Calgary animal shelters are over capacity and they need your help
By Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
With a recent huge rescue of animals from deplorable conditions, an influx of surrender requests and distemper outbreaks, pet shelters and animal welfare organizations across Calgary are struggling to keep up with their capacity challenges.
Earlier this month, nearly 100 cats and six birds were removed after going through unsanitary and unsafe conditions in a home at Monterey Park.
In a report from the Calgary Herald, Brad Nichols, director of operations and enforcement with the Calgary Humane Society said that “Feces covered everything and there was a very high ammonia level…We’ve got the animals all vet-checked but there is, unfortunately, some contagious disease within the population — which is concerning. And the behaviour of the animals is generally feral.”
It took three days for the organization to transfer the animals from the home to the shelter. This resulted with their shelter being over capacity with a waitlist and a backlog for surrender requests.
There is also an overwhelming volume of strays being taken in by the City of Calgary’s Animal Services. Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society is also struggling through a distemper outbreak with dogs in their shelter, and is also in capacity for the cats it can take in. Distemper is a highly contagious incurable viral disease affecting multiple organ systems usually found in domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks and raccoons.
In a press release from the city, they are encouraging Calgarians to consider temporarily fostering and adopting some pets from the struggling shelters. Commonly, shelters can provide food, toys and items to a caregiver to provide the most comfort to the foster pets. Foster caregivers also need to take the pets to vet appointments but that will be paid for by the shelter.
Some additional points that the city is encouraging is to make sure that current pets are ensured so it’s easier for the city reunite owners with pets. Things such as vanity tags, microchip or tattoos as some form of additional identification on pets can also be helpful in the reuniting process.
In the same press release, the city also offered the following tips to avoid shelters:
- Please consider not surrendering your pet if not absolutely necessary:
- Try to work through issues or ask friends and family for help.
- Consider food assistance resources including AARCS Pet Food Bank and Parachutes for Pets.
- If you are having behavioural issues (ie: chewing on household items, food bowl guarding, barking, reactivity to other animals) seek help through online resources or a local pet trainer.
- Make sure your yard is in good condition and secure, and do not leave your pets unsupervised in your yard.
- Keep your cats indoors, they do not need to go outside unless you have a cat run or is supervised.
- Do not drop off healthy stray animals found in your neighbourhood at this time (a temporary measure to ensure space is available for distressed or injured animals).
- If you find a healthy pet roaming, please leave them or post on social media sites such as YYC Pet Recovery, Calgary Dogs, and/or Lost Dogs, Cats & Pets.
- If you find a stray cat or dog that is injured or in distress, call 311 or take it to a veterinary clinic.