It wasn’t quite 101 dalmations, but 21 golden retrievers still made for a big day at the SPCA.
A Quesnel dog breeder took responsible steps to proactively surrender almost two dozen animals (17 of them puppies) to the animal welfare society, and allow for a more measured approach for all involved.
“The individual did the right thing for the dogs by reaching out to us so that we could find new, loving homes for them,” said Eileen Drever, senior officer of protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA.. “We always want people to contact us if they need help, but the surge in large-scale intakes is definitely putting a strain on our resources.”
Drever noted that young animals in particular need extra care and attention.
“This places pressure not only on the staff and resources in our facilities, but on our network of foster families, who help us care for these animals.”
Drever said the society is currently dealing with a number of files involving potential large-scale intakes.
“We know that there are so many dogs out there who need to come in. Our goal is to find space for these animals as quickly as possible so that we can bring them into our care and get them on the path to their new life. We really need the public’s help to make this happen.”
The wave of group surrenders to the SPCA is something directly tied to the pet surge created by the COVID-19 lockdowns, when families, couples and individuals all felt a desire for companionship, and had the time and personal structure to focus on a new cat, fish, bird, but especially dog.
This created a market, but the supply and demand principle has tapered off since the COVID restrictions eased. Those who wanted pets now have them, in a general sense, and people are also back to out-of-house activities which cuts down on pet ownership aspirations. The people supplying those pets are now stuck with un-spoken-for animals.
“The BC SPCA is dealing with a record number of large-scale intakes of dogs and puppies, as individuals who set up breeding operations during COVID are closing down their operations,” said Drever. “People were very keen to get pets during the isolation of COVID and we saw an increase in the number of people breeding animals during that time. Now that people are back to work and to their regular routines, the market has dropped off and we are getting calls for help from breeders who are overwhelmed with the number of animals in their care.”
She also observed that, in addition to those who proactively seek SPCA help, the society’s animal protection officers are seeing an increase in complaints to the BC SPCA Helpline about the neglect of animals by overwhelmed breeders. The SPCA hopes that those feeling overwhelmed will call for advice and planning, which might involve help getting through the situation on your own, or working out a controlled surrender program so no one, including the society, is forced into a crisis of the moment.
The Quesnel puppies have been moved to various SPCA locations and are awaiting medical clearance before being placed for adoption. Check out the SPCA website for updates, said Drever.
The BC SPCA receives no government funding and relies on community support to help animals across B.C. To donate, or to view animals for adoption, please visit spca.bc.ca.