If the adoption of pets has jumped during the pandemic, the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) of Saguenay has noted an increase in abandonments, especially in the last two months.
The number of abandoned pets has increased significantly compared to the past two years. The current numbers therefore look more like what we saw before the pandemic.
“We have nevertheless received abandonments since May due to the moves. Hundreds of animals entered. We are talking about cats, dogs, rabbits. So we returned to normal before the pandemic,” explained the director general of the SPCA of Saguenay, Mélanie St-Gelais.
The number of rabbit abandonments, however, differs from the 2019 statistics. “We had maybe ten rabbits in the premises. Sometimes we panicked a little, it was a lot. But now we have about thirty small animals and sometimes it has gone up to 50 guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, rats. So we really see an increase in the level of small animals, ”she observed.
At the height of the pandemic, however, new adoptions were on the rise. It was even sometimes difficult for some to find cats and dogs available for adoption.
“Looks like there was a shortage of cats, dogs during the pandemic, people turned to rabbits. People are realizing that it’s not a goldfish, so unfortunately there’s a lot of rabbit dropouts. Or people adopt two rabbits, but not of the same sex and that gives complete families so the sterilization of rabbits is possible and it is ideal”, she lamented.
In Chicoutimi, the animal shelter has only been back in service for four days and already several abandoned animals have been brought in.
Since Monday, the owner, Marc Villeneuve, has received two rabbits, three dogs and four cats.
The private animal service has just added to its building the hairy survivors of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, to give a second chance to animals whose owners must get rid of.
And for its part, the Alma pound sees an increase in abandonments every year during moves, without however observing a particular increase this year.
The owner has also noticed that when people have to part with an animal, for example in the case of moving into an apartment where it is prohibited, they are more likely to do so a few months in advance rather than at the last minute.
Hold owners accountable
If, by mistake, you lose your animal or if another person finds it outside and brings it to the SPCA thinking that it is abandoned, be aware that fees apply to make the owners responsible.
“We are talking about impounding fees which are $55 if the animals are picked up during business hours. In the evening and during the night, if we recover the animal, it’s $80 impoundment. There is also accommodation for the nights they spent and license fees. It is the municipal regulation. The animal must always be under the control of its owner, therefore on his land,” underlined Mélanie St-Gelais.
The SPCA of Saguenay would like to remind people of the importance of making people aware of the responsibilities that come with acquiring a pet. The organization also wants to be optimistic.
“Me, I have the impression from year to year that people are more and more saddened to be obliged to bring their animals to the SPCA. Mentalities change gradually, but if each time we can sensitize one more person, it will already be a person who will be able to repeat it to another person, ”said Ms. St-Gelais.