'Extra busy': SCARS hosts adoption drive to create more shelter space for other rescues

An adoption event on Saturday helped connect 40 dogs and cats with new loving owners in Sherwood Park.

As Alberta animal rescue organizations struggle with more animals than available homes, Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) hosted an in-person adoption drive at the Sherwood Ford dealership to help create more shelter space.

"It's busy," said Sylvia Christiansen, SCARS executive director.

"It's always busy, but it's extra busy right now," Christiansen added. "It is kitten season right now so we're getting lots of moms and kits, lots of pregnant cats. The pounds are full. There's not enough space."

Pets are being turned into animal rescue organizations as many return to work in person and can no longer care for the animals they received during the pandemic. Across the province, many animal shelters are at or near capacity — the busiest some have been in years.

"We've seen a little bit of an uptick in cat adoptions," said Leigh McLean, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, Edmonton operations manager.

"They've been doing quite well but we definitely are still hurting for donations and hurting for volunteers and for foster homes," McLean said. "Dog adoptions are still struggling a little bit.

"We have found that we're still getting just as many surrender requests and just as many requests from communities (and) requests from other rescues," she added. "I think everybody is still struggling quite a bit."

Daniel Sande, with Sherwood Ford, told CTV News Edmonton said the dealership wanted to help out SCARS and connect people in the community with new furry friends.

"We thought it would be a good opportunity," Sande said.

A few months ago, Sande himself rescued a seven-month-old puppy named Nova.

"It just feels better in the heart," he said. "There's so many animals and so many creatures that just go out in the world without tender loving homes, and so to be able to give back is just something we enjoy doing."

Christiansen said the in-person adoption event was a huge success, saying events like these help empty cages, with every empty space another opportunity to rescue an animal.

"It's just a whole different experience that looking at a picture online," Christiansen said. "You can see what the animals are like. You can pet them, you can bring your children down, you can bring your other animals."