Montreal moving day spotlights animal abandonment issues

Montrealers prepare to move as July 1st approaches. Francois Joly/Global News

MONTREAL – July 1st marks an annual day of moving for many Montrealers, but it’s also one of the busiest – and most devastating – times of the year for the SPCA.

In a usual month, the SPCA receives about 600 abandoned pets, but in Quebec that number skyrockets during the month of July when people start moving from one house to another.

“This isn’t something that people want to be doing,” said Anita Kapuscinska, a spokesperson for the SPCA.

“In general people love their pets and they want to live with their pets until the end of their days.”

Kapuscinska points out it’s not just older pets who are left behind on moving day.

Most recently, the SPCA has been housing a one-year-old kitten named Applebloom who was brought to them when its owners moved to a new apartment.

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“There are no pet clauses. That makes it very difficult for people to find apartments that allow them to move their pets,” said Kapuscinska.

“So the abandonment rate almost triples.”

The SPCA is trying to annul the no pet clause in apartment buildings in the province by putting up an online petition.

For the time being, this year’s outlook already looks grim.

“I will not be surprised if we’re going to be close to 1,600 animals by the end of this month,” said Kapuscinska.

WATCH: Adopt-A-Pet: Moving day pets

Part of the SPCA’s complaint revolves around the strange tradition of having people move on the same day of the year.

This doesn’t just cause problems with pets; it’s a general headache for everyone.

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“The fact that everybody moves on one day I think poses a lot of problems,” said Ina Bartlett, who is moving to Ottawa.

“If they don’t have a truck on one day there’s no chance, as you get closer to July 1st, that there’s going to be anything available.”

She points out that one of the biggest stresses caused by moving day is the fact that everyone else is doing so too.

“The truck that was supposed to be available wasn’t available at the site where it was supposed to be, so my husband had to drive to three different places,” she said.

The complaints don’t vary much from year to year.

“It’s always the same, the washers the dryers, luckily we don’t have to move the fridge and stove, but it’s always the most awkward objects,” said Jay Cook, who is helping his brother move.

Moving is stressful for everyone but for pet owners, trying to find a home that welcomes their furrier family members makes the whole experience just that much harder.

The SPCA is hoping that public pressure will change the law to make moving day abandonment a thing of the past.

Their first step is to work with the provincial government to launch a tip line (1-844-264-6289) where people can report animal abuse.

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The number is toll-free and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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