A trend being experienced at many Manitoba animal shelters is unfolding here in the Pembina Valley. Like other organizations, the Pembina Valley Humane Society (PVHS) is reporting a high number of dogs and cats being surrendered or returned this year.
"It's honestly what we expected," said Alesha Unrau, Animal Care Coordinator at PVHS. "With everybody being home for an extended period of time, there was a big rush of adoptions or people going out to buy puppies and kittens and so, we were expecting that once things with COVID kind of settled down and returned to normal that there would be at least some returns or some requests to surrender but it's been quite shocking actually just how high the requests have been."

In all of 2021, there were 13 pets returned to the shelter. That number is only expected to increase in 2022 with 14 animals having already been returned in the first six months.

"We never usually had to have dogs on a (an intake) waitlist, but this year we have about six or seven and the requests keep rolling in daily," added Unrau. As it stands right now, people will be waiting about a month or longer before there's room for their dog at the shelter, and 6+ months for cats.

"People will never tell us directly that it's directly related to the pandemic. It's mostly that they don't have time anymore and so in that sense, it kind of associates back to going back to work and they're busy going camping now that they can go on holidays, all of that stuff."

Unrau admits, it's been a struggle trying to keep up with these requests combined with the high number of animals she says remain unclaimed in local pounds. Additionally, while adoptions remain consistent, she says they are slower than they'd like to see. 

Fosters are greatly needed to help manage the demand. Click here for more information.