Q&A: How Does a Shelter Reach Capacity?

In the first six months of 2018, Calgary Humane Society took in just over 2000 animals. As an open admissions shelter, we take in any animal that needs our help. This can lead to our facility quickly filling to – or going over – capacity at busy times of year.

 

Calgary Humane Society does not euthanize for space or time.

This means that all adoptable animals will stay with us until they find a home. To help as many animals as we can, we sometimes hold emergency adoption events to free up space for incoming animals. We also reach out to our invaluable foster families to find temporary placements for as many animals as possible outside of the shelter. Sometimes we will be able to work with other local shelters or rescues to transfer out some animals if they have space available.

 

A few different factors can lead to Calgary Humane Society being over capacity, including:

The time of year.

The biggest increase in intakes is in the summer. This is mostly due to the abundance of baby animals, especially kittens, that are born in the spring. This is also the time when people move before the start of a new school year, resulting in pet owners surrendering their animals because they are moving to no pet housing or won’t have enough time for their pet when the school season starts. Christmas and the holiday season can also be a busy time for Calgary Humane Society. This is when our Pet Safe Keeping and Emergency Boarding programs are most often utilized because of additional family and financial stress.

Seizures and natural disasters.

Calgary Humane Society took in over 120 animals during the 2013 flood, and some stayed in our care for up to 4 months until their owners were able to return to their homes or find other accommodation. A sudden intake during an emergency or following a large seizure can quickly fill all of our available animal spaces.

Economic conditions.

Calgary’s economy has made a significant impact on pet owners who may find themselves suddenly without a job, without the means to afford a pet, and maybe even without a home. Calgary Humane Society takes in these animals when owners find themselves in difficult situations and want to help their pet find a new family.

 

It is our goal to keep animals with their families. Thankfully many issues that lead to people surrendering their pet can be solved. Calgary Humane Society encourages anyone who feels like they have no other option to call us at 403-205-4455 to speak to our admissions department about potential alternatives to surrendering.