The sharp rise in the cost of living is resulting in an increase in the number of animals left in shelters, according to the Montreal SPCA.
Its executive director Sophie Gaillard said about 20 animals are abandoned every day at the shelter for financial reasons, a reality that other organizations also experience daily.
Since the beginning of the year, the Montreal SPCA has taken in 113 more cats and 81 more dogs than for the same period in 2022.
“It’s not necessarily that people are irresponsible or that they no longer love their animals,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “It’s people who are forced to give up their pets because they can’t afford to take care of them.”
The difficulty of finding affordable housing that accepts animals, a job loss, high veterinary fees, a separation and other life issues can lead a person to have to give their companion animal over to a shelter.
Many pet owners underestimate the actual cost of adopting a dog or cat, especially since pets have an average life expectancy of a dozen to fifteen years.
“It’s not for everyone,” Gaillard acknowledged.
“In addition to the initial cost of acquiring an animal, there are other costs to consider: food and treats, grooming, training courses, the purchase of a litter box, toys, crates, scratching posts and other accessories,” said the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), which has jurisdiction over pets, on its website.
In addition, there are basic vet costs such as vaccination, deworming and sterilization, as well as other treatments that may arise if the animal is injured or has health problems.
According to figures provided by the Association of Veterinary Physicians of Quebec, it costs approximately $2,300 annually for an adult cat and $2,700 for an adult dog to meet their basic needs. That amount can vary from one breed to another and from one animal to another.
The cost is higher for young animals, who need more care in their first year of life.
– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 24, 2023 and was written with the financial assistance of the Meta Fellowship and The Canadian Press for news.