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Despite limited resources, the Thunder Bay Humane Society rescues dozens of abandoned animals
When Animal Services in Thunder Bay, Ontario arrived at a local park to investigate a call about an abandoned dog kennel, what they saw inside was shocking.
“We found 23 cats locked up in one dog crate,” explains Melanie Blanchette, Executive Director of Thunder Bay and District Humane Society (TBDHS). “Two were deceased, several were very sick with upper respiratory infections and others with long-term abscesses in the eyes.”
Thunder Bay Animal Welfare Agents suspected the case may be tied to a hoarding situation in a nearby neighborhood. “We received a warrant to search the home and found over 50 dehydrated, malnourished and severely neglected cats,” reports Blanchette.
The TBDHS shelter was already at capacity, housing 130 cats in addition to various other pets including dogs and rabbits. Still, they knew finding space for an additional 80 felines was a necessary challenge. “We had to get creative but it’s unbelievable what we can do with the space we have,” said Blanchette.
Space wasn’t the only problem. Further diagnosis revealed several cats were infected with Panleukopenia—a highly contagious and potentially fatal feline disease. “We couldn’t take any risks. For the safety of all the pets, we had to isolate the infected cats. We also had to shut down the shelter and all adoptions.”
Adding yet another obstacle for TBDHS, 43 of the cats were deemed evidence in the hoarding case making them unadoptable until authorities released ownership rights to TBDHS. Like most animal welfare organizations, TBDHS relies on fundraising efforts, donations from the community and adoption fees to provide food, veterinarian care and shelter to pets in need. Halting adoptions not only hindered the opportunity for dozens of pets to find forever homes, it also caused additional financial strain on the organization…which was already stretched due to the increased level of care they needed to provide to the rescued kittens and cats.
And that’s why PetSmart Charities of Canada recently awarded a grant to the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society. A total of $10,000 was awarded to the organization to support veterinary care, fund numerous spay and neuter surgeries, and cover the costs associated with housing 80 very sick cats who desperately needed shelter and care.
Thanks to the care of TBDHS staff, 23 fully recovered cats have been adopted and live with their new forever families. Though many cats are still unable to be placed for adoption until the hoarding case is resolved, care provided by TBDHS staff provided the abandoned kitties with a second chance at life.
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