SPCA | Pet Abandonment – A Important Global Issue

Images done to help prevent pet abandonment for all SPCAs across Canada.

Every day around the globe, hundreds of thousands of animals are abandoned by their owners. In a statement to Global News in 2023, Parks Canada said in addition to domestic dogs and cats, park staff are seeing rabbits, reptiles and other exotic animals left behind at Rouge National Urban Park, near Toronto, with a three-fold increase in recent years. This happens around the world every day.

Leaving dogs and cats behind harms the animals, their owners and shelters.

Abandoned animals face an uncertain and stressful future. The fate of abandoned pets is almost always tragic. For puppies and kittens that are not weaned, this is a death sentence. Stray animals are likely to be thirsty, hungry and exposed to extreme weather conditions. Without veterinary care, shelter and food they will become sick and die. Animals that are not neutered when dumped, will contribute to an already existing stray animal overpopulation; their offspring will be born into a life on the streets, fighting for their survival.

Shelters are severely impacted financially and become a financial burden for governmental and non-governmental organizations. This burden increased due to people dumping their animals during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Apart from the financial side, shelters reach their full capacity of animals and may resort to using euthanasia.

Dumping a pet is for many owners very upsetting and have a long-term impact. It can push the owner and their family into an emotional crisis. Especially children suffer when their pet is suddenly taken away from them. Many people who have surrendered their animals to animal shelters feel guilty and ashamed as if they had failed and betrayed their pet, who depended on and trusted them. People that abandon their pets, know they are doing something wrong. They do not want to be seen and act when no one is around.