BC SPCA calling for help amid influx of unwanted pandemic-bred pups
A spike in unwanted pandemic-bred puppies has the BC SPCA calling for help.
The animal rescue non-profit said 21 golden retrievers, including 17 puppies, were surrendered by a breeder near Quesnel recently, and it's the latest in an influx of dogs during the past few months.
Eileen Drever, BC SPCA's senior officer for protection and stakeholder relations, said the organization is struggling and doesn't have the resources to take care of all the animals.
"This is a huge strain on our resources," she said.
"We couldn't do the work that we do without our volunteers and our donors and the fact that we're not government-funded at all, which begs the question, if the BC SPCA wasn't here, who would be doing this? What would happen to these animals? It's quite scary actually," she continued.
Drever said the influx of dogs is due to an increase in backyard breeders looking to make an extra buck during the pandemic.
"I noticed puppies were selling between three and four thousand dollars during COVID, which I thought was outrageous," she said, adding that many breeders are now overwhelmed by the number of animals in their care.
"There are others where they are abusing these dogs and neglecting them and on those occasions, we have to go in there with a warrant and remove these animals," she said.
Now in crisis mode, the SPCA said it can't keep all the dogs at once and is looking for foster homes for the pups until they're ready for adoption.
The increase in surrendered pets is being seen across Canada.
According to Calla James, the director of community engagement and outreach at the Humane Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth in Ontario, many people are struggling to keep up with the cost of owning a pet.
She said 2,344 pets were surrendered to the society's centres in 2022, a 44-per-cent increase compared to 2021.
“People are just getting caught coming out of the pandemic, with inflation being so high as it is, and now looking at, 'Am I feeding my family or feeding my pet?'" James said.
Drever has also noticed pet owners are struggling financially in recent months.
"There has been an increase in us providing food to the food banks," she said.
But Drever said there's no excuse for pets not to be fed and provided basic necessities, adding that those who are struggling should reach out, as help is always available.
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