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Humane Society looks for support to care for animals in need of help

Staff at many Calgary animal rescue shelters are overwhelmed with the number of cats, dogs and rabbits pet owners are dropping off because they can no longer care for their animals.

Deanna Thompson is the executive director with the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) and says right now the facility has no space for any more pets.

“It’s kind of our worst nightmare come true,” she said. “We have seen a huge increase in the number of people looking to surrender their pets, as well as the stray population increase and it’s just been weeks and weeks and weeks and we haven’t been able to catch up, we’re desperate for people to adopt or foster an animal right now.”

Thompson says there are 75 cats ready for adoption at the facility while more are being fostered. She says many people got rabbits as pets but didn’t realize the amount of work they need.

“They are a pet that people think are really easy, but they’re not always,” said Thompson. “So we’re looking for people to take in rabbits that understand their needs, they are very similar to dogs and cats in a way that they require the same attention and care.”

She says there are a number of things Calgarians can do to help the crisis right now and the main one is adopting.

“We’re looking for new families for these guys and once they have a new family, then we can open our doors to more,” said Thompson. “If you can’t adopt please consider fostering an animal in the meantime until we can find homes and if you can’t do that, share, donate (and) come volunteer — the animals need people right now.”

Over at the Calgary Humane Society, executive director Carrie Fritz has an adoption event going on right now for the month of June.

“We’re saying name your adoption fee and that way animals can just get moving out of the shelter,” said Fritz. “It’s a great time to come into adopt, kids are finishing school so they’re going to be home to help with that responsibility and really create that good family bond with a new animal coming into their home so hopefully Calgarians will take us up on that.”


Fritz knows how hard inflation has been on some pet owners but she says the Humane Society is there to help.

“We offer a ton of support for pet owners,” said Fritz. “So if you have a pet that’s not behaving properly, we do have classes that you can take, we have private consultations and we even have a cat committee and cat consultation so whatever we can do to help that pet stay with that family for its entire life is really our goal.”

The Humane Society is caring for upwards of 450 animals of all species.

On June 7, it had an influx after seizing 103 animals from a “hoarding event.” Not all the animals will make it to adoption, said Brad Nichols, the Humane Society’s director of operations and enforcement.

“Unfortunately, in this case, there was some contagious disease in the home and most of the cats were feral as well,” said Nichols. “Given that combination, unfortunately that leads to a lack of adoptability and euthanasia becomes a reality in some of these cases, simply because they’re too sick.”

The surviving cats are still being assessed and under quarantine. Nichols says charges are pending in the case against the home owner that could fall under the Animal Protection Act or Criminal Code.

“The charge would initiate the court process,” he said. “If it’s Animal Protection Act, you’d be looking at possible outcomes of fines and prohibitions or limits, Criminal Code puts jail time on the table, but jail is relatively rare in neglect cases.”

Nichols says it’s one of the worst animal hoarding cases he’s witnessed in 17 years on the job. The maximum fine the owner could face is $20,000.

More information about how to adopt an animal can be found on the Humane Society’s website, AARCS’ website or on the City of Calgary’s website.



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