Puppies in high demand and short supply this coming Christmas amid COVID-19 pandemic

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip KGO logo
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Puppy shortage could leave many disappointed this holiday season
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The pandemic has increased demand for furry companions, meaning shelters and breeders have few puppies to adopt this holiday season.

NEWARK, Calif. (KGO) -- The rush on toilet paper and other essential products at the start of the pandemic has come and gone, but there's another shortage that hasn't quite let up.

This one is cuddly and warm, and one even Santa might not be able to get.

Jonathan Chavoor shows us his new puppy Riker.

The Newark resident just picked up the Golden Retriever from a breeder less than two weeks ago.

"It's nice to kind of come home to that stress reliever. And, you know, he is kind of a calming influence," said Chavoor.

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Chavoor prepaid four figures to be put on a waiting list for Riker all the way back 13 months ago.

Since then, he says the price has doubled and the wait for a puppy from a breeder has increased to two years.

"We were expecting a handful of months at best, maybe six? We had no idea it would be this long," he said.

The demand for puppies since the pandemic has surged.

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It's not just breeders; shelters also can't supply enough puppies to keep up with the demand since the pandemic.

"I think that we've maybe had 15 puppies since the beginning here that have come in through our shelter," says Buffy Martin-Tarbox of the Peninsula Humane Society. She says it's that way all around the Bay Area.

It's the same at the Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco.

"Puppies probably don't stay in the shelter for more than a couple of days." Sadly, Executive Director Ilsa Jule says that since COVID-19, the rescue organization has found many of their pets roaming the streets.

"People were just abandoning dogs left and right. About six months ago, they're still abandoning them. But it was, I would say, it was probably pretty critical when people started losing their housing and their jobs," said Jule.

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Caring for a puppy can be time consuming and demands both patience and maturity.

"You have to potty train, you're going to have to teach them how to walk on a leash. You're going to have to teach the, you know, not to be mouthy, you know, and redirect them with a toy," said Martin-Tarbox.

Anyone looking to get a puppy for Christmas may have to wait.

"They're going to get adopted so quickly, they're probably not going to be there," Jule warned.

Shelters suggest adoptive families keep an open mind and consider adopting adult dogs or even cats.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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