The Calgary Humane Society is calling on pet owners to consider spaying or neutering their dogs to prevent unplanned litters, after seizing a combined 40 dogs from two homes with waste-covered conditions.
One of the files involved a planned litter that was followed by an unexpected litter, resulting in more dogs than the owner could handle, according to the society. Fourteen dogs — primarily adolescents — were seized by peace officers because of the home’s poor conditions.
The second, large seizure was of 26 dogs from a home with similar conditions, which the society says were overrun due to unchecked breeding.
The seizures were within two weeks of each other, and have further filled the already-full animal shelter.
“Puppies are cute, but they’re dirty. If you’re not constantly cleaning up after them — it’s a full-time job — a house can very quickly be taken over and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Brad Nichols, the director of operations and enforcement with Calgary Humane Society.
“It’s a good time to get the message out that breeding, in general, is not a good way to make a quick buck. If it’s done properly, it costs quite a lot of money to invest in the animals. And those who might have an ‘oops’ litter, get your animals spayed and neutered.”
Nichols said this problem is compounded by the pandemic and a saturated adoption market.
“We’re incredibly full at the moment,” said Nichols.
At the start of the pandemic, shelters saw a boom of adoptions, as many people found themselves at home full-time. They’re now experiencing the aftermath of that trend.
“We’re getting many requests for the surrender of animals … We have a significant waitlist of community animals that are wanting to come in and I don’t think that’s going to shorten at all,” Nichols said.
The Calgary Humane Society is stretching resources to welcome the seized dogs. They’re also putting out a call for new foster and forever homes for the many animals at the shelter.
With fewer people adopting dogs, owners who have litters — unplanned or not — are also having a harder time adopting out their puppies, Nichols explained.
“So, they’re growing up in the homes, destroying the homes and making them borderline condemnable,” he said. “When care of animals falls off to an extent where it’s causing distress either environmentally or medically, that’s when we get involved. That means seizures, potential charges and bans from owning animals.”
Spaying or neutering is the most effective strategy for mitigating unwanted pets. The City of Calgary and some local non-profits offer subsidized spay and neuter programs for those who might not be able to afford the procedure for their pets.
The Calgary Humane Society is currently holding a fundraiser to reach a goal of $100,000 for the shelter’s facility enhancement project. The $100,000 raised will be matched by a long-time donor.
“The $14.3-million expansion of the shelter will benefit the animals who spend time here and allow us to better serve our community with meaningful programming and events,” said Carrie Fritz, executive director, in a news release on the fundraising campaign.