Don't surrender your pet, we'll help you feed it, Alberta SPCA urges
'This one is different from what we are used to dealing with,' provincial agency says of COVID-19
If you are struggling to pay for pet food during this COVID-19 pandemic, the Alberta SPCA has a message for you.
They would rather help you feed it, than have you surrender it. The provincial agency launched Help for Animals this week to do just that.
"It's to help people having trouble feeding companion animals or livestock due to illness, self-isolation issues or economic hardship," communications manager Dan Kobe told CBC News.
The Alberta SPCA covers the entire province outside of Edmonton and Calgary, where humane societies operate.
"This one is different from what we are used to dealing with," Kobe said of the pandemic, compared to other disasters like the Calgary flooding or the Fort McMurray wildfire.
"We want the animals to be with their owners on their property and we will do what it takes to make sure those animals stay there."
Kobe said thanks to the generosity of organizations like Champion Petfoods west of Edmonton and Innisfail's Purina PetCare, the SPCA now has 700 bags of food for cats and dogs stored strategically around the province.
And for hobby farm operators, the agency can probably coordinate a delivery of hay for your horses, if that's what's needed.
Calgary humane staff down to 37%
The Calgary Humane Society says it will help where possible too.
While the shelter is closed to the public except for primarily emergency situations, and despite layoffs that have resulted in a workforce about 63 per cent smaller, that team will do what it can, executive director Carrie Fritz says.
"We have such generous donors in Calgary. We usually have enough of a supply for people who need a little bit of assistance with their pet," Fritz said.
You can reach the Alberta SPCA at 1-833-621-0725, the Edmonton Humane Society at 780-471-1774 and the Calgary Humane Society at 403-205-4455.
With files from Dave Gilson