Taylor has been staying at the Lethbridge Animal Shelter since December.
“She was an amazing cat,” said Abby Oriold, shelter animal care team leader. “She’s super emotional, not a lot of work.”
And she’s not alone. Some dogs and cats – like Taylor – have been shelter residents for months.
Starting late last year, officials say animals started arriving at higher rates. Since February, the shelter has been operating under overload.
“I’ve seen firsthand the crib stress they go through on a daily basis and how it changes their personalities,” says Oriold.
“Demand for animals is high and demand for farming seems to be less,” said Skylar Plourde.
Community Animal Services’ director of services is seeing more and more pets surrendering to shelters, and he says another factor is driving the numbers.
“Few animals are being reclaimed by their owners,” says Plourde. “Some of the animals are even coming in with identification or they’re wearing their necks and pulling on a leash on the sidewalk.”
“We picked them up and no one came first.”
He couldn’t be sure, but Plourde said he believes people are giving up their “pandemic pets” now that many public health restrictions have been lifted.
Lethbridge sees a rise in the number of abandoned pets, surrendered as adoptions increase
“People are rushing out to get pets right now just thinking, ‘Great, now the kids have work to do, teach them some responsibility. We can go out and walk the dog in the park. ‘ No one thinks about the long-term part of that, the long-term cost of veterinary care,” says Plourde.
But while the number of pets available is increasing, the desire to adopt has not increased with it.
“(It) used to be, people would knock on doors to get to these puppies and we didn’t get any interest in them,” Plourde said.
He is begging anyone looking for a new pet to adopt, adding more shelters are facing the same problems happening in Lethbridge.
“Our staff will help ensure that pets get to a home where they won’t be returned, and that is the best home for the animal’s specific needs, ‘ said Plorde.
Anyone interested in adoption is encouraged to check out the animals available on Community Animal Services website or contact the shelter.
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