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Pepper. Image: Regis Phillips

Anoth­er big year of ani­mal rescues: N.B. SPCA

By Regis Phillips Apr 19, 2024 | 1:29 PM

This year is shap­ing up to be anoth­er record-break­ing year of ani­mal seizures and rescues, according to officials with the New Brunswick SPCA.

Tony Porter, chief ani­mal pro­tec­tion offi­cer, said the last four years have seen a 27 per cent increase in ani­mal pro­tec­tion calls.

“In 2020, we had rough­ly 3,000 calls, and the num­ber of calls has since climbed each year. To date, we are up 149 calls from this point last year, which means 2024 is on track to be even busier,” said Porter.

He believes the rising number of cases is due to people acquiring more pets dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic when there was an increase of peo­ple work­ing from home.

Now, with most of them going back to work­ing in-per­son, officials are see­ing an increase of calls relat­ed to aban­don­ment and ani­mals run­ning at large.

The SPCA noted that offi­cers are also see­ing cas­es where ani­mals are neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed by the scarci­ty of afford­able rental accom­mo­da­tions.

Porter said the organization received 365 reports of pets being aban­doned in homes, apart­ments or out­side last year, which is more than dou­ble the 141 calls received in 2022.

“Times are get­ting tougher, eco­nom­ic con­di­tions are not eas­ing up,” Porter added. ​“The last three or four years have put sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure on pet own­ers. They are try­ing to cope with being able to afford hous­ing, gro­ceries and child­care. Some­times, ani­mals are not the top pri­or­i­ty, and they are not being looked after properly.”

In some situations, he said the ani­mals were found in very poor con­di­tion or deceased, and more ani­mals have been left to fend for them­selves in the outdoors.

Porter added the orga­ni­za­tion wants to help peo­ple keep their beloved pets in their homes. He encour­ages pet own­ers to reach out to fam­i­ly, friends, local ani­mal shel­ters and the SP­CA if they are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty feed­ing or car­ing for their pets.

“We want peo­ple to reach out to fam­i­ly mem­bers to see if they can get any help. It may be hard to ask for help, but no one will judge them for doing that,” Porter said.

“We want peo­ple to do the right thing for their pets and we’re here to help as much as possible. That said, we are a provin­cial­ly man­dat­ed enforce­ment unit and peo­ple who will­ful­ly neglect or abuse their pets will face enforce­ment actions.”

Any­one who wit­ness­es exam­ples of ani­mal neglect or abuse is encour­aged to report these issues to the New Brunswick SP­CA.