A Red Deer animal rescue shelter has implemented an intake freeze for dogs and cats due to having an already large number of animals in care and high veterinarian bills.
In a Facebook post from Sept. 17, Paws and Claws Animal Rescue Foundation, said its vet bills from the past month and a bit was more than $60,000. Additionally, the shelter has many animals in care, and staff and volunteers are struggling to keep up.
“The calls are constant. We hit our all-time record high for animals in care. Just this last month here our vet bills finally caught up to us so we had to stop intake completely so we could get everything caught up,” said Mackenzie deBoon, Paws and Claws Animal Rescue Foundation executive director.
The hope is to slowly start taking in animals again in early October, said deBoon.
“We’ve done quite a few cat adoptions in the last few weeks here and I think we’ll be able to get our bills down soon,” she said Sunday.
Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts are becoming more noticeable, said deBoon.
“The first year or so was actually OK because everybody was still doing financially all right and everyone was home so adoptions were doing well,” said deBoon.
“But now we’ve reached a point where most people have gone back to work and those who haven’t gone back to work are struggling financially.”
In deBoon’s eight years rescuing animals, she said this is the worst kitten season she has seen. On top of that, dog intakes have been high as well.
“Dog adoptions have also been quite slow the last month,” she said, adding the shelter is getting “constant” surrender requests as well.
“What I’m finding is a lot of people got puppies (over the past year and a half) and we’re seeing a lot of behavioural issues as a result of the pandemic because people who weren’t quite prepared to raise a dog got dogs.
“Now all of those dogs are one to two and a half years old and that’s when behavioural issues begin to become unmanageable. I’ve seen a large increase in that.”
Fundraising for the organization has also been a challenge due to the pandemic.
“We’ve reached a point where we aren’t able to do our normal in-person events for two years. Everybody is hurting so there just aren’t enough funds to go around,” she said.
“With the increased demand that literally every single rescue is seeing, it’s difficult to get the funds necessary to support the intakes we’re experiencing.”
To help shelters, deBoon encourages pet owners to get their cats spayed and neutered.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.pawsandclawsanimalrescue.ca.