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Chatham animal shelter sees influx of strays, surrendered animals

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A Chatham-Kent animal shelter says it’s had a 30 per cent increase in the number of strays and 60 per cent increase in surrenders this year.

Pet and Wildlife Rescue officials say the “alarming trend” is putting added pressure on the shelter.

“To date, we have taken in over 500 dogs, which is a 30 per cent increase in the number of strays, as well as a 60 per cent increase in surrenders,” Myriam Armstrong, operations manager at Pet and Wildlife Rescue, said in a news release. “Providing care for dogs can be quite costly, between medical care and food. We are definitely seeing an impact to our operating budget.”

Armstrong believes the economy and the aftereffect of an adoption boom during COVID-19 is contributing to the increase.

“Rising costs are putting a strain on households, and we are seeing this as well in the increased usage of our pet food bank” Armstrong said. “We are also experiencing the fallout of the COVID pet adoption boom, where people are back to their normal lives and just don’t have the time or resources to give to a pet.”

The Windsor/Essex County Humane Society as well as other animal aid organizations have also reported an increase in animal surrenders as residents struggle with the cost of living and inflation.

Humane Society executive director Melanie Coulter told CTV News last month finances have become a more common motivator, with more people being unable afford to take care of a sick animal or just can’t afford care in general.

She also said veterinary care, especially unexpected costs can be a driving factor.

To help combat the rising costs experienced by Pet and Wildlife Rescue, the organization has recently launched ‘Under One Roof’ where funds raised will go toward the daily care of animals and replenish its emergency medical fund.

Those looking to help can donate online or call the Chatham office at 226-996-9969.  

-- With files from CTV News Windsor's Travis Fortnum

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