2023 is turning out to truly be the year of the dog. At the GTHS and around the country, dog and puppy homelessness has steadily risen leaving many Humane Societies and shelters at 100% 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. 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.
Bimonthly, I meet with the Ontario Animal Welfare Network, a group of 16 SPCAs and Humane Societies that work together to improve animal welfare through resource sharing, collaboration and support. Together, we are brainstorming ways to help more dogs (and cats of course), and some exciting plans are in motion (stay tuned!)
In the meantime, please enjoy our recent Quarterly Impact Report that highlights our activities throughout the first half of 2023. Please spread the word about the pets in our Animal Centre that are patiently waiting for homes. If you run into a GTHS volunteer, please THANK them, as their efforts and dedication mean the world to our pets.
Highlights from the report (time period January to June 2023)
- 1,937 pets served through programs and services.
- A very successful Walk for Pets event, supporting day-to-day operations at the Animal Centre.
- Attracted three new members to our Board of Directors.
- Treasure Tails continues to raise thousands of dollars due to generous donations and dedicated volunteers
- The GTHS sheltered 655 animals in the first half of 2023, which is 23 more pets than 2022.
- 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 by cats (to an average length of stay of 22.6 days).
- 176 pets have been fostered by dedicated volunteers so far this year.
- 492 have been adopted in 2023, 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.
- HOT OFF THE PRESS! The Town of Blue Mountains council approved the GTHS as a pound provider for the municipality. This means once a contract is signed, the GTHS will accept stray dogs from the Town of Blue Mountains.
- Lost & Found services moved to a platform on the website, which highlights found and stray pets in ‘real time’. Stray pets entering the GTHS are also shared on the main Facebook and Instagram platforms to harness the power of the community to help us reunite families.
- 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. We anticipate moving to a 5 day a week model in the Fall.
- End of Life services became available to the public during the second quarter of 2023, as a humane and dignified service for financially limited pet parents to offer a peaceful goodbye to their beloved pet.
- Registered veterinary student completed a 3-month practicum at the GTHS animal hospital and was subsequently hired as a casual vacation and sick time coverage employee.
- Twice the number of rabies vaccinations and microchips have been given due to an increased number of rabies and vaccination clinics. Stay tuned for a ‘mega’ event in the Fall!
- Saugeen Shores Access to Care project, funded by PetSmart Charities of Canada, is well underway (don’t miss the press release). The purpose of the PetSmart Charities Grant is to increase access to veterinary care for a community that has been historically excluded. With an estimated population of 1,400 residents, and a minimum of 100 dogs, the desire and need for access to spay/neuter surgeries is great.
- Pet Pantry now has 6 depots for pet parents to access food in the community. They can be found at the Collingwood Library, Collingwood Ontario Works building, Collingwood Salvation Army, Collingwood Youth Centre, Wasaga Beach Food Bank and the Wasaga Beach Library.
- The need for GTHS Pet Pantry is notable, with the service trending +23% over 2022, delivering 12,772 meals to pets in the community and 1,332 lbs. of litter.
- Humane Education Coordinator Molly, and her therapy dog Sasha, continue to impact youth in the community through story time visits at local libraries.
- 85 dogs received training through Dog School programs.
- $11,400 was spent to cover the cost of veterinary bills in emergency situations with the goal of keeping pets with their loving families.
- A new partnership with Hope Haven in Markdale has developed, delivering programming to youth with special needs. Topics include how to ask for consent before handling animals, how to handle kittens and how important the human-animal bond is to everyone.
- Online courses continue to be accessed by hundreds of youths in our community. So far this year, 370 youths have received their Junior Animal Welfare certification and 434 youth have completed the Responsible Pet Ownership course.
- In the first half of the year, 343 volunteers have dedicated 13,525 hours of services, which is the equivalent of 13 full-time employees.
- The total value of volunteer hours in Q1 and Q2 was $243,500.
- 89 new volunteers were recruited and received their training and onboarding.
- Multiple training sessions and department meetings were held by staff for volunteers.
Thank you for your unwavering support!
Executive Director, Georgian Triangle Humane Society