The Thunder Bay and District Humane Society has launched a call-out for adoptions, saying an influx of animals has left it nearing capacity.

THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Bay and District Humane Society is appealing to local residents to consider offering a home to one of its animals, as it faces unusually high intakes.

The organization reported this week it was nearing capacity, with 67 animals in their care and 32 ready for adoption.

“It definitely has been a lot more, I would say overwhelming,” said community engagement coordinator Stephanie Fraser. “We would [normally] have two or three volunteers per day, and now we’re up to six or seven at a time.”

Fraser said the influx of animals appears to stem from a combination of a normal springtime uptick in strays and a surge in pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is mainly because of COVID, we’re finding — a lot of returns are coming back to the shelter … and a lot of stray intake.”

“A lot of it is lifestyle changes. A lot of people are going back to work [after] working from home, so when they adopted they had a lot more time for an animal. A lot of these owners that come in, it is a matter of just not having enough time.”

The humane society operates a low-cost spay and neuter clinic intended to alleviate the number of strays in the community, Fraser added.

The organization launched a call-out to the community via social media this week, saying, “If you are thinking of adopting an animal, now is the time.” More details are available on its website.

“We’re just asking everyone if they’re looking to adopt, to definitely consider our organization,” said Fraser. “We have so many wonderful animals that could use a home, and we’ve had a lot of long-term residents we know would make wonderful additions to their home.”

The society’s adoption fees include spay or neuter, vaccinations, deworming, microchip, flea and mite treatment, and FIV/Feleuk testing.

Those who aren’t ready to adopt can also lend a hand by volunteering, donating, or applying to serve as a temporary foster home.

The non-profit also relies on community donations and does not receive government funding, Fraser noted.

The current situation isn’t unprecedented, she said, but is highly unusual and puts a strain on the organization’s resources.

“It definitely fluctuates,” she said. “We’ve had times when we’re very low with animals, and then there are times when there’s such an increase – we are nearing capacity currently, which hasn’t happened in quite some time — I would say before COVID.”

That forces the humane society to turn more to foster homes, and impacts the wait list for animal surrenders, which Fraser said has grown, especially for dogs.

The organization has leaned on its substantial volunteer base to manage.

“We’ve definitely really appreciated all of the help from our volunteers lately, especially because we’ve been going through a lot more laundry, lots more dishes,” said Fraser. “Volunteers have been really beneficial in providing enrichment like dog-walking, hanging out with our cats.”


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