Local rescues strained as Edmonton Animal Care & Control suspends admission of healthy animals – Edmonton


The Edmonton Animal Care and Control Center is temporarily suspending the admission of healthy pets and only accepting animals in distress, injured or sick due to understaffing due to illness .

The Edmonton City Establishment announced on Saturday that animal care and medical staff will focus on caring for animals already at the center, as well as those brought in by law enforcement officers or law enforcement officers. animals of the city of Edmonton.

In an emailed response to Global News, a city spokesperson said:

“The top priority of the Animal Care and Control Center is to protect the health and welfare of the animals in our care.

“The ACCC is made up of a small group of highly qualified veterinarians. This group of staff is not easily replaced. In recent days, three people have been unable to work due to illness. One is unrelated to COVID and the other two are awaiting COVID test results.

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“Our first priority is to ensure that we can continue to care for the animals currently in the facility as well as any who are injured, ill or in distress or who are brought in by officers under the APA. This forced us to temporarily suspend the acceptance of healthy stray animals.

“We have started to train employees from other business operations in other care roles so that they can perform critical care functions. We will try our best to communicate timely. We currently do not have a timetable for restoring suspended services, ”the city spokesperson said.

The North Edmonton facility will accept medically distressed, injured or sick animals by appointment. Anyone who finds an animal suffering from these conditions is urged to call 311 first for further instructions, the ACCC said.

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Edmonton residents who find lost animals are encouraged to try to find the owner of any healthy, lost or stray animal. If the animal is tagged with a license number, it can call 311 for owner information.

“As we are in a prolonged cold snap, if you are able to take care of the animal until you can reunite it with its owner, that would be appreciated.”

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The ACCC made a similar change in March 2020, which continued until May 25, 2020, the city spokesperson said. “At that time, the intake of healthy stray dogs resumed while the intake of cats was limited to priority intake only until June 15, 2020. At that time, the intake of healthy feral cats health was limited to priority intake only.

“Full services resumed in August 2021, when feral cat programs and in-person pet licensing were restarted. “

The ACCC’s shutdown to healthy animals is straining local relief organizations who say they are already full.

A litter of puppies groomed by Zoe’s Animal Rescue Executive Director Kath Oltsher in January 2022.


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Zoe’s Animal Rescue Society is a homeless group in Edmonton that relies on volunteers to house the animals they welcome.

Executive Director Kath Oltsher says the various rescues are talking to each other and all are struggling to keep up with the demand.

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There is always a need to house stray and abandoned cats, she said, but now is the time when disillusioned and overwhelmed new dog owners are also raising their hands in defeat.

“Dogs are a little tough right now too, mostly because with the pandemic puppies are being sent to the rescue now because so many people had so many puppies a year ago.”

A dog and her litter of puppies taken care of by Zoe’s Animal Rescue Executive Director Kath Oltsher in January 2022.


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Oltsher said the situation with cats is even worse. Usually, the rescue tries to have only 100 cats or less in their care, but on Monday she said they had around 180.

“In and around the city of Edmonton cats are our priority right now, simply because dogs are generally easier to find their homes – while cats are kind of the backdrop to the city. . “

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Although the organization is concerned about the animals it takes care of, Oltsher said the welfare of its volunteers is also of great concern.

“Mental health issues are something we all need to consider all the time and especially during the pandemic.

“One of the things about rescue is if you don’t have safe limits for yourself and your volunteers, you’re going to end up in situations where the animals aren’t being helped and neither are you. You will end up with too many animals.

Oltsher said the last two spaces in his own home had just been occupied by two street cats. She will no longer take in animals, nor will she ask her volunteers to take more than they can.

“It’s a job to take care of an animal, and we also really want to emphasize taking care of yourself as a human being.”

Two Edmonton street cats taken in by Zoe’s Animal Rescue Executive Director Kath Oltsher in January 2022.


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She said it was difficult to tell her volunteers that they could no longer take rescues.

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“We are often alone and it makes you feel like you are doing something important when you are helping an animal. So we are always looking for foster homes, but we would like to find new ones rather than trying to cram a few more into the ones we have.

The Animal Care and Control Center has asked pet owners to make an appointment by calling 311 before coming to the center to claim their lost pet.

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Homeowners must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter the building. If they cannot, they are asked to arrange for someone else to release / admit on their behalf.

These other people will also need to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative test result.

The city did not say how long the new procedures would be in place or exactly why the changes were implemented.

However, on its website, the city said several in-person services, including to Animal Care and Control, have been cut “to protect everyone’s health and safety.”

Vanessa Freeman is part of Community Cats Edmonton, which helps welcome and care for stray, feral and ownerless cats in the city. The organization collects the animals, sterilizes them and helps them prepare them for adoption.

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The rescue organization typically looks after 75 to 100 cats at one time. While Freeman said he currently has fewer than 75 cats in his care, calls for animal consumption have only increased in the past three to four days.

“Most rescues are currently closed for admissions or at full capacity,” she said. “The recent announcement of the closure of Animal Care and Control and the lack of healthy animals has put more pressure on rescues to step up and help.

“Rescues are trying to take more and more. “

She said the situation is of particular concern right now, as the city is going through a brutal cold spell.

“Any animal found outside at this time would be considered in distress,” Freeman said. “As a rescue there is not much we can do. We can keep trying to help where we can, to accommodate animals where we can, but many rescues are at full capacity. “

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.

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