During the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020-21, BC SPCA locations across the province were flooded with adoption applications as people sought the companionship and comfort of a pet to help them cope with the social isolation.
“When a puppy came into our care, we would have multiple applications – sometime up to 100 – within 24 hours,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA. “People were very keen to adopt, and this interest in adoption has remained strong until now.”
She says the summer has seen an abrupt slowdown in applications for all types of animals, including the puppies that were once so popular. “We currently have more than 1,500 animals in our care – about 700 in our shelters and the rest in volunteer foster homes,” says Chortyk. “During the summer we always have a huge influx of kittens needing homes, but this year we have so many other animals awaiting their forever homes as well.”
Chortyk says that the BC SPCA did not see the significant increase in surrendered animals experienced by other shelters across Canada following the pandemic. “We did not see this particular trend in our facilities, but we always have a lot of animals coming into our care on a daily basis through cruelty investigations, animal abandonment or strays who go unclaimed,” she says. “Our goal is always to find a wonderful home for these animals as quickly as possible.” The BC SPCA has adopted out more than 5,000 animals so far this year.
Chortyk notes that while dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are the most commonly adopted animals, the BC SPCA has a wide range of animals awaiting homes. “We currently have 110 rabbits available for adoption – more than twice the number we had at this time last year, as well as guinea pigs, hamsters and other small animals, horses and farm animals such as goats, pigs and chickens.”
“We have so many incredible animals in our care who want nothing more than to be part of a forever family,” says Chortyk.