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'They deserve a home': Regina Humane Society struggles to keep up with dog intake

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The Regina Humane Society (RHS) is facing difficulties as the number of dogs in their care continue to increase.

“You’ve got these perfectly wonderful animals … and they deserve a home,” RHS spokesperson Bill Thorn told CTV News. “They’re not here because of a fault of their own. So I think frustrating is the one word I would use and it feels heavy sometimes too.”

The society is seeing a significant increase of the number of dogs in their care, something that can create a variety of problems for the facility, according to adoption councillor Jacquelyn Acaster.

“If we don’t have spaces up in adoption to move animals up from the back, it kind of bottlenecks and we’re just worried about maybe another intake freeze like we had back when COVID happened,” she explained. “No one wants to see that, it’s a whole other list of challenges that we don’t wanna face at this time.”

While many dogs are top of mind at the moment, the facility is seeing the number of cats steadily rise as well, which they fear might be the next problem to address.

The reasoning behind these high intake numbers could come from a variety of factors, according to RHS staff.

Increased cost of living, a veterinary shortage, housing problems, and the aftermath of many people adopting pets during the COVID-19 pandemic all play a part in the problem.

“All of those things have combined for kind of the perfect storm,” Thorn explained. “People aren’t able to keep their animals or in some cases, if they’re in here as a stray, they’re not being reclaimed.”

While the RHS has recently moved to their new, larger location in Harbour Landing, the new facility was never intended to house a larger number of animals.

“The current building, the new one, doesn’t hold a lot more than the other one did. The idea was not to build a big warehouse for animals. That’s not best practice, so it holds roughly the same, a little bit more but not that much more,” Thorn explained. “Most of the additional space is for things like education or a vet clinic, and public space like we’re standing in now.”

If the numbers continue to grow, the RHS may be forced to implement another intake freeze.

“We’ve been through a couple already in my time here. I tried not to think too hard on it because I can’t change anything about it so all we can do is just try to make sure that we get animals out as fast as possible,” Acaster said.

Currently, all dogs staying with the RHS are available for just $25 – in an effort to encourage adoptions.

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