The Kingston Humane Society has been looking after and finding new homes for animals for more than 100 years, but in that century of care, the number of animals coming through their doors has never been higher than it is right now.
“With nearly 300 animals in care, we’ve never seen that before at a single point in time,” said Gord Hunter, executive director of the humane society.
Gord says more than 110 of those animals are up for adoption, another record number.
The shelter has a capacity for 124 animals but that’s been stretched to over 140 animals on site. Even the staff room is being used to house some smaller animals.
Hunter says if it wasn’t for individuals that foster animals in their homes, the situation would be even more dire.
“Without our foster program we’d be turning animals away by the hundreds, because the foster program has allowed us to expand our capacity, essentially,” he said.
Hunter says there are a variety of reasons why the humane society is seeing this high volume of pets, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made an impact.
“People are vaccinated, they’re returning to workplaces and that’s all great, but what we’re seeing is people maybe taking on animals that they weren’t prepared to care for after COVID or they didn’t consider long term,” he said.
Christie Haamima, animals program manager, has been looking after Parsnip and her sister Radish, two of 19 kittens that need to be bottle-fed and cared for around the clock, since they were two weeks old.
Feedings take place every two to three hours and humane society staff have stepped up providing that specialized care.
“It’s a lot of work and it’s costly in terms of finances, which I mean has been a struggle for us this year, so we’re really reaching out to ask people to foster, to adopt and if they can’t do that to support us financially,” she said.
The humane society covers all pet costs for foster families and has reduced the adoption fees for adult cats to $50.