Metro Detroit animal shelters see pandemic adoption boom

PUPPY CAM: Watch puppies from the MHS telethon
Posted at 4:34 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 06:56:11-05

(WXYZ) — A silver lining of the pandemic, area animal rescues and shelters say they're having to catch up with demand as waves of people want to bring home a new dog or cat.

Michigan Humane reports to Action News its weekly adoption rate is up by around 16 percent compared to pre-pandemic.

“We’re struggling to meet the need. I think there is an incredible demand," said Michigan Human's executive director, Matt Pepper. It's a good problem to have, and one that Pepper thinks will likely continue.

Another organization, Detroit Dog Rescue, says they're seeing two trends: A boom in foster families, and then some people returning.

“The first two days of the shut down we had 350 applications for people to foster dogs," Detroit Dog Rescue Executive Director Kristina Rinaldi said.

DDR is the city's first no-kill shelter and relies on fosters to help place dogs from the streets of Detroit into forever homes. They take in dogs many places won't to give them a second chance.

But once school started back, things changed.

“Families really had to focus on virtual learning or home school and it took and it took a lot of families by surprise," Rinaldi said. “A lot of dogs in August started coming back to us from foster homes.”

Pepper said the Michigan Humane Society is also inundated with people wanting a new pet, and they're averaging about 160-175 adoptions a week.

“They’re finding themselves at home with their families and perhaps they’ve thought about it and now is the opportunity to add a new family member," Pepper said. "And the other one is really more psychological, it’s the emotional benefits that pets provide us.”

With COVID-19 cases surging, and the stress of the election still lingering, people might be needing that support more than ever.

The best way to go about adopting with Michigan Humane is to make an appointment at The process may take longer than usual due to safety measures and the spike in demand.

Rinaldi said adoption interest often spikes during the holidays, and while DDR's overall return rate is still love, she wants people to remember that kittens and puppies do grow up.

“Really assess everything before you decide to get a pet because you want to make sure if it’s good for you now, then it’s good 10 years from now too," she said.

DDR is expanding, and they were gifted a larger building in Detroit. Through Dec. 1, donations to help with their expansion will be matched up to $100,000.

You can learn more about their process and donate at

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