Deanna Thompson says she often feels like she’s screaming as loud as she can in a room full of people and no one can hear her.
That’s how she describes running the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), which has been receiving high volumes of surrendered pets since March.
“I really feel that way some days where we have been begging for help, (saying) ‘we’re full, we’re full.’ And it’s like, at some point, it’s kind of falling on deaf ears,” Thompson told Global News.
She says the number of animals in need far outweighs the capacity of both the shelter and the animal welfare industry as a whole.
Thompson, who is AARC’s executive director, adds that while the shelter is still taking in pets, there are times staff have to turn them away.
“Basically, if one gets adopted, another one can come in,” she says.
“The result of that has really been that animals are getting abandoned in the countryside. We’ve had them tied up to our front door.”
Thompson says she doesn’t know the exact number of pets AARCS is taking in this year compared to previous years, but the number of pet owners asking for help has been especially high through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID’s just lingering with us. And as an industry, as people, it’s just really had an effect on how we manage,” she says, adding that volunteering and fostering is also down.
Thompson says the rising cost of living is a big contributor to the troubling trend within the animal welfare industry.
The price of pet food, grooming and medical care are all going up while wages stay roughly the same. Meanwhile, owners are also having to factor in their own expenses, such as groceries and rent.
In Canada, the cost of owning a dog works out to an average of $460-$3,140 per year,Read more on globalnews.ca