Some South Florida pets spend years waiting for adoption

You've probably heard the phrase "adopt, don't shop," but have you ever wondered how long some of those adoptable pets have been sitting in the shelter?

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – You’ve probably heard of the phrase “adopt, don’t shop,” but have you ever wondered how long some of those adoptable pets have been sitting in the shelter, waiting for their forever home?

Some pets have been sitting in South Florida shelters for years.

8-year-old dog Benny is one of them. He’s a furry bundle of love.

“He loves chin scratches, little neck scratches,” Humane Society of Greater Miami spokesperson Melanie Ochoa said.

But he’s been at the shelter for a quarter of his life.

“He arrived in 2020 and he was adopted and he was returned because he needed a little more attention in the home, he had a little bit of separation anxiety,” Ochoa said.

Some rescue animals require a bit more work.

“Pets are family and so sometimes we just have to adjust a little and they will settle in and they are unique, but they are amazingly unique,” Ochoa said.

Benny’s not the only animal who’s spent years at the shelter.

Ghost and Jones are two dogs who have spent two to three years at the shelter.

“A shelter is not a home, we have to find them a forever home,” Ochoa said. “A home you have the bed that is always yours, you have the corner of the house that you know, you have the route that you like to walk at home, they have everything that is theirs.”

That’s the goal of rescue organizations: to save lives and get animals adopted as quickly as possible, not to make a building with concrete kennels their permanent home.

If two to three years at a shelter shocks you, you’re never going to believe how long Tanzi the cat has been at the Humane Society—seven long years.

She may be a little misunderstood, but making the cat room her home since 2016 is unfathomable.

So next time you’re at a shelter, look at the piece of paper next to the pet to see how long they’ve been at the shelter. Because once we’ve started counting time in years, it’s been way too long.

“Once they are in a home and they have settled in, their true personality comes out and usually its an amazing personality,” Ochoa said.

About the Author:

Jacey Birch anchors Local 10 News Mornings each weekday from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. She is also proud to be the animal advocate for Local 10's investigative team.