The Alliston and District Humane Society desperately needs more space after a dramatic increase in animals abandoned and surrendered over the last year.
Shelter vice president Sherri Wilson says the number of dogs they have taken in has increased 400 per cent over the last year while the number of bunny and cat surrenders is also up.
“There’s just no end in sight right now to the rising number of animals that we’re taking in,” she says.
The shelter currently cares for 40 dogs, over 100 cats, and over 70 rabbits, with every space full and foster homes at capacity.
Wilson says they have to use offices and their conference space to house the extra animals, leading to a stop in their educational programming.
“I don’t where they’re coming from, but they’re coming up to the township and just dumping their dogs on the side of the road and taking off,” Wilson says. “We had a senior corgi mix dog, just a little senior, beautiful, sweet little girl. Somebody stuffed her in a wired rabbit cage in this scorching heat last August and dumped her on a county road on the side of the road without food or water.”
Wilson points to the high cost of living as a major cause for the increase.
“A lot of it has to do with the economy. I think people just can’t afford their pets anymore,” Wilson says. “We have people that come in that have lost their homes or are living in a car. It’s sad, really, really sad, some of the things that we see. Or we have people who come in like you can’t even afford to buy dog or cat food.”
She says with the higher cost of living, many people are surrendering their animals because they can’t afford the vet bills if their pet is sick or has a medical condition.
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“Because we are a no-kill shelter, people prefer to bring their animals to us.”
With more people struggling, Wilson says they have also seen a significant drop in people looking to adopt, leading to even less available space and more animals being brought in.
The shelter has undertaken a massive expansion campaign to combat the demand for services, thanks to a $1.5 million donation. The money will be used to build a dedicated space for cats and upgrade their current space to give the animals more room to play.
The shelter is looking to raise $4 million in total to expand and upgrade its facility to meet the growing demand in the community.
People looking to support the shelter can donate directly on their website.
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