The BC SPCA says the number of animals surrendered by their owners jumped in 2022.
It was the first increase since 2019, before the pandemic.
“With the success of spay/neuter programs across the province, the number of homeless animals coming into our 36 animal care locations has been going down year after year, allowing us to invest more in pro-active community-based programs,” says Lorie Chortyk, chief communications officer.
“But in 2022, we saw a slight increase in numbers - nearly a thousand more animals – who came into our care for sheltering and adoption. In total, 32,462 animals were provided with direct services.”
Animal protection officers investigated 8,069 cases of suspected animal cruelty and neglect in 2022, helping nearly 35,000 animals.
“Often, when an animal’s needs are not being met the guardian is trying to do the right thing, but they just need a helping hand to access food, vet care or other resources to relieve the distress of their pet,” says Chortyk. “In those cases, our officers do everything they can to help in order to keep families and their pets together.”
That’s where services community-based pet food banks come in. It was a busy year for the outreach programs because of the skyrocketing cost of living.
"We definitely saw an increased need for support from pet guardians who were struggling and who needed a little extra help to care for their animals,” notes Chortyk.
The society says 42,079 animals were assisted through pet food bank programs.
The shortage of veterinarians in BC had an impact on the SPCA last year, leading to the closure of the SPCA BC hospital in Burnaby in 2022. The number of animals treated fell by 8,864 from the year before.
On a positive note, volunteers are turning out in droves. In 2022, 3,304 SPCA volunteers provided 198,792 hours of service, an increase of 40,074 hours over 2021.
“The BC SPCA simply could not function without the talent and dedication of our volunteers,” says Chortyk. “They carry out so many valuable functions, from sitting on our Board of Directors to helping with the day-to-day activities of our animal care, education and outreach services.”
To find out how you can make a difference for animals in your community, please visit spca.bc.ca/donate.