Valley Animal Center seeing rise in pets being returned to shelter

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At Valley Animal Center in east central Fresno, Ruben Cantu says his phone has been ringing off the hook from people who say they can no longer keep their pets.

He's received 12 requests just in the last few days.

"We have seen an absolute uproar in owner surrender requests. That has been one thing that has been very very hard to keep up with," he says.

So far this year, 433 pets have been surrendered at Valley Animal Center - about 100 more than they usually see by this time of the year. 60 animals that were adopted at the center have been returned.

The reasons?

"We see a little bit of everything. Financial hardships is a big one. Moving is a big one. Behavioral issues in the animal is a big one," he says.

Cantu says people should take their time during the adoption process and ask a lot of questions about what taking care of a pet and their specific breeds will actually entail.

"You are never going to ask me too many questions. I will talk to you for for hours about a dog to make sure that you understand what you are getting yourself into and also that you are prepared," he says.

If and when hardships do arise, help with food and pet supplies is available through Valley Animal Center.

And assistance in adjusting to pet parenthood is available at Fresno State through the Payne Animal Welfare Lab or the P.A.W. Lab.

Along with more pets to take care of, Valley Animal Center has an even bigger need for help to take care of the animals and the equipment to do it.

"Volunteering is a great way. Donating any used resources - we take used blankets, used towels, used dog materials... kennels, bowls of food, we use it all. Any resource is a positive resource."

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to Valley Animal Center, you can find more info on how to do that by clicking here.

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