Spike in pet adoptions at San Francisco shelters because of coronavirus

Animal rescue groups across the country report that they are seeing a spike in pet adoptions. Experts say dogs offer people comfort and they help quell anxiety during these stressful times.

With people working, studying and generally sheltered at home, many say it's the perfect time to get a companion.

KTVU visited two dog rescue groups in San Francisco to see how things have changed.

From her backyard, Sherri Franklin, founder of Muttville, a senior dog rescue group in San Francisco, is using her phone to show Ziggy, an 8-year-old Chihuahua, to a person who's interested in adopting a dog.  

All meet and greets are done via FaceTime or Zoom since Muttville's offices are closed to comply with the shelter-in-place order. 

Franklin said applications from people who want to foster or adopt a dog have flooded the nonprofit.

There are normally 20 to 25 applications a week. That number jumped to 120 the first week of the stay- at-home order.   

"I've been involved with animal rescues for 25 years. I have never seen anything like this," said Franklin.

In the Bayview, Family Dog Rescue is also plenty busy. Walk-in's are no longer allowed.

People wanting to adopt have to fill out an application and make an appointment. The first available slot is next month.

The Cohen family came for their appointment. They already have one dog named Jack.

Everyone's home-working or attending school remotely.

"Dogs bring you such comfort. We thought this is a great time to bring another one into our home," said Laura Cohen who adopted her second dog Wednesday.  

Family Dog Rescue's executive director Ilsa Jule said the number of adoptions has nearly doubled in March compared to February.   

Before the pandemic, there would be plenty of people stopping by just to look. 

"Now it's like I saw a dog. I like the dog. I like to meet the dog," said Jule, "We're not having people say you'll hear from me later. It's like I'm actually going to adopt the dog today."     

Back at Muttville, Franklin said despite the surge in adoptions, there are still plenty of dogs that need loving homes.

"I wish it was like this every single day,  not just during a pandemic when people realize that a dog brings so much joy and love into a family," said Franklin.

Rescue groups are thrilled that so many people want to adopt dogs now.

But they are advising people to have a plan in place on how to care for their new pet once the shelter in place order is lifted.