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Animal Homelessness

What is the state of Animal Homelessness across Canada? Looking to the 2019 Animal Statistics Report published by Humane Canada, we can see that hundreds of thousands of animals enter animal shelters each year. When this burden is too great, over-population challenges can lead to un-necessary loss of life for many pets in need of a home. This is something that we cannot allow to exist, as an organization. We work to ensure that no animal goes without a loving home, and no animal’s life is ended needlessly.

Animal homelessness and over-population have been challenges we have faced since our inception in 1887. Over more than a century, we have developed many programs and services to help combat these issues, with a goal of finding and then keeping pets in loving homes.

Over the past decade there has been substantial progress made towards eliminating pet homelessness across North America, driven primarily by strong advocacy for spaying and neutering and adopt don’t shop campaigns. These two steps have shown amazing advancements at increasing live release rates from animal welfare organizations across Canada and the United States. However, even with the great progress we have made, there is still much work to be done.

Prevalence of Pet Over-Population

In Ontario, every year more than 40,000 animals are entering animal shelter agencies relinquished by their owners or found as strays. The problem is still very much present in our province, however we benefit from strong social support in our communities and support of adoption which aids in our capacity as an industry to ensure that they find forever homes. So strong is our community’s desire to welcome pets into their families that we are able to support other more national, and North American wide programs to end animal homelessness.

To understand the bigger picture of prevalence, we lean on organizations such as Humane Canada, to identify and measure the scale of the problem in our country, as well as organizations such as Best Friends in the United States who tracks prevalence through their “Pet life-saving dashboard”. Through these tools we can see the state of the challenge that we need to overcome.

A challenge that is still very real and present across North America with hundreds of thousands of animals still losing their lives annually due to homelessness.

What Causes Animal Homelessness?

Un-controlled over-population tops the list, however it is not there alone.

Access to pet care, the allowed continuation of un-ethical breeding and “puppy mills”, municipal policies that stand in the way of humane community cat management, lack of permanent pet identification, and flawed municipal “animal control” policies across North America continue to contribute to pet homelessness and death each and every year.

What Can be Done?

  • Development and growth of programs and services for pet parents that focus on strengthening and preserving the human-animal bond, rather than severing it and starting from scratch. Programs like our Pet Parent Support Network, Accessible Veterinary Services, Ethical Training and Behavioural Counselling and Urgent Care Fostering.
  • Strong and continuous advocacy to fight for sound and humane government policy on animal welfare, elimination of un-ethical breeding, and striking of barriers to humane community cat management.
  • Raising public awareness on animal welfare issues like the importance of microchipping, the prevalence of un-ethical breeders, and the importance of spaying and neutering, among many others.

Improving the Lives of Animals and Ending Pet Homelessness

We continue to improve the lives of animals far and wide. This includes those both within the City of Toronto and those beyond the city limits.

Together we can improve the lives for more animals by supporting program development, advocacy and generating awareness to combat pet homelessness.

Together, we can make a difference. Together, as a community, we can improve the lives of animals each and every day.

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