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Okanagan SPCA shelters issue plea to adopt animals

Animal adoptions take big hit amid pandemic, SPCA urges public to consider adopting an animal

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the closure of SPCA shelters in B.C., animal adoptions have taken a big hit.

“Without a doubt, our animal adoptions are affected at the moment,” said Sean Hogan, manager at the Kelowna SPCA branch.

Last week, branches all across the province restricted public access to its shelters due to Covid-19.

While animals are still very much up for adoption, those interested must now look online to see what animals are available and then make an appointment to go in.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. SPCA restricting public access to its shelters during pandemic

With those restrictions in place, adoptions have slowed down. But the animal organization is pleading with the public to still consider adopting.

“Right now, the matter is urgent. We really want to make sure all of the cats and dogs as well as small animals that are waiting to be adopted get adopted,” Hogan said.

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To encourage people to adopt, the animal organization has cut adoption fees in half.

“We are very much hoping the public could adopt the animals available,” Hogan said.

READ MORE: 53 animals, including miniature horses, rescued from farm in B.C.’s Interior, SPCA says

The adoptions are not only critical for the animals’ well-being but necessary to create space for urgent cases, given the current limited staffing levels.

“We are trying to keep animals out of the shelter, so that we are able to help the most emerging situations,” Hogan said. “They might be coming in through cruelty investigations department, or might be part of the community’s needs for us to compassionately board animals.

“So our goal to get adoptable animals out of the shelter is basically combining with the goal to help the most vulnerable animals.”

To help keep space available in the shelters for the most urgent cases, the BC SPCA is putting out a desperate plea to existing volunteers to offer foster homes for animals currently in its care and the animals that will continue coming in.

READ MORE: More Husky puppies are in the care of the SPCA in the Okanagan

“It’s a good time to be prepared for anything,” Hogan said.”We are trying to set up contingencies around having more foster homes available.”

While the animal organization said will do what it can to assist any animal in need, it’s hoping people who need to surrender an animal reach out to friends and family first to see if they can help before turning to the SPCA.

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Shelters, such as the Kelowna branch, hope that despite being closed, it doesn’t translate into people being close-minded to welcoming a new pet into their life during the pandemic.

Click here if you would like to see what animals are up for adoption.