Animal homelessness on the rise

 In Community, Uncategorised

At the Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS), and around the country, dog and puppy homelessness has steadily risen leaving many Humane Societies and shelters at 100 per cent capacity every single day. 

“At our Animal Centre, we are hearing stories of puppies abandoned in the countryside, and dog owners are admitting to releasing their dogs so animal control will pick them up, because waitlists are too long,” explains Sonya Reichel, GTHS executive director. “Pet parents are struggling with housing and are living pay cheque to pay cheque. Simultaneously, fewer people are opting to bring a puppy into their lives, leaving backyard breeders or ‘oops’ litters no choice but to turn to Humane Societies to care for their rapidly growing puppies.” 

Reichel has been working with the Ontario Animal Welfare Network (OAWN), a group of 16 SPCAs and Humane Societies that work together to improve animal welfare through resource sharing, collaboration, and support. Together, the OAWN is brainstorming ways to help more animals, and Reichel hints, “some exciting plans are in motion – stay tuned!” 

When asked how the community can support the GTHS through its ongoing capacity challenges, Reichel responds, “if you, or anyone you know, are looking to welcome a dog into your family or are interested in joining the GTHS Foster Volunteer Team, visit to learn more about the dogs available for adoption, or to fill out a Foster Volunteer application form. Also, if you run into a GTHS volunteer, please thank them, as their efforts and dedication, at a combined 13,525 hours of service so far this year, mean the world to our pets.” 

To learn more about GTHS impact and activities throughout the first half of 2023, you can access the GTHS Q2 Impact Report at 

  • 1,937 pets served through programs and services. 
  • The GTHS sheltered 655 animals, which is 23 more pets than 2022. 
  • 492 have been adopted, with the adoption return rate increasing (4 more cats returns and 5 more dogs returns over 2022). Observations around the return rate center around more challenging medical and behavioural cases entering the shelter system. 
  • Length of stay in the shelter increased by an average of 3 days for dogs (to an average length of stay of 19.4 days) and decreased by an average of 6 days for cats (to an average length of stay of 22.6 days). 
  • The GTHS animal hospital conducted 1,150 spay/neuter surgeries, which is 195 less than 2022, due to staffing shortages and operating at a 4 day per week model. A 5 day a week model is anticipated to begin in the Fall. 
  • 176 pets have been fostered by dedicated volunteers. 
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