Statement on Toronto Humane Society Situation

The Calgary Humane Society is saddened to learn of the situation leading to charges against the Toronto Humane Society.

 “All responsible animal welfare and rescue organizations must make difficult choices based on what their resources allow them to do,” says Patricia Cameron, Executive Director of the Calgary Humane Society. “This situation demonstrates what can happen when the desire for low euthanasia rates takes precedence over the well-being of animals in care.”

 “The rhetoric of ‘no-kill’ may pull at the heart and purse strings, but there is such a high rate of animal abandonment, homelessness, neglect and abuse in our society that responsible organizations must either limit admissions, or euthanize animals when they become overcrowded, or risk becoming hoarding facilities,” says Cameron.

 "Those responsible organizations that choose to limit admissions so as to conform to a ‘no-kill’  model – in other words that turn away animals when they are full – have another set of hard decisions to make; who do they turn away? And all responsible organizations euthanize when suffering and medical reasons require this hard decision to be made.”

The Calgary Humane Society is the only open admission shelter in the city, meaning that no animal in need is ever turned away. While there are no time limits on how long an animal remains in care, space constraints do periodically dictate the need for euthanasia.  

“It also means that when intakes surpass our capacity to care responsibly for all these animals, as they do periodically every year, we explore all possible options – fostering and transfer to another group that has space, for example. But when these fail, we make the hard decisions,” says Cameron.

“We no longer euthanize dogs, birds, or reptiles for space related reasons, because these populations are smaller, but the number of homeless cats is overwhelming and so euthanasia is a continuing reality of our lives.”   CHS shelters about 8,500 animals every year, about 6,000 of these are cats. “The realities are tremendously hard on our staff, who are all here because they love animals.”

“Animal homelessness, neglect and abuse are community problems and take community solutions,” says Cameron. “We hope the plight of the animals at Toronto Humane Society encourages the public to become responsible pet guardians and spay and neuter their pets. Our dream is that one day there are no more homeless animals.”

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