Updates from the Eastern Townships SPA

By Gordon Lambie

Although moving time is known to be a problematic period for pet abandonment, Tamara Neeley of the Eastern Townships SPA said that this year doesn’t seem to have been too bad.
“This year it’s quite a bit different, maybe because of the COVID-19 situation,” the spokesperson said. “We’re thinking that probably a lot of people who were moving had some time to plan ahead and try to figure out some different places to go.”
Neeley said that May to October is typically a busy time for the SPA, but that the general trend in recent years is towards fewer issues around the traditional July 1 “moving day.”
“The major problem, which is still being addressed, is getting property owners and landlords to be open to accepting dogs into condos and apartments, she said. “We’re trying to provide people some tools to have discussions with landlords and have them accept animals under some conditions.”
The organization also sees a higher incidence of lost pets each year as people come and go from one living space to another and animals attempt to adjust to a stressful life change.

Heatwave care
With the current temperature forecasts ranging well into the 30s over the coming days and a summer outlook that is hot and dry in general, Neeley reminded pet owners to take care of their animals.
“The number one rule, and we say it every year, is to not have your animal in your car with you,” she said, explaining that People sometimes think it is better to have their animal with them during the day, ignoring the incredible heat that can be generated inside of a car. The SPA spokesperson also said that it is essential if someone sees an animal inside of a hot car to call the shelter as soon as possible. “We want to act immediately, because it only takes a few minutes and can be very deadly.”
Aside from keeping out of the car, Neeley advised pet owners to keep their animals hydrated, go for walks in the morning or evening rather than the middle of the day, offer them places to rest that are sheltered from the sun, keep hair short, and go swimming together as ways of staying cool.

Adoption protocol
Having adjusted their adoption system to help maintain physical distancing measures, Neeley said that the number one tip for people thinking of adopting an animal is to check the SPA website first.
“We always encourage citizens to try to visit our website first before coming here,” she said. “Right now we don’t have a lot of animals and when we do have them they get adopted very fast. We don’t want people to drive all the way up here only to discover that we only have one cat or a few rabbits.”
Although such a discovery might be disappointing for a family looking to adopt, she pointed out that low numbers is actually something positive for the shelter as it means lower rates of pet abandonment.

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