The Victoria Humane Society (VHS) is overwhelmed after receiving 51 surrendered animals last week. The animals came from a number of communities all over B.C., says Executive Director, Penny Stone.
The charity works closely with remote communities and this is the time of year when the VHS begins to get extra calls about strays and pregnant cats and dogs. The communities do a cull, says Stone, so VHS is desperate to get the animals out before they get shot.
VHS was founded in 2013 and has rescued and re-homed over 3,000 animals. They have volunteers all over the province who pick up animals and drive them to meet up with Stone or another volunteer.
“We do a lot of driving,” she says.
Stone, isn’t surprised by the growing number of animals being surrendered. However, they do everything through foster homes and space is limited. Stone hosts many of the dogs in her home and has had to start turning animals away because there is simply no more room.
“Sometimes I have 20 puppies in my house,” she says.
The VHS takes in 1,500 dogs and cats each year. Most are placed in foster homes until they get adopted. The dogs get full profiles on the VHS website listing their personality traits, behavioural quirks, and health status so that potential adoptive families can read all about them.
Currently, VHS is looking for a facility to house the pets. They’ve found some properties that might work, so now they’re looking for someone to co-sign on their mortgage.
“We’re not looking for someone to buy it for us — although that would be nice,” says Stone. “We can pay for it, but we need someone to help secure the finances.”
Stone hopes to find a suitable space soon because she doesn’t like turning animals away. It’s usually a death sentence for them, she explains. She gets calls all day and night about pets who need to be picked up.
“If we don’t answer, an animal will die,” she says gravely.
People always tell Stone they’d love to have her job, but they don’t realize how difficult it can be. She and many of her family members are always on call. Stone points out that she never gets through a celebration without a call and never takes vacations.
Some days are quite sad, she says, but the success stories make it all worth it. She loves getting the update photos and happy messages from families who have adopted a dog who went through hard times.
VHS is always looking for volunteers, donations, and foster homes. Information can be found on the VHS website and the profiles of the dogs waiting to be adopted can be found there as well.