The City of Selkirk’s Animal Retention Centre has been the temporary home to 157 dogs since the start of 2018, 25 of which in 2022 so far.
The city has maintained a remarkably high success rate in returning dogs to their homes – mostly because those dogs are identifiable through tattoos/micro chips and are licensed with the city making their owners contact information easily available to them. Dogs whose owners cannot be found are surrendered to shelters for re-homing.
Many factors contributing to influx of animal drop-off/Pick-up
Kristy Hill, the city’s Director of Protective Services, said that many people adopted dogs during the height of the pandemic and while they may have been home and able to care for the animals then, today what we’re seeing is a lot of dogs being given up due to families not having the time or just more work than they bargained for.
“We appreciate our continued partnership with animal rescues in the area, we know that they are facing an influx of animals – especially dogs – being surrendered or abandoned that were adopted during COVID-19.”
Many shelters have a current intake freeze due to the influx of animals being dropped off which has left people resorting to letting their animals loose in cities, towns and rural areas. There has also been an increase in animals being surrendered due to health factors when owners are unable or unwilling to pay for their treatment.
“Of the 25 dogs that have been with us this year, 19 were returned home and six were re-homed to a shelter.
By-Law goes above and beyond
“Taking care of animals in the centre is something our By-law Enforcement Officers care deeply about, and often go above and beyond checking-in when they’re off duty. While the centre is often empty, when we do have animals in our care, letting them outside and cleaning both the inside and outside spaces and filling water dishes is their first task of the day,”.
The City’s Responsible Pet Owner Bylaw 5358 states that after three days in city custody, the animal can be disposed of in any approved manner including euthanization, a measure the city never likes to take. In all cases euthanizing has been due to illness, injury or dogs have been deemed a danger to society.
How can the community help?
Hill said that while the city appreciates the offers to volunteer that some citizens have made, its not a practice the city can adopt for a few reasons, including the additional demand on resources for volunteer coordination, supervision, and training.
“While community members request to volunteer their time, it is not and cannot be an option as there is a great deal of liability associated with that and a great deal of training required. Our Bylaw Enforcement Officers have the training required paired with experience in dealing with various animal temperaments,” said Hill.
“Anyone wishing to help can do by ensuring their animals are licensed through the city for a quick and safe return home and by getting your pets tattooed or microchipped by your vet. You can also help by reaching out to a local animal shelter and becoming an animal foster or donating to their organization”.