The City of Calgary is hoping Calgarians will provide a forever home for the animals currently at the Animal Services Centre during its adopt-a-thon. The centre is at capacity with dozens of cats and dogs.
“Over the past couple of years, and more so in the past couple of months, we’ve seen an increase in animals coming into the facility, more strays coming in,” says Tara Decker with the City’s Animal Services Centre.
“Typically, we run at about 50 per cent (capacity) and right now we are at 100 per cent.”
The Animal Centre reinstated its adoption program in response to the capacity issues felt by animal shelters around the city. The city says there are many factors that contribute to the increase of animals needing a home.
“The economic challenges that are happening right now, I know we had influences of COVID, one big thing is that Calgary has just grown immensely,” Decker said. “There’s such a larger population and that means more animals, which then would equate to more strays, which we’re having coming into the facility.”
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The city is lowering adoption fees during the adopt-a-thon. The fee for a dog is $75, down from $105, while the fee for a cat is $50, down from $88.75. Adoption fees include medical and dental care, vaccinations, microchip, City of Calgary License and spraying/neutering. Officials also work to education new pet owner to the other financial responsibilities that come with their furry friends.
“Education is key,” says Decker. “Not only is there a cost to adopting an animal but being aware that there’s costs for the food, for the veterinary care and all of that that can come up, so they can long-term afford the cost of having an animal in their home.”
A Rover.com survey of 720 Canadian pet parents in February 2023 found dog ownership costs between $460 and $3,140 for annual essential items like food, toys and an annual checkup. Additional expenses like emergency vet bills, pet insurance and grooming can range between $2,060 and $5,600. With the cost of living continuing to increase, those expenses can put unmanageable financial burdens on families with pets.
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Halo Husky Haven helps find huskies homes in the city and says it has seen an increase in people looking to surrender their dogs to the rescue, and a decrease in demand for adoption.
“People are having trouble supporting just their families, let alone a fur animal,” says Stephanie Martin with Halo Husky. “They don’t want to get one (dog) and then down the road have to surrender it back.”
Martin says she noticed the decrease in adoptions starting last fall, around the same time the cost of living was becoming more challenging.
“Even puppies were staying longer than they had been before,” Martin says. “We had one puppy here for months when before they would go in a couple of weeks.”
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