Eleven cats were left in cardboard boxes, laundry baskets and kennels outside the Edmonton Humane Society Wednesday morning.
“While the abandonment of animals happens regularly outside our shelter, this is an unprecedented number for a single day,” the group explained on Facebook.
It shared photos of the boxes and make-shift cages the cats were found in.
Wednesday’s temperatures were forecast to hover between -5 C and zero.
In the post, the humane society said the act is considered abandonment under the Animal Protection Act of Alberta.
The act says animals are considered abandoned if:
- Left more than 24 hours without adequate food, water or shelter (especially concerning if outdoors during winter temperatures);
- Left for five days or more after expected retrieval time from a registered veterinarian, boarding facility, or pet sitter;
- Found in a rental property after the tenancy agreement has ended.
The maximum penalty under the act is a $20,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning pets.
“We understand that circumstances arise where you may no longer be able to care for a pet and have to consider surrendering it,” the group wrote. “We realize this is a very difficult decision, and in the best interest of yourself and the animal we ask that you contact us first by calling 780-229-2935 to discuss your options and make an appointment for surrendering if necessary. Appointments must be made well in advance.”
The humane society said abandoned animals have to be held for between three and 10 days before they can be processed. However, animals that are surrendered properly can be processed as adoption candidates as soon as they’re admitted and can find a new home faster.
“Abandoning animals also impacts our capacity at the shelter, and results in having to delay appointments for pet owners who have made the decision to responsibly surrender their animal.”
To learn more about the pet surrendering process, click here.
If you believe an animal might have been abandoned within the city of Edmonton, contact the Edmonton Humane Society’s Animal Protection department at (780) 491-3517.