The BC SPCA says it’s starting to see an increase in the number of animals bred during the pandemic turning up on its doorsteps.
The animal rescue non-profit took 15,762 creatures into its facilities last year, the vast majority of which were surrendered by their owners. That’s close to 1,000 more animals than in each of 2021 and 2020.
Chief Communications Officer Lorie Chortyk says the problem is only continuing this year. Since the start of 2023, she says they’ve seen a jump in the number of animals, particularly dogs, being turned in. Chortyk says the animals were bred during the height of the pandemic and, with demand for pets now waning, have nowhere to go.
At the same time, Chortyk says the non-profit is dealing with the impacts of the ongoing veterinary shortage in B.C. In 2021, it recorded 25,102 vet services provided, but that dropped to 16,228 last year. Chortyk says the shortage forced them to close an animal hospital in Burnaby.
Luckily, the number of people interested in donating their time continues to increase. In 2022, 3,304 volunteers provided 198,792 hours of aid – an increase of 40,074 hours over the year before.
The non-profit’s animal protection officers were also hard at work. They investigated 8,069 suspected animal cruelty cases throughout 2022, and helped 34,989 at-risk animals. Most owners in those cases surrendered their pets willingly, but the BC SPCA says its officers had to execute warrants to remove animals in 122 instances.
In total last year, 9,773 animals were adopted. Those still available can be found at adopt.spca.bc.ca.