The Kingston Humane Society has had to shut its doors to public visits and animal surrenders from May 29 to June 2.
“It’s not something we want to do,” said Gord Hunter, the shelter’s executive director.
The humane society has a capacity for 96 cats and 48 dogs. Currently, Hunter says the charitable organization is well above its 144 cat and dog limit.
“We are at record numbers. We have not dropped below 230 animals in care for 20 months,” said Hunter.
Hunter says stray, abandoned and surrendered dogs have steadily increased since pandemic restrictions have eased.
“Any given day we can have 10 strays that come in, we can have multiple people looking to surrender,” said Adele McParlan the Kingston Humane Society’s client care supervisor.
McParlan and one other staff member traditionally look after pet adoptions, along with strays and surrendered animals that come through their doors.
With the volume of dogs coming into the Humane Society, adoption application processing has ground to a halt.
McParlan says one adoption can take up to two weeks to complete.
“We have to call some references, obviously we’re calling people and asking some personal questions,” said McParlan. “So we to make sure there’s not a lot of people in the front lobby when we’re doing that.”
Processing adoptions will be McParlans’ prime work while the Humane Society is reducing its services for five days.
Usually, humane societies help each other out by taking animals from one region to another to deal with capacity challenges but Hunter says under the current circumstances that’s not an option.
“Right now nobody has room, none of the rescues have room, none of the humane societies or animal welfare organizations have room. We’re all in the same boat,” said Hunter.
The Kingston Humane Society is also looking for more foster families to help deal with the current crisis.
“We’re trying to get those animals out the door via adoption, via foster if we can,” said Hunter.
The Kingston Humane Society could potentially return to full services before Friday according to Hunter, if the organization is able to get on top of adoptions and fostering quickly as the week progresses.