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For Amanda McClughan, it’s like the Saving Grace Animal Society phone never stops ringing.
Although the rush for puppy adoptions during the pandemic has slowed down, animal rescue in the small village of Alix, Alta. Still receives many calls from people wishing to adopt animals in their care.But in recent weeks, there have been a growing number of queries to see if their establishment can accommodate cats and dogs that owners can no longer care for.
The pandemic can be a factor of surrender
McClughan, director of development for the company, said it’s not that people get tired of their pandemic puppies and send them away, but she says it seems the pandemic is a factor for many people abandoning their animals.
“Maybe they find new jobs. Maybe they’re on vacation so they don’t have the funds, ”McClughan said.
WATCH | Some animal shelters are warning pet surrenders are on the rise:
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“I just think people are trying to get back to normal life and maybe in that the animals are sliding to the side a bit. “
Saving Grace is not the only group to watch the increase in intake with alarm.
Animal rescue organizations in Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Alta., And Sudbury, Ont., All told CBC they were concerned about the number of rebate requests coming in.
In Toronto, there has been an increase in the number of abandoned rabbits, according to Haviva Porter, founder of Rabbit Rescue Inc.
She said her charity is having its busiest year in two decades in business and over the past month has seen a dramatic increase in the number of owners donating rabbits.
“We are only in mid-July and we have already welcomed more rabbits than in April, May and June combined. “
With rescues currently overwhelmed and rabbits having nowhere to go in the face of euthanasia, Porter said she hopes people seeking to abandon their rabbits can hold out a little longer.
Preparing pets for the post-pandemic transition
Despite these reports, the head of Humane Canada, which represents aid companies, SPCAs and animal rescue organizations across the country, says they see no noticeable difference in disposals between their members.
“In fact, in some cases we are seeing a decline in disposals,” said CEO Barbara Cartwright.
When the surrenders occur, she said it was because people were in crisis, not because they had lost interest in their pets.
She said the pandemic is a factor as it can push people into financial hardship and positions where they cannot care for their pets.
As many Canadians prepare to return to offices and schools in the fall, Cartwright said his organization is focused on preparing owners and pets for a successful transition.
She recommends that pet owners prepare by:
- Make sure pets have toys and treats to keep them entertained and occupied during the day;
- Hire an animal walker if the animal is alone indoors for long periods of time;
- Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety in animals and see a veterinarian if an animal is not doing well.
For pet owners who are feeling overwhelmed or strapped for cash, Cartwright suggests seeking help from local animal rescue organizations.
She said they can direct struggling pet owners to resources like pet food banks that can help them survive and keep their pets.
“As you can imagine giving up your pet is a horrible, horrible feeling and something we want to do is keep families together,” she said.