Animal rescues in Nova Scotia warn of housing crisis forcing some to abandon pets

Animal welfare agencies warn that the number of people abandoning their pets is on the rise.

In Halifax, it is said that the housing crisis and the high cost of living are forcing some families to part with their animals. These shelters are now reaching capacity as requests for help continue to pour in.

The president of the Spay Day HRM Society says the region is facing a new cat crisis. Linda Felix says more and more animals are being abandoned due to policies prohibiting pets from owners.

“Apartment buildings are sold and the new owners suddenly declare that the building is animal-free,” Felix explains. “Tenants have the option of abandoning their pets or moving out. »

Felix recently took to Facebook to draw attention to the issue. She posted a photo of a cat named Carlos saying Spay Day had the “heartbreaking” task of accepting her from a crying boy and his family.

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Linda Felix is ​​the president of the Spay Day HRM Society.

Skye Bryden-Blom/World News

“Carlos was just the icing on the cake,” she says. “That day, we had already taken in three other cats from homeless situations. He was the fourth.

The Spay Day shelter is full and it’s not the only rescue facing high demand.

“We are getting a higher than normal volume of calls and these are usually people who are moving and need a home for their companions,” says Liesje Somers-Blonde, Executive Director of Bide Awhile Animal Shelter. Society.

She says owners can help protect their companions by owning a pet responsibly.

“If you continue to spay, vaccinate, microchip, deworm, treat fleas and ticks, maybe owners will be more willing to allow pets,” says Somers-Blonde.

Liesje Somers-Blonde is the executive director of the Bide Awhile Animal Shelter Society.

Skye Bryden-Blom/World News

Meanwhile, the Nova Scotia SPCA says pet abandonments have increased in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same time last year.

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Provincial animal care director Sandra Flemming says they are surrounded by more than 100 animals.

“Right now, we’re caring for an average of about 1,000 animals at our seven facilities across the province at any given time or anytime,” says Flemming. “We have about 230 animals on a waiting list.”

The SPCA says there are three main reasons pet owners give when they abandon their pet, including cost of living, housing, and unexpected litters.

The SPCA says that if you are considering adopting a pet from a shelter, now is the time to do so.

Spay Day wants to see Nova Scotia follow Ontario and include a rule in its Residential Tenancies Act preventing landlords from refusing pets.

“There are people who live in their car because they can’t find an apartment with their little dog – and a lot of them are elderly people,” says Felix. “It’s just heartless, absolutely heartless.”

In a statement, the province did not say whether it plans to adopt the policy, but it acknowledged that nothing in the law requires owners to allow pets.

“A landlord can introduce a landlord rule, such as a no-pets clause, at the start of a tenancy,” says Geoff Tobin, communications consultant for Service Nova Scotia. “They can add/change a rule mid-lease, but they must give four months’ notice from the tenant’s anniversary date (the date they signed their lease) to let them know of the change.

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The province encourages anyone who feels they have not received a new landlord rule correctly to contact the Director of Residential Tenancies.

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