The Montreal SPCA says it is dealing with three times more abandoned animals than usual.
The animal protection agency typically sees a jump in abandoned pets leading up to Montreal's traditional July 1 moving day, but this year the situation is especially dire.
Anita Kapuscinska, a spokesperson for the SPCA, said a record 751 pets, the majority of them cats, were abandoned between June 1 and June 11, compared with 623 pets during the same period last year.
The numbers have been on the rise since 2012, she said.
Kapuscinska said no-pet clauses in residential leases are one of the main reasons people leave pets behind. The SPCA launched a petition to have the government nix the clauses last year to no avail.
She wants the Quebec government to follow Ontario's lead and invalidate the clauses.
'If anything, the landlords are victims in the situation, especially if the animal causes damage to a dwelling once it's abandoned.' - Kevin Lebeau of the Quebec Landlords' Association
The SPCA is hoping this year's increase is because more people moved prior to July 1, and the numbers will die down for August, but she's unsure.
They are seeking out-of-province shelters to deal with the overflow.
Landlords say they aren't to blame for desertion
Kevin Lebeau, spokesperson for the Quebec Landlords Association (APQ), said the argument that the clauses are to blame for more people are abandoning pets is "absolutely ridiculous."
He said landlords have been forced to deal with pets this way because in Quebec, unlike a lot of provinces, landlords can't ask for a damage deposit.
"If anything, the landlords are victims in the situation, especially if the animal causes damage to a dwelling once it's abandoned," he said.
Lebeau said the changes the Quebec government made to the province's animal welfare law last year provided landlords with new resources.
"If they discover that there's been a pet abandoned in a dwelling, before the situation gets too bad, they can call the local SPCA (...) and someone designated by the government can come and take the animal into care. And the attempts will be made to find the owner and hold them responsible," he said.