Around New England

95 Percent Increase In Pets Going To Animal Shelters In Western Massachusetts

February 14, 2024

The number of pets whose owners gave them up to the Berkshire Humane Society’s animal shelter increased 95 percent between 2022 and 2023, largely because of the poor economy, the society’s head said.

The animal shelter had 1,453 animals in 2023.

“And that’s 95 percent increase in animals since 2022. And I believe from ’22 to ’21 it grew by about 120 animals, as well,” said John Perrault, executive director of the Berkshire Humane Society, in a video interview with Dalton Delan, a columnist for The Berkshire Eagle, published Wednesday, February 14.

The number of dogs going to shelters is way up, he said. Perrault identified financial troubles as the major reason.

“What we really saw – and it’s just recently, I would say over the last six to eight months – is that the economy coming out of Covid has really made an impact. People losing their apartments because of, you know, not paying their rent for so many months during Covid,” Perrault said. “So we’ve received a lot of animals due to evictions, lack of housing, the economy, people not being able to afford them anymore. And even if we were able to provide them with pet food or help them with some medical things, it was still more than what they can afford.”

Prompted with a question about it, Perrault also identified the shrinking number of veterinarians and the high cost of going to them as a factor.


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