November is usually a peak time for unwanted puppy and kitten litters ending up with Central West Rescue, but this year, the month had barely started when the number of surrenders was already looking unprecedented.
The rescue shelter's founder, Jasmine Smart, said that usually in November around 20 dogs and cats - primarily new-born puppies and kittens - were surrendered into their care.
This year, they're bracing for more than double that. Most of which will similarly be entire litters.
"In November and December we're going to have so many puppies and kittens up for adoption," she said.
"I've never seen it this bad before. It's horrible.
"In total, I think we're going to have between 30 and 40 (dogs and cats) up for adoption in November.
The tsunami of pets Central West Animal Rescue (CWAR) is bracing for is in stark contrast to the pandemic-induced demand that for most of 2020 has left many rescues and shelters empty.
Just last month, the Orange branch of the Animal Welfare League NSW had said the longest a dog had been in their care before being adopted was a week.
What has driven the sudden puppy/kitten wave after so many months of drought CWAR's Ms Smart and her fellow foster carers can only guess at.
"I think everyone's been bunking down over covid and breeding too much," she said half-jokingly, before conceding that there were likely many underlying reasons.
"Some of the pounds aren't operating at full capacity (again). We've got people losing their jobs, people who are homeless - it's hard to nut out," she said, adding that financial stress could also be a factor. "It's so all very weird."
Fortunately, after CWAR posted a plea for help on social media, in just three days an additional 21 people came forward to be foster carers.
"We can't keep up with the (amount) of people applying," Ms Smart said.
"So there's the bad but there's also a good side.
"If we keep getting the amount of foster (carers) that we have been, we'll be able to take on all these animals."
For more information on CWAR, head to their Facebook page.
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