Dogs and cats recuperating on the floor, deteriorating crates and puppies in cages in the garage.
These are the signs that Collingwood’s Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) has surpassed its capacity.
“Currently, our building is not suitable as a facility to keep up with the volume of animals or the demand for our services. Pressure for space to safely deliver programs and services for pets and people mounts,” said Sonya Reichel, executive director of GTHS.
The current facility on Tenth Line was built in 2007 and is 6,000 square feet. It was designed for 500 animals.
Last year alone, the organization took in 1,400 homeless animals and facilitated nearly 1,200 adoptions.
Now, pet owners are struggling to keep up with raising costs and are facing housing insecurity, said Reichel.
Demands for accessibly priced vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries and emergency medical support are at an all-time high. The Humane Society offers programs and services to help keep pets with their families during emergencies and crises – in 2022, supporting over 3,000 pets to stay out of the shelter system.
“Community outreach services are also in high demand. We are also hearing from an increase of communities in need of emergency medical care when a crisis hits a family for their pet. Over the last two years, we have seen a 40% increase in the need for pet parents in emergency situations”, Reichel said.
The GTHS serves Collingwood, Clearview, Wasaga Beach, Meaford, Grey Highlands and the Blue Mountains. As those communities have grown, so has the demand for pet services, she said. Over recent months, the number of stray dogs coming into the animal centre is growing beyond the volume that is sustainable.
The GTHS is currently in the midst of a $14.8 million dollar fundraising campaign for its new Regional Centre for Pets and People. To date, they’ve raised $3.5 million, and a property has been purchased on Sanford Fleming Drive in Collingwood.
The new animal centre, expected to open in 2025, allows GTHS to increase adoptions, offer hope and wellness to more seniors and youth at risk and perform three times the number of surgeries.
“At the moment, we cannot continue to sustain operations in our current facility. Cats and dogs are recovering from surgical care in our hallways, dogs are in crates in the garage, there is no private space to counsel people through emergency situations. Parking is largely unavailable for clients and volunteers. Our HVAC system needs to be replaced immediately”, she said.