Pre-pandemic life returns, pet surrenders are rising


Humane Canada says it hasn’t seen an increase in surrenders, but noted pandemic can put owners in tough positions

As life gets back to normal, some Canadian animal rescues say they’re seeing a rise in the number of pets being surrendered by their owners.

The rush on puppy adoptions during the pandemic has slowed, but the animal rescue in the small village of Alix, Alta., still gets lots of calls from people hoping to adopt animals. But in recent weeks, there’s been an increasing number of queries to see if their facility can take in cats and dogs that owners can’t care for anymore. It is also the case at Saving Grace Animal Society.

For Amanda McClughan, development director with Saving Grace Animal Society, it’s not that people have tired of their pandemic puppies and are returning them, but it does seem like the pandemic is a factor for many people who are giving up their animals.

“Maybe they’re getting new jobs. Maybe they’re vacationing so they don’t have the funds,” McClughan said.

“I just think that people are trying to get back to the normal of life and maybe, in that, the animals are kind of slipping to the side a little bit.”

Saving Grace isn’t the only group. Other groups such as Animal rescue organizations in Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Alta., and Sudbury, Ontario, are worried about the number of surrender requests that are coming in. According to Haviva Porter, founder of Rabbit Rescue Inc. in Toronto, there’s been a surge in abandoned rabbits. Her charity is having its busiest year ever, and in the last month, she’s seen a huge increase in owners surrendering rabbits.

The head of Humane Canada, which represents humane societies, SPCAs and animal rescue organizations across the country, says they aren’t seeing any notable difference in surrenders among their members.

“In fact, in some cases, we’re seeing surrenders going down,” said CEO Barbara Cartwright.

Barbara Cartwright, CEO at Humane Canada, says the pandemic is a factor because it can push people into financial struggles and positions where they can’t care for their pets. She says her organization is focused on helping owners and pets make a smooth transition as Canadians head back to work and school. She recommends pet owners prepare by:

  • Making sure pets have toys and treats to keep them entertained and engaged during the day;
  • Hiring a pet walker if the pet is alone indoors for long periods of time;
  • Keeping an eye out for signs of pet anxiety, and seeing a veterinarian if an animal isn’t coping well.

For pet owners feeling overwhelmed or financially strapped, Cartwright suggests reaching out to local animal rescue organizations for help.

Source: CBC,