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Pet fostering on 'paws', Humane Society says

While many people might be looking for animal companions while they're self-isolating, the Edmonton Humane Society has held off many of its programs.

The Edmonton Humane Society has suspended most of its operations and the entire facility is also closed for the time being. It’s all part of the concerted local effort to keep people and pets throughout the community healthy and safe by preventing the spread of COVID-19.

But what about the animals that were in care at the northwest Edmonton facility?

“We've moved many of them out into foster homes, but we do still have quite a few in care at the shelter,” explained CEO Liza Sunley, adding only essential core staff members (such as veterinarians, registered veterinary technologists, and animal care staff) are still on the premises tending to the menagerie.

As the pandemic crisis loomed earlier in March, the organization put out a call for applications for foster homes for those animals. That was a wildly successful spree and Sunley offered her deep appreciation to the members of the public who were so generous with their homes and their time to care for animals in need.

Some of those animals will return to the EHS, while some might stay longer with their foster families. Sunley considered the possibility that some of them will even choose to outright adopt their foster pets.

Those foster applications, like pretty much everything else, have now been suspended as well. People who applied to become a foster volunteer during that public call will be kept on the waitlist until the day when they are needed. Those who are still interested can sign up on its website to be notified when it will be once again accepting applications.

The EHS has had to press pause on all of its programs and services including adoptions, Bingo’s Pet Shop, Central Bark Dog Park, dog training classes and dog behaviour and training methodology courses, doggie daycare, humane education programs (such as field trips, tours, and birthday parties), and appointments for the PALS (Prevent Another Litter Subsidy) spay and neuter program.   

Until things return to normal and the pandemic abates, the best way to help the organization is with your pocketbook, but only if you can manage it in these tough economic times, Sunley added.

Such monetary donations can be made online through the society’s website at

Sunley added that people should also call ahead if they have a concern about a stray animal in St. Albert. They will be given advice on what to do with the possibility that some of them might need to come in to the society’s admittance, which is by appointment only.

Some animals, however, should just be left alone.

“With most of the stray cats, they tend to do better on their own where they are. I have to actually encourage people to leave them unless they are obviously injured or in distress. Of course, we want to be able to get them the care they need but if they're healthy and doing well, we encourage people to leave them where they are.”

The direct line for the Edmonton Humane Society is 780-471-1774.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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