December 8, 2023

Pet Affordability Crisis — Ottawa’s Pets At-Risk

In case you haven’t heard, Ottawa is facing a pet affordability crisis. That rang through loud and clear when we consulted with our community early this fall to find out their thoughts on the biggest challenges facing pets and their people today. In fact, more than half of the 3,000 respondents cited cost of pet food and veterinary care as the biggest issues facing pet owners.

You can read the full report and findings on our website.

At the OHS, we’re seeing that pressure every day. Last week, we received more than 30 calls a day from people considering surrendering their pet — sometimes a single person will call needing to surrender multiple pets. Other communities whose shelters are overrun, are referring clients our way. 

Giving up a pet isn’t usually a decision someone wants to make. Our current programs from our pet food bank, to wellness clinics and subsidized spay/neuter service, are making a dent. We have heard first-hand, that these services have made it possible for some families to stay together and not make the heartbreaking decision to give up their pet.

As an open-admission shelter, we will never turn an animal away. When our resources are stretched, we will work with owners who can’t keep their pet to delay admission wherever possible, as we must remain available to those animals in distress who need us immediately. One of the best ways we can do that, is by helping to keep pets in homes with those who love them.

Where a pet is loved and cared for, let them stay.

Sharon Miko
President & CEO