Calgary pet shelters at capacity and seeking help from Calgarians

Calgary animal welfare organizations are in crisis and are looking to Calgarians for support; by considering either animal adoption or a number of actions to help ease the pressure on the animal care system.

Over the last few weeks, the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) has responded to large-scale animal seizures resulting in their shelter being over-capacity, with a waitlist and backlog for surrender requests. Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) is currently responding to a distemper outbreak in dogs in their shelter, and is at shelter capacity for cats they can care for.

The City of Calgary’s Animal Services is overwhelmed with the volume of recent stray animals received, and calls for response to strays continue. Due to these multiple compounding factors, pet shelters, humane societies and rescue shelters in Calgary and the surrounding area are full.

The City of Calgary and partnering organizations are asking Calgarians to help the local pet population by considering a number of outlined actions for the current climate.

For timely family reunions:

  • Ensure your pet is licensed to help The City of Calgary reunite you if your pet escapes (the first ride home is a benefit of your licence).
  • Have additional identification for your pet (vanity tags, microchip or tattoo).
  • Double check that your address and phone numbers are current under your pet’s licence or identification.
  • Look for your pet if it is lost; check with neighbourhood veterinary clinics, on, social media groups for postings of local found pets (The City of Calgary Animal Services group on Facebook), and consider lost pet posters.

Avoiding shelters:

  • Please consider not surrendering your pet if not absolutely necessary:
    • Try to work through issues or ask friends and family for help.
    • Consider food assistance resources including AARCS Pet Food Bank and Parachutes for Pets. 
  • If you are having behavioural issues (ie: chewing on household items, food bowl guarding, barking, reactivity to other animals) seek help through online resources or a local pet trainer.
  • Make sure your yard is in good condition and secure, and do not leave your pets unsupervised in your yard.
  • Keep your cats indoors, they do not need to go outside unless you have a cat run or is supervised.
  • Do not drop off healthy stray animals found in your neighbourhood at this time (a temporary measure to ensure space is available for distressed or injured animals).
  • If you find a healthy pet roaming, please leave them or post on social media sites such as YYC Pet Recovery, Calgary Dogs, and/or Lost Dogs, Cats & Pets.
  • If you find a stray cat or dog that is injured or in distress, call 311 or take it to a veterinary clinic.

Adopt, foster or donate:

  • Consider adopting a pet to make room for those in need. For June, AARCS and CHS have initiated ‘choose your own fee’ adoption events.
  • If you can’t adopt, please consider fostering an animal for one of the many animal welfare agencies in the city (AARCS and CHS are accepting new foster families as are other rescue organizations in Calgary). This gives a cat or dog the chance to be outside of the shelter environment while waiting to be adopted.
  • If you can, please donate to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, Calgary Humane Society, or MEOW Foundation.

The City of Calgary is temporarily suspending its Cat Trap program (to be re-instated once the animal crisis subsides).

The City of Calgary will soon temporarily reinstate dog adoptions (by appointment only), to support shelter partners experiencing capacity issues. More information on how to make appointments will be made available at soon.