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Bergen County animal shelter officials say owners are surrendering their pets at an alarming rate

Bergen County officials say owners are surrendering their pets at an alarming rate
Bergen County officials say owners are surrendering their pets at an alarming rate 02:22

TETERBORO, N.J. -- Animal shelter officials say owners giving up their pets is becoming a serious problem.

CBS New York on Thursday went to Bergen County, where a shelter is trying to find homes for dozens of cats and dogs that were surrendered.

Officials at the Bergen County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center in Teterboro say dogs and cats are being giving up at an alarming rate, with many of them being brought to the shelter after the holidays.

"People have buyer's remorse. They'll go out and get themselves a puppy. They'll get themselves a dog for the family, and then in a few days they realize what the responsibility actually is to be a pet owner," Commissioner Steve Tanelli said.

Officials say 25 dogs have been given up since Christmas, and more than 166 pets have been dropped off at the shelter since November.

The majority of the dogs surrendered have been large breeds.

A handsome husky named "Luke" and a husky mix, "Bamboo," are up for adoption, and so is an energetic corgi named "Bear."

When asked what people tell him when they surrender their pets, shelter manager Bob Bergamini said, "Either they don't have time for them ... they didn't realize what they were getting into as far as the responsibility."

Bergamini said a lot of people took in pets during the pandemic and are back at the office now, realizing they don't want to leave their pets alone.

However, he said what he's encountered more is pet owners facing financial hardship.

"That they have lost their home and they have no place to live, so they can not longer keep their pets," Bergamini said.

As for cats, Bergamini said, "Right now, there's about 75 to hundreds during the spring and summer months. That is our busy times for cats. During kitten season we can have anywhere from 350 to 450 cats in the building.

Anyone interested in adopting a pet can come to the shelter and fill out an application, or go to the shelter's website.

"When people come in to adopt, they just don't come in one day and leave with a dog immediately. They come in, they meet, they make sure that dog fits their capabilities and what they are able to do," Tanelli said.

CBS New York met "Luna," who is 6 months old and was surrendered on Jan. 6. She'll be available for adoption soon.

For more information on how you can adopt one of the four-legged friends, please click here.

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