The executive director of a Niagara Region animal shelter says the decline of COVID restrictions is likely what’s behind a slowing of pet adoptions this summer following a boom of pickups during the pandemic.
Kevin Strooband, executive director at the Lincoln County Humane Society, believes the outlet is seeing less prospective pet owners due to locals having more freedom of movement amid lighter restrictions this summer compared to the last two years.
“I think what’s really happening here … people are going out, they’re having fun,” Strooband told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton.
“They’re focusing on different things and they’re not adopting, which is increasing the numbers of pets in our shelter.”
In a social media post this week, Humane Canada’s CEO Barbara Cartwright suggested a “perfect storm” is brewing throughout Canada’s municipalities via a lack of resources such as medical support, food and foster care combined with a pattern of owners no longer being able to care for animals.
The manager for shelter operations at Toronto Animal Services, Sue Shearstone, reported a 60 per cent increase in the number of animals coming to shelters this past week compared to the same period in 2021.
“We have people (who) have obtained pets through the pandemic and are unable to care for them,” Shearstone told Global News.
“They may have had to go back to work or maybe they’ve got a dog that they didn’t research the breed and don’t understand the requirements of that individual dog. So we’re seeing a lot of bigger dogs, two-to-four years old, not very well trained, maybe (with) anxiety.”
Strooband says in his locality there are surrenders taking place, but larger problems surround a lack of willing pet owners and staff to administer general animal care.
“It’s a huge problem. We also have a veterinary clinic on site, as does the SPCA in Hamilton, and we are really struggling with getting veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians and front line staff,” said Strooband.
Humane Canada’s Cartwright also reported a shift in the types of animals coming into shelters, revealing increases in pets with behavioral and medical issues requiring more resources to make them adoptable.
It’s a scenario the Lincoln shelter is seeing as well with owners having to move on from an animal due to recent declining household incomes.
“We had a little French bulldog come in, cutest thing you’ve ever seen, and it had a prolapsed rectum,” Strooband recalled.
“So it needed some intense surgery to get that corrected, and that’s been done … but the owners couldn’t afford it.”
Residents in the Niagara-area that have the means to adopt a pet can reach out to the Lincoln County Humane Society or in Hamilton the local SPCA.
Strooband says would-be pet owners should be prepared for tough lifestyle questions from shelter staff in light of the recent rise in animal surrenders.
“There are some people who will get upset about it, but for the most part … respect what we’re saying,” Strooband remarked.
“They understand, we are the experts. We’ve been doing this for a long time. So we try to make sure it’s a good match.”