'People were very keen to get pets during the isolation of COVID and we saw an increase in the number of people breeding animals'
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SPCA care centres across B.C. are dealing with an influx of puppies and dogs from a bunch of breeders who began operating during the pandemic.
Several shelters in the Interior recently took in 21 healthy golden retrievers, including 17 puppies, the latest in an influx of dogs.
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“The B.C. SPCA is dealing with a record number of large-scale intakes of dogs and puppies, as individuals who set up breeding operations during COVID are closing down their operations,” says Eileen Drever, senior officer for protection and stakeholder relations at the SPCA.
“People were very keen to get pets during the isolation of COVID and we saw an increase in the number of people breeding animals during that time,” said Drever. “Now that people are back to work and to their regular routines, the market has dropped off and we are getting calls for help from breeders who are overwhelmed with the number of animals in their care.”
Along with those who have voluntarily surrendered their pets, Drever said “animal protection officers are seeing an increase in complaints to the B.C. SPCA help line about the neglect of animals by overwhelmed breeders.”
The golden retrievers were given up by a breeder near Quesnel. “The individual did the right thing for the dogs by reaching out to us so that we could find new, loving homes for them,” said Drever.
She encouraged animal caretakers to contact them if they need help, while acknowledging the recent influx “is definitely putting a strain on our resources.”
She said younger animals need extra attention that places pressure on staff and the SPCA’s network of foster families who help care for them.
The puppies are being looked after at several SPCA locations and will be ready for adoption after medical clearance.
Anyone interested in adopting or donating to the care of all the animals can check the SPCA website.