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Kingston, Ont. Humane Society so overwhelmed with pets it can't accept any more

The Kingston Humane Society says it is overwhelmed with dogs and cats and the situation is so dire that it will stop accepting animal surrenders from the public for a week while they figure out what to do next.

Right now, it has 248 animals in its care, far more than the 144 for which it has capacity.

Nine dogs have been brought to the shelter in the last two weeks alone. Operations manager Sandra Scouten says the humane society is being forced to close its doors to the public for a few days to stem the tide.

"Truly alarming to have this many animals in our care, more than we can house," she says. "If our foster families went away, it would be a problem."

Scouten says the closure is about giving staff more time to find homes for the animals that are already in their care. But it also means they won't be able to take any more surrenders from the public during that time.

"We want to make sure that they are able to follow up on applications, to process them, do reference checks," Scouten says. "It's really important that we do our due diligence to help find that right fit for that furry family member."

Diamond, a happy and healthy boxer, is one of more than 50 dogs in the care of the Kingston Humane Society right now. Executive Director Gord Hunter says she's patiently waiting for her forever home.

"She's kinda quiet," he explains. "I've never heard her bark, she's a sweetheart."

Diamond came to the humane society from a veterinary clinic because her vet bills were so high after she lost a leg to cancer that her owners were forced to give her up.

"We're seeing that more and more," he says. "We're getting calls from local clinics where people are bringing their animals in for care and when they recognize that it's going to be $1,000 or $2,000 for that particular animal to get properly treated, they can't afford that."

Hunter says the surge in pets at the humane society is caused by an "imperfect storm" of factors.

"We're not the only ones in this boat; every animal welfare organization in Ontario, and probably across Canada, are experiencing something similar," he says.

"They've had more animals than they've ever had. They're trying to get animals into homes, and they have spiraling costs they have to deal with. They have owners that can't afford care or, if they got a pandemic animal, they didn't really consider what life would be like once they returned to – quote, unquote - normal life. So all those situations have combined."

The closure is expected to last until Saturday at least. Hunter says during the closure they will be available for drop-offs of strays by the municipal pound services.

Now happy, healthy, and cancer-free, dogs like Diamond are hoping to find that forever home in that time.

"Hopefully by the end of the week we're able to move those animals out and make some more room," Hunter said. Top Stories


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