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People continue to surrender pets to Guelph Humane Society

The Guelph Humane Society is seeing its share of pets being surrendered by their owners.

There were 322 cats and 97 dogs brought into the shelter in 2022.

Executive director Lisa Veit tells Global News those numbers are up compared with the previous year.

“In 2022, we saw 53 per cent more cats coming into our care as surrendered pets relative to 2021,” said Veit. “For dogs, it was a 33 percent increase.”

Veit adds they are seeing the same trend throughout Ontario.

“In 2020 and 2021, we saw roughly 15 or 1,600 animals each year in both of our centres,” said Calla James, director of community engagement and outreach at the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth. “But in 2022, that went up to over 2,300 animals coming through our doors.”

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There are a number of factors leading to the number of pets being surrendered to animal shelters. But both Veit and James say one of the biggest reasons is financial pressures.

“It is probably the biggest trend that we are seeing,” said Veit. “Whether the owner can’t provide care for an emergency or medical condition, or just sometimes day-to-day taking care of your pet.”

The humane society says it does provide help for pet owners who are looking for affordable care. Viet says one of them is behavioural support, which is offered at no charge.

“If someone is experiencing some behavioural challenges with their pets and just need some additional support,” said Veit, “we can provide that, and are very willing and keen to do that.”

She says the goal of these supports is to enable owners to keep their pets despite these financial challenges.

The humane society also felt that the surrendering of pets coincided with people going back to workplaces. Many people adopted dogs, cats and other animals during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when most were working from home.

— with files from Kevin Neilsen

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