Adoption numbers have skyrocketed at the Maple Ridge branch of the SPCA during the COVID-19 crisis.
Currently, in-branch, there is only one cat, two guinea pigs, one rabbit and a dog, and all are spoken for, at the moment.
“We can’t keep animals in our branch right now,” said Krista Shaw, branch manager of the BC SPCA in Maple Ridge.
“We’ll put them online, then within five hours we’ll have 20 applications,” said Shaw from the office on Jackson Road where visitors are only allowed by appointment only.
However, animals that are boarding for emergency reasons at the shelter, have been on the rise. These are animals that require boarding for a couple of weeks due to a house fire, flooding, an owner having to go into hospital or some other reason that would prevent their owners from taking care of them.
Normally the Maple Ridge shelter would see maybe five emergency boarders in a year.
But so far they have two and are possibly expecting one more that they were supposed to take in last Friday.
“That would be a first having three emergency boards in our care at the one time,” said Shaw.
What is concerning for Shaw is the drop in fundraising and donations to the branch. Money that goes towards operating costs and animal care.
The average cost of care for a dog at the shelter, whether they are at the branch for 24 hours, or a month, is $750, said Shaw.
Evening for Animals, one of the local shelter’s premiere fundraising events in April was cancelled indefinitely this year. They were hoping to raise $12,000.
And this years Lock-In for Love will be going virtual.
Instead of participants being locked up in kennels at the shelter where they would have to phone friends and family to raise money to get them out. This year they will be doing it from the comfort of their homes. Last year Lock-In for Love raised $6,000 for the Maple Ridge animal shelter and Shaw is hoping to still do the same this year, although she admits that being at home doesn’t have the same impact as being in a kennel.
They have also lost the exposure they would have had attending community events that have since been cancelled due to COVID-19, or reduced in scope.
However, Shaw has seen an increase in pet food donations through their Amazon Wish List, where donors can choose what they want to give and it is shipped directly to the shelter.
Another consequence of the COVID-19 crisis is that their low-cost spay and neuter program has had to be put on hold temporarily because it is considered an elective surgery for animals. And also because the personal protective equipment and anesthetics that would normally be used during such an operation, are the same required in hospitals.
So, every animal that is adopted out of the shelter will get a voucher for when surgeries are taking place again and staff at the Maple Ridge branch will be following up with all animals adopted out to make sure it gets done.
For more information about making a donation call 604-841-2542 or go to spca.bc.ca/locations/maple-ridge.
Lock-In for Love takes place May 13 to June 13. To register go to lockin.spca.bc.ca.