MERIDEN — A shortage of volunteers and financial hardships, both prompted by the pandemic, have hampered operations of the no-kill Meriden Humane Society shelter.
“Work is piling up,” said Meriden Humane Society Volunteer Supervisor Sue Alexandre. “Money is down, manpower is down.”
The society, which was open two days a week during most of the pandemic, recently closed to the public because of the recent uptick in cases. All services will be conducted by appointment only.
Applications for adopting a pet have more than doubled since the pandemic began.
“However, on the flip side, people who have lost their jobs and are losing their homes and apartments are calling us and saying ‘I need to surrender my pet, I can’t afford to keep it anymore,’” Alexandre said.
Providing services has been complicated by fewer volunteers and fundraisers along with rising costs.
Most fundraising events have been cancelled or moved to a virtual setting. And with financial hardship affecting an increasing number of families, there have been fewer donations to the shelter.
Currently, the admission of canines to the shelter is also limited due to a lack of volunteers. Deanna Felicello, a member of the canine staff, said all dogs the Meriden shelter is unable accept go to other shelters.
A stringent vetting process ensures residents looking to adopt don’t do so merely out of impulse and that they have considered a backup plan if things go awry.
Pet vaccinations, landlord permission and finding a perfect fit between owner and pet are factors considered.
Thankfully, Felicello said, there have been virtually no returns for both feline and canine adoptions.
The Meriden Humane Society will host its monthly pet food pantry.
It is a drive-in event, however, and residents are asked to make an appointment.
“We’re just hoping for generous donors for the holiday season but we understand everybody’s suffering this time of year,” said Alexandre.