Moving Day is also a day of abandoned pets in Montreal

'Tonka' gets his ears scratched outside the SPCA. He was adopted two weeks ago -- during a peak period for abandoned pets.

MONTREAL- Moving Day in Montreal conjures up frustrating images of people struggling to get a sofa onto a truck or a fridge up outdoor flights of stairs. Not everyone realizes, however, that animals can have the hardest time during moving day.

“You have these new owners moving into the apartments and then you find animals, either on the balcony or cats in the bathroom,” said Alysia Mignelli, of the SPCA. “It happens very often.”

Every year around Moving Day, the rate of abandoned pets almost triples- reaching 1,600 pets a month, according to the SPCA.

“It’s life. It’s not a chair, it’s not a table,” said Louise Makovsky, who places pets with owners. “They can bring happiness they can help older people.”

Animal groups say part of the problem is one of perception- many people simply don’t view pets as living members of the family. But also, owners don’t check lease agreements carefully when they move, meaning that they end up unable to take their pet with them. The SPCA is trying to petition the province to make it a right to own a pet in an apartment.

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The situation can make for scenarios that are both extreme and comical. Eric Dussault, who does animal rescue, said that he once had to rappel down a third-storey building to rescue a cat left on the outside windowsill of an apartment whose owner moved out without it.

On a lighter note, the president of Meldrum the Mover, Tom Filgiano, said that his company once took in two finches because a couple moving to Winnipeg couldn’t keep them.

“The terms and conditions of the contract stated that we inherited their two finches,” he said, laughing. “These two finches actually stayed as guests in our offices for about a year, to two years.”

Between July 3rd and July 9th, the City of Montreal will throw in $50 toward the adoption of a cat at the SPCA.

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