900 animals surrendered to the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society

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The Windsor/Essex County Humane Society is reporting an increase in the number of pets being surrendered to their care this year. 

"We're getting animals that may have litter box issues or dogs that may have behaviour issues, so I think it's consistent that we're seeing a somewhat more challenging population coming into shelters," says Humane Society executive director Melanie Coulter.

She says there's been a 4-5 per cent jump with more than 900 animals surrendered between January and the end of June, 174 were dogs, 601 were cats, and 136 were other animals including rabbits, hamsters and rats.

Coulter says it's not a dramatic increase but it's still more than the 709 pets surrendered to Toronto Animal Services so far this year which is reporting a 75 per cent spike. 

In Windsor-Essex, Coulter says they're dealing with some pets coming in with medical issues brought on by COVID-19 because of challenges at veterinary clinics with shortened hours and staffing shortages as well clinics not being able to keep up with appointments because there are so many more pets in the area. 

"We initially feared we'd see a lot of seperation anxiety but I think instead, what we're seeing is dogs that are not socialized to strangers and not socialized to other animals because they didn't get those experiences," says Coulter.

She says soaring inflation, food and housing costs are also impacting pet care. 

"We are seeing as well people who run into medical issues with their animal and they just don't have the ability to afford it with the economy or their job situation or just the fact that it's difficult to access so the costs go up because there is such a shortage," she says.

Coulter adds they can't take any more dogs from shelters in the U.S. because they just don't have the room. 

"We know there's a need right now, they've asked us to, but we just don't have the capacity to do it so unfortunately the last one we had to pass on and not take any animals," says Coulter.

Coulter says demand for pets has dropped a bit, but year-to-date adoptions are still up from 2021.