Johnson County animal shelters struggle to cope with surge in ‘pandemic pet’ returns

“In my three years rescuing, I have never experienced anything even close to this. I’m not sure the general public realizes how much the shelters and rescues in this city are struggling," said Kaitlin Thompson with Melissa's Second Chances in Shawnee. Above, Hank, an 8-month-old rescue at the shelter, was adopted as a puppy during the pandemic and has now been returned.

Local animal rescue groups say they are facing an influx of “pandemic pet” returns along with a sudden drop in adoptions as the world begins to return to normal.

The Shawnee Mission Post talked to Melissa’s Second Chances in Shawnee, Pawsitive Tails Dog Rescue in Olathe, and The Rescue Project, a foster-based program covering the Kansas City metro area.