Animal adoptions slow post pandemic restrictions

Coquitlam Animal Shelter currently has a host of animals looking for their forever homes. Photos courtesy Petfinder

A chatty parrot; a “firecracker” of a pomsky mix who “lives life at 100 miles per hour”; a timid kitten; and a bunny named Mozzarella found outside a pizza joint.

These animals are part of a growing list of feathered, furred and scaled friends in Coquitlam looking for their forever homes.

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, animal adoptions in B.C. have slowed. 


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“When a puppy came into our care, we would have multiple applications — sometimes up to 100 — within 24 hours,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA. “People were very keen to adopt, and this interest in adoption has remained strong until now.”

The same trend is being noticed by the City of Coquitlam’s animal shelter, which also works with BC SPCA. The shelter, located at 500 Mariner Way, cares for all the stray animals found in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. The shelter also cares for animals that are surrendered. 

Aaron Hilgerdenaar, bylaw enforcement and animal services manager, says he’s noticed a downturn in local adoptions. Animals are staying longer. Even dogs that would be classified as “highly adoptable” are spending longer terms at the shelter than usual. He says the trend began about the time when pandemic restrictions started to loosen and more people returned to their typical work schedules.

Baxter the bunny is just one of the animals at the Coquitlam Animal Shelter waiting to be adopted. Photo courtesy Petfinder

It’s not just cats and dogs at the shelter either. Currently, the facility has a fluffle of rabbits, a band of birds and a guinea pig. 

They did have a heart-warming success story early this month. Gemma, an elderly husky who was surrendered to the shelter last year, was adopted by a family on Vancouver Island. She spent 366 days at the shelter.

The shelter is a maximum adoption facility, meaning staff aim to match up animals with suitable homes and only resort to euthanizing if it’s necessary for the condition of the animal.

Hilgerdenaar encourages those thinking about getting a pet to check out local shelters first. 

To see the current animals available for adoption, click here.

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