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Central Alberta animal rescue worries what 2023 will bring

Saving Grace Animal Society proud that 1,811 pets found homes in 2022
Construction of Saving Grace Animal Society’s vet clinic has taken longer than anticipated, but framing got underway in November. (Photo from Facebook)

Saving Grace Animal Society is hoping for a better year, but chances are 2023 will be another tough slog.

“We’re just bracing ourselves for another hard year,” said co-executive director Erin Deems.

“Rescues across the province are all facing the same kind of situation in regards to lower adoptions, the cost and requirements of returns, and then the overall intakes just increasing substantially. It’s more than we’ve ever seen. The calls are just nonstop.”

Fewer people adopted animals in 2022, but the society is really proud that 1,811 did find new homes which is more than most rescues its size, she said.

“Those kinds of numbers really keep our team going and looking forward to 2023 to try and surpass that goal.”

Last year the Alix-based society took in over 2,300 animals, transferred more than 100 animals to rescue partners, and about 100 animals went back home after being spayed/neutered, including barn cats.


Chained dogs rescued, now destined for a better life

Over 350 animals are currently in care, including those in foster care.

“I would like people in general to just really take responsibility for their animals. We had three kittens dropped on our doorstep yesterday and it’s not uncommon.”

Deems said a lot of pets, mostly dogs, adopted from Saving Grace and other rescues during the pandemic, were returned once life got back to normal and people realized their pet no longer fit into their lives.

She said many of the dogs lacked training and socialization. People need to understand all the responsibilities that come with pets so the burden doesn’t fall on rescues to pick up the pieces when it falls apart.


Saving Grace Animal Society breaks ground on new vet clinic

The society also faced construction hurdles to build its veterinary clinic, which will ultimately cut transportation costs to access care. The groundbreaking was held last spring, but framing didn’t start until November due to engineering issues, moving power lines and difficulty finding construction workers.

The cost of the new 2,000-square-foot facility has also jumped from $500,000 to $850,000 for construction and equipment.

“Every time we turn around it’s more and more expensive, but we’re going to keep trying our absolute best. We have no doubt we’ll make it. We just don’t know the timeline.”

Deems said the society is in a very tight financial spot right now and every dollar donated helps.

“We have 100,000 followers on our Facebook page. If every single one of them just gave us a dollar that’s life changing, quite literally, to animals in need. The impact of such a small amount of money by a lot of people can go a long way.”

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