How Montreal's housing crisis leads to more abandoned pets on Moving Day

With the annual Moving Day approaching, animal welfare advocates are issuing their yearly call on Montrealers changing addresses to not abandon their pets.

According to the SPCA, over 1,140 abandoned animals have been taken in by the organization since Jan. 1. But each year, the numbers spike around July 1, when many leases in Quebec end.

SPCA spokesperson Anita Kapuscinska said it's often not a case of heartless owners, but many factors can play into a decision to give up a beloved pet, such as Montreal's housing shortage. She noted that because landlords can pick their tenants, many prefer to select those who don't have pets.

“Leaving their animal behind in a shelter is not what they want to be doing. They want to be able to find a home that allows them to keep their companion,” she said.

Montreal Executive Commitee member Craig Sauve said that while the city annually appeals to people not to abandon their animals, the city doesn't have the power to adopt laws that could change the situation.

“I think there's probably a conversation that had to be had in Quebec with regards to laws specifying that owners can refuse animals,” he said. “That's what's happening. At the end of the day, animals are dying or being abused because of this housing crisis.”

Kapuscinska said one recent change is helping people keep their pets. As of last year, anyone who wishes to drop off an animal must make an appointment.

“Appointments for animal admissions give us the opportunity to speak with families and give them tips and advice to help them either keep their animal or find alternative solutions,” she said.

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