Edmonton’s municipal dog shelter has maxed out its capacity, prompting the announcement on Tuesday that intake of healthy dogs would be temporarily halted due to a sustained rise in animal drop-offs. John Wilson, the authority at the City of Edmonton’s animal care and control centre, confirmed the intake alterations, attributing them to the swelling numbers of canines dropped off at this shelter, situated in the city’s northwest quadrant. Other provincial animal control facilities are similarly wrestling with capacity challenges.
The facility, which can host up to 47 dogs, will now concentrate chiefly on accommodating dogs that are injured or experiencing considerable distress. Despite a typical accommodate and care duration of three to ten days for stray or lost animals, it now extends to four to six weeks due to system pressure, Wilson noted.
“We are, at the present moment, striving earnestly to uncover solutions and relieve pressure on our institution,” Wilson confirmed during a media session exterior to the city facility, co-located with the Edmonton Humane Society at 163 Street and 135 Avenue. “We are in consultation with our partners and are even reaching out to local private boarding kennels and facilities in the quest for additional accommodation.”
The Humane Society is continuing to take in dogs, although this could be subject to alteration when updated statistics are released in autumn. According to Liza Sunley, CEO of the Edmonton Humane Society, it’s challenging to make predictions owing to the transitioning out of the COVID situation and unpredictability of the “new normal.”
While the euthanasia of animals always remains a last resort, the shelter is not considering this option at present, Wilson stated. He emphasized it’s the first instance in three decades that such high demand for dogs has been witnessed at the city facility. “The recent sudden increase in number and duration of stay of dogs is unprecedented,” Wilson said.
Wilson also highlighted the “long-term effects” of the pandemic pets phenomenon as a contributory factor to the surge in the number of dogs surrendered and deserted. Many failed to adequately research and understand the care and cost implications before adopting pets during the pandemic, he added. “The return to work post-pandemic and the recognition of the considerable expense of pet care, aggravated by inflation, has prompted many realisations,” he explained.
Wilson encourages dog owners considering surrendering their pets to explore the range of resources available through the city’s responsible pet ownership online page or by making a call to 3-1-1. The humane society, Sunley said, offers programs designed to assist pet owners, among them a subsidized spay and neuter program, an emergency veterinarian fund, and a pet food bank.
Despite the spike in dogs being surrendered, the Humane Society saw one of its best months in terms of adoption figures this July, helping 344 animals find new homes.
For those who locate stray or lost dogs, the city advises them to check for a city license tag and call 3-1-1 if one is found, post the animal on the city’s online lost-and-found pets page, walk the animal around the neighborhood to potentially locate the owner, consider taking the dog to a vet to check for a microchip, and post it both on Kijiji and community Facebook pages. They can also enquire with fellow dog owners in the neighborhood regarding the animal and its potential owner.