Simplified: The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society saw more adoptions and fewer returns in 2020, and they're giving COVID-19 credit for the trend.

Why it matters:

  • About 200 more pets found homes in Sioux Falls in 2020 than in the year prior, and returns went down 2.2 percent over the same period, according to Meghan McNeill, the humane society's front office manager.
  • That means more than 3,000 pets were adopted.
  • McNeill said the nonprofit also saw fewer animals coming in.
  • On the flip side, demand for the society's food bank, which provides pet food for those who cannot afford it, went up "a lot," she said.
"Although COVID wasn't a great year, it was pretty good for the animals," McNeill said.

What's behind the trend?

A couple of things.

For one, more people were working from home in 2020, which meant more time to spend helping a new pet acclimate.

Also, much credit for the change goes to the humane society's new adoption application form and curbside adoption policy. That's led to a more one-on-one process in which the society works with folks looking to adopt a pet.

"It's less impulse adopting ... There's more matchmaking vs. coming up with a friend, and you're like, 'Oh, that's a cute animal,'" McNeill said.

What happens next?

The humane society hasn't yet set a date for when they'll reopen, so for now, the curbside adoptions will continue.

And even if curbside adoptions go away, the new online application form is here to stay.