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Pandemic pets still being surrendered, animal care officials say

Patches and Crimson, both up for adoption, are seen during the Rescue Rendezvous event in London, Ont. on May 25, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London) Patches and Crimson, both up for adoption, are seen during the Rescue Rendezvous event in London, Ont. on May 25, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)
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It’s been nearly two years since London and area residents returned to nearly normal life after the COVID-19 pandemic turned many of us into temporary shut-ins.

However, pets that were adopted during the pandemic continue to be surrendered to local rescue agencies and the London Animal Care Centre, according to officials.

“I think with everyone wanting to adopt during the pandemic people started breeding them to cater to that demand,” explained Lisa Baer, animal care manager at London Animal Care Centre.

She continued, “But now, nobody can keep up with them so they’re being bred faster than we can find homes for them, unfortunately. They just go on Kijiji, things like that. They’re not being properly vetted, so they don’t tend to stay in the homes that they’re put in.”

The Animal Care Centre was taking part in London’s third Rescue Rendezvous event Saturday at the London Catty Shack.

Big Stepp, who's up for adoption, is seen during the Rescue Rendezvous event in London, Ont. on May 25, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

The event featured 20 cats currently up for adoption at the city’s adoption facility for feline friends. A husky pup named Patches and another named Crimson were also greeting visitors, hoping for a forever family to take them home.

Baer said local rescue and adoption facilities are heading into a busy season for both dog and cat intake.

“Summer time especially, ‘kitten season,’ as we call it. It’s non-stop cats and kittens. We’ve seen a pretty good increase in dog intake as well, so there’s always lots of dogs looking for new homes. I know all the rescues are feeling that same strain,” she said.

The city describes the Catty Shack as a “temporary home for healthy, well-adjusted and vaccinated cats.”

Wade Jeffery, manager of community compliance and animal welfare services said many would-be pet owners are not even aware it exists.

The Rescue Rendezvous pet adoption event took place in London, Ont. on May 25, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

“They’re not 100 per cent sure they knew about the Catty Shack,” said Jeffery. “The Catty Shack is a facility that is owned by the city and run by London Animal Care, and it houses wonderful cats and kittens up for adoption, and it’s a great place to come and find your next furry friend.”

For those thinking of adopting a pet, Baer advises to do your homework, and make sure you’re ready for the responsibilities of welcoming a new member into your family.

“Do your research. Keep in mind that it is a big commitment. Pets live a long time so it’s not something that you want to adopt a pet just to keep for a year or two. It’s something that you want to commit to and keep up your entire life. There’s a lot of expenses and a lot of research to make sure you’re getting the right pet for your family,” she explained.

The Catty Shack is located at 756 Windermere Rd., at the northwest corner of Adelaide Street North and Windermere Road.

The Catty Shack, located at 756 Windermere Rd. in London, Ont. is seen on May 25, 2024. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

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