For pet owners who can’t take of their animals, the Thunder Bay Humane Society is pleading with them to avoid abandoning their animals outside.

The executive director of the Thunder Bay District Humane Society shelter said its often young animals that are left abandoned. But last month, two hunters found a mature dog on a remote bush road.

Maryann Kleynendorst said the dog was malnourished but is recovering.

"I don't know if he was a lost dog … I'm hoping he was," she said. "But my gut tells me someone brought him up there and dropped him off." 

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Maryann Kleynendorst, the executive director of the Thunder Bay District Humane Society shelter, said its often young animals that are left abandoned. But last month, two hunters found a mature dog on a remote bush road. (Gord Ellis/CBC )

'If you're stuck, just call'

Kleynendorst said some people feel guilt about not being able to properly take care of a pet, but added there's no shame in surrendering an animal in a safe way.

"There's us, there's a cat rescue in town. There's a dog rescue," Kleynendorst said.

"If you're stuck, just call. Somebody will come and look after your animal."

Shelter staff don't judge why someone can't keep their pet any more — they just want to make sure its kept safe, and warm, she said.

Recently a trio of kittens was left outside the shelter on Rosslyn Road. The kittens are doing well, but things could have been different.

"Thank God it wasn't a minus-30 morning. It was … minus-4 or -5," she said. "My staff came in at 8 a.m. and they don't know how long [the kittens were] out there."

Kleynendorst added that, even when the shelter is open, some people continue to leave their animals outside without notifying the shelter first.

"If you can't afford to pay the intake fee, give whatever you can afford," she said.

"Bring us the animal. Turn it over safely … we will take it. No questions asked. We won't judge you. Things happen through illness [and] poverty issues. We just want the animals to be safe."

Kleynendorst said some people are embarrassed they don't have the money to care for an animal, and abandon them in the bush.

The holidays can also be a dangerous time for pets, as people may not take time to give them the proper attention, she added.