Pandemic pets adopted through B.C. SPCA have indeed found forever homes | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pandemic pets adopted through B.C. SPCA have indeed found forever homes

July 15, 2021 - 9:00 PM

The B.C. SPCA anticipated the possibility pandemic pets would be returned to shelters as reopening began and people began returning to work, but it turns out the opposite was true.

Pet adoptions are continuing, and while the traditional rate of return usually hovers around five per cent, B.C. SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk says they have actually seen lower rates as the province returns to work and pre-pandemic social lives.

"During the pandemic we made sure in adoption counselling that animals were the right fit for the home. We always take a lot of care at beginning, but during pandemic we offered a lot of resources for how to make transition easier for their pets when things open again," Chortyk said.

While she's heard of other places, particularly in the U.S., where pandemic pets have been returned, it's not something the SPCA has experienced.

"Adoption demand has remained strong. We're seeing kind of demand where there's multiple applications for each pet," Chortyk said.

Pet owners who did adopt their pets during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic may, however, be starting to worry about their pet's wellbeing when they return to work full-time.

Lauren Birchard adopted her dog Karma in April 2020. Karma was just a puppy and required lots of attention, but eventually Birchard started returning to work just two days per week, well before health restrictions began to be scaled back.

"We've gotten used to being with (Karma) all the time," Birchard said. "But it was good that we socialized our dog from day one."

When she returned to work, Birchard's dog would stay at a doggy day care in Sun Peaks, allowing Karma to get comfortable with other people and dogs.

While she's concerned about her dog being left alone, which will howl and bark when Birchard even leaves to the garage for five minutes, Birchard said it's possible she's more concerned about leaving her dog alone than Karma is.

B.C. SPCA has seen, over recent years, less homeless animals come into the shelter that are prepared for adoption. Chortyk attributes this to continued efforts to encourage spay and neuter procedures - most recently, a low-income spay and neuter program was started in Kamloops to address an overpopulation of cats.

In 2020, they adopted out over 10,000 pets, but in previous years back to 2016, they adopted out over 14,000 each year.

Instead of homeless animals, they have seen more and more animals that need higher levels of care and behaviour modification. According to Chortyk, this is because of cruelty investigations and enforcement carried out by their constables.

She said many of those animals are raised in hoarding conditions, they have been abused, neglected or not properly socialized.

More recently, the Kamloops branch has taken in pets from evacuated homes. They currently have 79 cats and dogs in their care, while some farm animals have been helped by the SPCA but were moved to foster homes.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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