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Citing natural disasters and COVID-19, BC SPCA helped a record number of animals in 2021

A staff member stands next to a pair of horses at the BC SPCA Surrey Good Shepherd Barn in Surrey, B.C. in November 2016. The BC SPCA announced on Jan. 31, 2022 that it had assisted a record number of animals across the province in 2021. BC SPCA/Shane Kelley Photography

The BC SPCA helped a record-breaking number of animals in the province last year, citing the pandemic and “unprecedented natural disasters” as key drivers of the increase.

The society assisted 118,917 domestic, farm and wild animals across the province, nearly 22,000 more animals than in 2020.

“So many pet guardians have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA communications manager, in a Monday news release.

“We were able to expand our community pet food programs right across the province, helping 34,141 animals.”

The society also provided 12,418 nights of free emergency boarding to pets whose families were displaced by wildfires and floods, and helped rescue and feed animals “behind evacuation lines.”

Read more: BC SPCA seizes 216 ‘neglected’ beef cows from Vancouver Island property

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The BC SPCA said it saw an increased need for its other services in 2021, including animal cruelty investigations, injured and orphaned wildlife care, and veterinary hospital and clinic assistance.

Of the 118,917 animals it supported last year, 39,366 were through direct rescue, sheltering and rehabilitation, it added, while 79,551 were owned animals helped through emergency response and community-based outreach programs.

There were also a record 3,128 injured or orphaned wild animals brought to its attention, from baby hummingbirds to otters.

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B.C. floods: Strangers helping strangers rescue animals – Nov 24, 2021

According to its website, the BC SPCA is the largest animal welfare organization of its kind in North America, has 44 locations across the province, and assists more than 97,000 animals in need each year.

In its news release, the BC SPCA said it submitted 20 policy submissions to governments and other organizations on animal protection issues, including fur-farming, fireworks, live horse exports, the wolf cull and more.

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