Unwanted COVID-19 pets fill up Vancouver Island rescues

Unwanted COVID-19 pets fill up Vancouver Island rescues
WatchSome of the newest victims of the pandemic are COVID-19 pets, that were adopted in droves and now have ended up overflowing Vancouver Island rescues. Skye Ryan has more.

Pets that have been adopted during the pandemic have started to pour into Vancouver Island rescues at a rate that rescuers can’t keep up with.

“Everyday, multiple animals a day,” said Leah Moore of Flying Fur Animal Rescue in Parksville.

“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she continued.

A 12-year-old dog was surrendered by its owner to Flying Fur Rescue on Saturday because its owners wanted to take a vacation.

“This year, we’ve had such an influx of people not having time for their pets, their new pets,” said Moore.

“With the numbers coming in right now, it’s crazy,” said Penny Stone of the Victoria Humane Society.

Stone said the influx of unwanted pets after the pandemic is becoming her worst fears realized.

“Unfortunately, the situation’s at crisis mode. We are full up, we overflow, it’s very hard, we’re taking waiting lists now. For us, it’s really sad because we know when we take these waitlists for these animals, we are kind of their last chance,” said Stone.

The same is happening to large animals as well.

Horses have been dumped at auction this fall in numbers they’ve never seen before, according to Duncan-based horse rescue Humanity for Horses.

“They’re going to slaughter at record numbers right now … because of COVID … [and]  the drought,” said Rebecca Sanesh of Humanity for Horse Rescue & Rehab.

This summer’s drought has led to feed shortages on the prairies that have doubled the price of grain and hay.

Yet, the Island rescue can’t help anymore horses because the farm it’s based at is being sold.

So, the non-profit is looking across the eastern part of Vancouver Island for a new barn with up to forty acres to rent long-term, but the tight real estate market is adding another major hurdle with an impending deadline of Dec. 15 to be out of their current property.

“What are we going to do with these little muffins here? I don’t know where we’re going to put them. We’re at an absolute loss right now,” said Sanesh.

Rescues are urging people to consider an animal in need if they are looking to adopt and to understand the life commitment that should come with them.

Since CHEK News first shared the story Sunday, donations and offers to adopt unwanted COVID-19 pets have poured in.

“The phone’s been ringing off the hook and it’s just incredible the amount of people that are looking to adopt,” said Leah Moore of Flying Fur Animal Rescue and Refuge.

Empty animal cages pile up at the Flying Fur Animal Rescue in Parksville as people discard pets that were adopted during the early phases of the pandemic. (CHEK News)

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