Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth ‘in crisis mode’

By CityNews Kitchener staff

The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth (HSKWSP) is having a busy summer.

The shelter has seen a a large volume of animals coming in, with currently 345 animals in their care at both shelters. There is a waitlist of 139 pets in need of help, kennels are full and there is a high volume of calls from pet owners looking for support.

This year alone, the HSKWSP has taken 1,066 stray and abandoned animals into their care. 

“Shelters across North America are at breaking points and have been for a while,” said Calla James, director of community engagement and outreach for HSKWSP. “We are short-staffed, adoptions have slowed despite reducing adoption fees, donation sizes have decreased, demand for outreach programs has skyrocketed, demand for low-cost veterinary services has skyrocketed, there’s a high volume of animals coming into our centres, and call volumes for surrendering have significantly increased.”

Those seeking the humane society’s help are typically citing financial reasons, as well as lifestyle changes. Over the last year, there has also been a significant jump in callers looking to surrender young, large-breed dogs that are exhibiting behaviours that their owners cannot handle. Based on their ages, they are typically obtained during the pandemic, have not received any training, and have not been socialized.

“We have almost 140 pets on our waiting list needing help, but the stray and abandoned animal volumes continue to keep our kennels full,” added James. “Callers are increasingly angry, and the staff is burnt out. We not only need our community’s help, but we are also asking for their kindness and patience as we do our best to help people and pets as quickly as we can,” James added.

The HSKWSP has launched programs including:

1. Pet pantry program – to help provide pet food and supplies to those who are experiencing financial hardship or a personal crisis.
2. Low-cost rabies and microchip clinics – to help pet owners ensure their pets can be rabies vaccinated and microchipped, so they can be returned home when found.
3. Emergency boarding services (when capacity allows) – available through social services and emergency services referrals, for anybody experiencing a crisis and needing short-term boarding to source alternative care.
4. Veterinary outreach services – available through social services referral, for pet owners who are experiencing homelessness or who are vulnerably housed to access vet care for their pets.
5. Alternatives to surrendering – earlier this summer, the Humane Society launched the Home to Home platform for their two animal centre locations, which is a platform that allows pet owners to self-rehome their pets, helping to alleviate the stress in shelters. The platform is available for no cost and can be accessed right through the Humane Society’s website.

“There isn’t a better time than now to support the HSKWSP,” said James. “We are a self-funded charity that receives no level of government funding for our charitable programs and services. We are also in desperate need of foster homes to support both our centres. Anything you can do to help us is appreciated,” James stated.

There are numerous ways where the community can help the humane society. You can adopt, donate, foster, support programs and share information on social media.

More information can be found here. 

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