go to 180 Division Drive, Monday through Friday from 11 am until 3:45 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm.

Tune into the Tuesday morning segment Pet Pals on Good Morning Carolina on WWAY TV 3 for a look at a featured pet at the shelter.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories

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