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Rockford sees increase in pet adoptions, sales with COVID-19

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Summer is normally a busy time for Winnebago County Animal Services, but this year is different due to COVID-19. But despite some of the new policies and restrictions, adoptions and pet sales have soared.

Whether you're a dog or cat person, if you're thinking of adopting, you better act fast.

"Adoptions during the summer months, thankfully, are always fairly brisk, but it's especially good right now," Brett Frazier, the Administrator of Winnebago County's Animal Services Department, says.

"Everybody kind of wants to get a new pet at the moment," Megan Jones, PetSmart's customer engagement leader, adds.

Both Frazier and Jones say COVID-19 is a part of the reason for the uptick.

"There was a lot folks with a lot extra free time to do things like fostering, donating, sharing our Facebook posts, and adopting," Frazier says.

Frazier says last week Animal Services took in 90 cats, and a week later, half found forever homes.

"People should be proud of the work that the community has done to help us get cats and kittens adopted," Frazier says.

At PetSmart, which isn't doing cat adoptions right now because of coronavirus restrictions, pets are still in high demand.

"We sell quite a few guinea pigs," Jones says. "We also carry bearded dragons, those go pretty quickly as well."

If you to want adopt a pet right now, here's what you can expect.

"We do try to limit the number of people who do those meet and greets," Frazier says. "Some folks stand on the outside of the fence. We really had to be creative in finding ways to get done what needs to be done."

Masks are also required when you come to adopt, but Frazier says little inconveniences like that haven't stopped anyone. However, he says one thing he does miss is seeing the look on kid's faces the moment they find a new best friend.

"You do miss some of that connection with a friendly face by not seeing the smile," Frazier says.

But while he and his staff may miss a smile here or there, they're creating a lifetime of happiness.

Frazier says, while Animal Services takes in an equal amount of cats and dogs, dogs go much faster. He says if you want a dog, the name of the game is, watch the website and get down there as quick as you can.

Richard Bodee

Richard Bodee is a reporter at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team in June 2019 after graduating from DePaul University with a Master’s degree in broadcast journalism.

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