If you can no longer care for your beloved pet, the Nova Scotia SPCA says you should to do the right thing and surrender, not abandon your animal.

Jo-Anne Landsburg, leader of the SPCA Enforcement Team, said the shelter understands that people’s lives change and situations come up that mean they cannot properly provide what their furry friend requires.

“It could be somebody maybe losing their job and they’re financially insecure at the time. It may be that they have to move or they have to care for a loved one and they’re just not able to provide that support for that animal. That’s OK. We’re not going to judge you on that,” said Landsburg.

“What we want you to do is do the right thing for your pet and surrender it to us and we can find a new home for that animal.”

Landsburg said there are some misconceptions around surrendering an animalto the SPCA, including that there is a fee.

“We will take them no charge,” she said.

Landsburg says another common misconception is that people think if they surrender their pets to a shelter they’ll be euthanized.

“Unless there is a medical illness where there’s no treatment and the animal is suffering, that’s the only time we would put an animal down,” she said.

Landsburg said people also tend to believe that if the animal is older, no one would want to adopt it.

“That’s completely false,” she said. “We actually have a palliative care program where we’ll take in senior pets with medical concerns, we basically put them out into foster care… we still will continue to provide all of the medical care and support, vet treatments, food. All the person has to do is provide love.”

Landsburg said she also finds that even though someone can’t care for them, some people don’t want their animals to be in a shelter environment. She said in addition to the foster care options that are available, the SPCA is able to get a pet treated, spayed or neutered and be placed up for adoption quickly.

The Nova Scotia SPCA takes in approximately 6,000 animals across the province annually.

“Currently right now, our numbers in all of our shelters are very low,” said Landsburg. “Basically you can just call us for an appointment and you can come in and you can surrender your animal at any one of our shelters at any time right now. We don’t have any waiting lists.”

There were two recent cases in the Yarmouth area where animals were abandoned. One involved a dog who died after being left in a crate on Cheboque Road. The other involved a cat that was found cold, wet and covered in urine inside a box outside of the local mall. The cat survived and has been renamed Zelda.

“There is never an excuse to abandon a pet,” said Landsburg. “Give it a chance with us and we can make sure it gets the care and a new loving home.”