Second Chance Animal Rescue is in crisis caring for an unprecedented number of homeless animals. The rescue shelter has close to 500 dogs and cats waiting to be homed.
“We’re facing the most severe situation in our 20-year history. We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Amanda Annetts, SCARS foster home coordinator.
Due to over-capacity, SCARS launched the Emergency Adoption Surge Campaign on Sunday, December 10. It aims to find a forever home for at least 200 animals before Christmas.
“Every adoption helps make our waitlist shorter. Right now, we have 250 animals on a waiting list. They’re strays being held in random places. Requests have come in for the animals to come to us,” Annetts said.
There are several factors leading to the crowded shelter. Economic pressures from the higher cost of living are leading some families to surrender their pets. Food, litter and veterinary bills have all increased in tandem with higher inflation.
Annetts also explained that during COVID, the shelter was unable to provide its spay and neutering program due to shutdowns. Fewer animals were rescued and as a result, many abandoned dogs and cats have reproduced adding to an already large homeless population.
“Now you can see COVID animals have litters of puppies and kittens, and you feel the backlash from all the animals that need help.”
SCARS was originally started in Northern Alberta to rescue the high number of stray dogs roaming the area. During the past two decades, many rescues living in St. Albert and the Edmonton Metropolitan Region have arrived from the north.
“At our Northern Alberta pound, they have access to food and water and an outdoor run. But it’s a limited access outdoor facility. It’s fenced and they’re protected from the snow, but it’s still outdoors,” said Annetts.
She added these animals are on a waiting list. Once more dogs and cats are adopted through the Morinville facility, then the northern animals can be trucked down south to the indoor shelter.
Every single animal accepted at SCARS is spayed or neutered, receives appropriate shots, is dewormed and is checked for fleas and ticks.
In December 2022, SCARS successfully adopted 150 animals. This year due to over-crowding, the rescue is aiming to adopt 200 pets. So far this month, 75 pets have been adopted.
Annetts, who owns three dogs and one cat as well as caring for fosters, adds there is one big benefit to adopting rescues.
“The rescued ones who have never had a home are more loving. They come fully vet-checked ready to start a happy, healthy life. They offer peace of mind, and they make wonderful companions. They’re always so excited to see you and hang out with you.”
She added if families are unable to adopt, fostering might be an option.
“We pay for vet care, supplies, food, a kennel – everything to care for a pet.”
The SCARS facility is closed to the public. However, families wishing to adopt, or foster can book an appointment on the website at www.scarscare.ca