Calgary Humane Society is the only organization providing a service under the Animal Protection Act in Calgary. Calgary Humane Society continues to work for the animals with the aim of preventing and suppressing cruelty and sheltering more than 6,000 homeless animals each years.
In the first six months of 2018, Calgary Humane Society took in just over 2000 animals. As an open admissions shelter, we take in any animal that needs our help. This can lead to our facility quickly filling to – or going over – capacity at busy times of year.
Calgary Humane Society does not euthanize for space or time. This means that all adoptable animals will stay with us until they find a home. To help as many animals as we can, we sometimes hold emergency adoption events to free up space for incoming animals. We also reach out to our invaluable foster families to find temporary placements for as many animals as possible outside of the shelter. Sometimes we will be able to work with other local shelters or rescues to transfer out some animals if they have space available.
A few different factors can lead to Calgary Humane Society being over capacity, including:
The time of year. The biggest increase in intakes is in the summer. This is mostly due to the abundance of baby animals, especially kittens, that are born in the spring. This is also the time when people move before the start of a new school year, resulting in pet owners surrendering their animals because they are moving to no pet housing or won’t have enough time for their pet when the school season starts. Christmas and the holiday season can also be a busy time for Calgary Humane Society. This is when our Pet Safe Keeping and Emergency Boarding programs are most often utilized because of additional family and financial stress.
Seizures and natural disasters. Calgary Humane Society took in over 120 animals during the 2013 flood, and some stayed in our care for up to 4 months until their owners were able to return to their homes or find other accommodation. A sudden intake during an emergency or following a large seizure can quickly fill all of our available animal spaces.
Economic conditions. Calgary’s economy has made a significant impact on pet owners who may find themselves suddenly without a job, without the means to afford a pet, and maybe even without a home. Calgary Humane Society takes in these animals when owners find themselves in difficult situations and want to help their pet find a new family.
Snakes are shiny, not slimy! People often confuse reptiles and amphibians. Snakes are reptiles, which means they are covered in shiny scales while amphibians, like frogs and salamanders, have slimy skin. If you ever get a chance to pet a friendly snake you will notice that they are very smooth. Remember to always pet a snake in the direction of their scales, as petting them the other way is uncomfortable for the snake.
Myth 2: Snakes are dirty and stinky.
It is important to clean your snake’s enclosure regularly. With good tank hygiene, snakes are actually very clean animals and do not have a strong smell. Snake poop does smell, as does musk, a substance that snakes may release if they are stressed, scared, or upset in an attempt to make themselves appear less appealing to predators.
So how do you keep your snake smelling fresh? You should clean their enclosure as quickly as you can after they poop. Snakes do not defecate often and you’ll quickly learn when to expect it as it will coincide with their feeding schedule. When handling your snake or cleaning their tank, try to avoid stressing your snake to prevent musking.
Myth 3: If you own a snake you have to own mice too.
This myth is the result of a small contingent of snake owners who believe in “live feeding” their snakes. At Calgary Humane Society we do not live feed snakes nor do we recommend this method of feeding: it is cruel to the mouse and could be dangerous for the snake. In the wild a mouse who becomes dinner for a snake is unfortunate, but part of the natural order of things. That mouse also has a chance to escape. In a tank, the mouse cannot escape and so they experience much more stress. In addition, mice can bite and injure a pet snake because captive snakes often do not have the hunting skills of their wild cousins.
If you struggle with feeding a meat-based diet to your pet (particularly a meat-based diet that includes whole animals) then a snake will not be a good choice for you. Snakes are carnivores and cannot be fed vegetarian diets. Calgary Humane Society recommends purchasing frozen rodents. Make sure to get the right size rodent for your snake. You should warm the frozen mice up with water before feeding.
Myth 4: Your snake will get bigger and try to eat you.
No snake you can legally own in Alberta (or adopt from Calgary Humane Society) will ever get large enough to eat you. Even the largest legal pet snakes would not be able to eat anything bigger than a small rabbit. In fact, there are few snakes in the world that would ever get large enough to eat a human.
Where does this myth come from? Large tree-dwelling and constricting snakes can pose a threat to humans if the human carries the snake around their neck and the snake becomes scared. In the wild, tree-dwelling snakes will constrict around a tree branch to hold on, constricting tighter when the wind blows. A snake can’t tell the difference between a tree branch and your neck or arm, so if they feel as if they might fall they could constrict and injure you by accident. This isn’t a problem you are likely to see with a smaller snake like a corn snake.
Myth 5: Your snake will escape and live in the walls.
This one is only partly a myth. Snakes can be escape artists… they climb better than people expect and they can fit into small spaces. Most snakes probably aren’t looking to make a break for freedom so much as they are curious and taking the chance to explore. Properly securing your snake’s tank with a locking lid will help prevent them from escaping.
What’s the best thing I can do if I am thinking of getting a pet snake?
If you are thinking of getting a pet snake, the best thing you can do is lots of research. Snakes can live longer than most dogs or cats so they can be a big commitment. You should check out online reptile resources or, if you are local to Calgary, go to an event put on by The Alberta Reptile and Amphibia Society (TARAS). Additionally, our adoption counselors can help you to determine if a snake is a good fit for your family.
Starting today until the end of the month we’re letting you choose your own adoption fee on ALL rabbits, small critters and exotics! All rabbit adopters will also be entered to win 1 of 2 rabbit gift baskets valued at $150 each
Visit www.calgaryhumane.ca/adopt to see all of our available critters!
*Please note some exclusions on animals may apply.
The truth is, not all cats enjoy being hugged, even if it’s International Hug a Cat Day. Being held in a tight embrace, often above the ground, can be a scary situation for a kitty. You especially shouldn’t hug a cat that you don’t know well. If your feline friend isn’t one for hugs, we recommend trying some of these other ideas to show your cat a bit of extra love.
Most cats like to be scratched at the base of their ears or under their chin. You might know other spots that your cat likes to be pet. Short petting sessions are best, especially for cats that can be easily overstimulated. Be sure to keep an eye on your cat’s body language while petting to ensure they are still appreciating the extra attention.
Make a snuffle mat (see our video tutorial here!) and hide their favourite treats or kibble in it for them to find. Snuffle mats are a fantastic enrichment activity for your cat.
Slow blinking or half-closing your eyes is the equivalent of a kitty kiss. Try it out and see how your cat reacts! You may even get invited to take part in a little head bonking, another way that cats like to show affection for their people.
It may take some time to find a treat your cat really loves. Keep in mind that a treat should be just that – something different than their ordinary dry or wet food, given on rare occasions. This makes it a special reward.
Some cats really enjoy being brushed! Regular brushing is a good practice to maintain as it helps keep your cat’s coat healthy, shiny, and smooth. Brushing can also be a bonding exercise between you and your cat.
You can find lots of items to spoil your cat for International Hug a Cat Day at our Pet Gear Store at Calgary Humane Society.
Black dogs are often overlooked in shelters because of something known as “Black Dog Syndrome”.
There’s several explanations as why black dogs might not be adopted as quickly as light-coloured dogs. It could be because black dogs are often portrayed as mean or violent in films or that a stigma against certain types of breeds has put people off of adopting other black dogs. Sometimes potential adopters might pass by a black dog due to superstitious beliefs, similar to the phenomenon surrounding black cats (see our blog post on why it takes so long for black cats to find a home for more information).
We think black dogs are awesome! Here are our top 7 reasons why we know this is true:
Black dogs have black fur, which is less likely to stand out on dark clothing. We’ve all come into the office covered in pet hair before. Make it a little bit less obvious that you hugged your dog goodbye by adopting a black dog!
Black goes with everything. Whether you want to keep your dog looking trendy with a blue, red, pink, or white collar, you know it will look fantastic on that sleek black coat.
Black dogs look great in your snowy selfies. Ever taken a cute picture of a light-coloured dog in the snow? You may as well have taken a picture of a polar bear in a snowstorm. That’s never a problem with a black dog!
Black is the new black. Your new black companion will never go out of style.
Black dogs are wonderful companions. Just like any other kind of dog, black dogs can be a great friend to you and your family.
Black dogs are good luck! There’s an old Scottish superstition that suggests that a black dog following you home means good luck. Why not help that along by adopting a new friend who can follow you home every day? It sure makes sense to us!
Being the owner of a black dog helps break black dog syndrome. We know black dogs are wonderful companions and can provide all of the love that any other dog can. Help us rebel against black dog syndrome!
The No Fee BMO Calgary Humane Society Mastercard makes it fast and easy to show your support for animals in need. For every dollar you spend on your BMO Calgary Humane Society Mastercard, BMO makes a contribution to the Calgary Humane Society at no cost to you. Plus, you’ll still earn cash back or AIR MILES reward miles.
Top 7 ways to be kind to animals this week:
Purchase a new toy for your pet
Treat them to a hair cut and wash at the “spawww”
Pick up an extra special, tasty treat
Find a new bed or cat tree for your pet to relax in
Take your pet on a road trip and embark on a big adventure
Dress them up in a new collar
Adopt a shelter pet
When you use your BMO Calgary Humane Society MasterCard, you help give animals a second chance.
Select the card that best suits you:
With the BMO Calgary Humane Society AIR MILES®† Mastercard, earn 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $20 in card purchases1 – no annual fee². Plus, get 500 AIR MILES as a welcome bonus.3
With the BMO Calgary Humane Society CashBack® Mastercard, get 4.0% cash back on all your card purchases (up to $125 cash back) in your first 4 months.4 Plus, there is no annual fee.2
We get it! It’s a perfect day for a picnic. Pack up the dog, head out in the car and just pit stop at the grocery store on the way, right?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “only” 5 minutes when it comes to a pet in a hot car.
Things happen. Maybe there was a line-up, maybe you realized you needed ‘just one more thing’, maybe you ran in to an old friend. Pretty soon “only” 5 minutes becomes 10, 15 or 30 minutes. In the air conditioned store, you may not even realize how fast time has passed, but for a dog in a hot car, even 5 minutes can feel like an eternity.
Heat stroke can happen in 10 minutes or less on a hot day.
At Calgary Humane Society, we ran a test in May 2016 using three cars – one with the windows closed, one with the windows cracked and one with the windows wide open – to see if we could prevent the car from getting dangerously hot. Even with the windows wide open on a day with a light breeze, the temperature soared more than 10 degrees in just 10 minutes. Opening the windows or leaving water in the car is not enough to prevent heat stroke. Leaving the car running with your air conditioning on may seem like a workable solution, but there have been many cases where the air conditioner has failed without the pet owner realizing it.
Unlike humans, dogs, cats and other animals are not able to sweat to cool off.
Unfortunately for our furry family members, panting is not an effective way to remove heat from the body, so this method of cooling is quickly overpowered by the rising heat in a hot car. Some breeds or species, like brachycephalic breeds (breeds of cats and dogs with very short or squashed snouts) are at greater risk for heat stroke due to breathing issues, but a hot car can be fatal to any pet.
Symptoms of heat stroke begin within minutes of being left in the car and progress quickly.
The pet will begin to pant heavily and have difficulty breathing with a bright red tongue. As the pet is unable to cool off by panting they may drool or vomit and their body temperature increases. High core body temperatures quickly lead to stumbling, collapse and seizures. In the early stages of heat stroke immediate treatment can often cool the pet down, preventing further damage, but recovery becomes much less likely as more symptoms, particularly neurological symptoms, develop.
Heat stroke is preventable!
If you plan to stop, leave your pet at home or bring someone else who can stay with your pet in the shade while you shop. If you see a pet trapped in a hot car this summer, report it! Call Calgary Humane Society at 403-205-4455 to request an investigation by our Protection and Investigations officers or the Calgary Police Service to request assistance.
This summer, be cool and NEVER leave your pet in a hot car.
We were contacted by CBC about a story they were planning to publish regarding the suicide of Jeremy Quaile. We expressed our concerns with the story which makes many presumptions as to the details surrounding Mr. Quaile’s death and the factors that led up to it. We provided a statement which unfortunately was not published in its entirety so we are sharing it here for the benefit of all readers.
This is a difficult case for everyone involved and highlights just how destructive social media can be when an individual is already struggling. We do our very best to monitor on a daily basis all of our social media platforms and definitely sympathize with Mr. Quaile’s family as the social media response in this case was strong. Animal abuse and neglect cases can generate a lot of angry and hateful comments both on our social media pages and on the pages of other animal welfare organizations. While, we believe in the freedom of the press and the freedom of the public to express their opinions, we do our best to remove any posts or comments which are inappropriate, abusive, threatening or inflammatory. In light of this case, we will be reviewing our social media practises to ensure we are doing the very best we can to expediently do this. However, as stated in the release below, there is no basis to suggest our involvement in this case was what led to this terrible series of events. We take mental health very seriously when handling animal cruelty investigations and do whatever we can to get the people we work with, like Mr. Quaile, the support they need and rely on many other agencies to assist us with this. CHS staff were in contact with family members of Mr. Quaile during the investigation to check on his welfare and put his family in touch with him. We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Quaile and extend our condolences to his family and friends.
Following is the full release sent to CBC prior to the story being published:
On Wednesday July 12th, 2017, we were contacted by a City of Calgary agency regarding a call they received for disposal of a deceased dog. The caller gave enough details that the call taker felt compelled to report it to the authorities.
After investigation, it was determined on reasonable and probable grounds, that Mr. Quaile was responsible for causing the dog to be in distress contrary to Section 2(1) of the Animal Protection Act of Alberta (APA). Charges were laid under this section of the Act, which is strict liability legislation. It does not matter whether the charged individual intended to cause the animal’s distress or not. The charges, as well as Mr. Quaile’s identity, were a matter of public record.
This case is tragic on many fronts but there is no basis to suggest the APA charges contributed to this terrible series of events. Our involvement in this case was to lay appropriate charges where a violation of the APA occurred. We are not in a position to make decisions on if charges should be laid or withdrawn based on sympathetic factors. We have a statutory mandate and obligation to enforce the APA and that means protecting all animals within the City of Calgary. It also means working with the citizens of Calgary and their unique situations. We take mental health very seriously and make every attempt to get the people we work with the help they need through education, agency referrals and welfare checks.
We are very sorry to hear of Mr. Quaile’s passing and our condolences go out to his family and friends.
Have you ever wondered if spay and neuter works to reduce pet overpopulation? The answer is a resounding yes, and we have the numbers to prove it! That’s right, we’re talking about math!
Now before you press the back button on your browser. bear with us here! An un-spayed female cat who roams and breeds regularly can have kittens approximately three times per year and will usually have between two and six kittens. For this example, let’s assume that our feline couple in this example have kittens three times per year and have four kittens per litter (the middle of the average litter range).
This means that just one pair of cats, in just one year, turn into 14 breeding cats! The next year, these 14 breeding cats each have three litters of four kittens and turn into 182 cats. The year after that, those 182 cats turn into 2366 cats. The year after that, we see an astonishing 30,758 cats… then 399,854… etc.
That, my friends, is a lot of homeless cats.
Now let’s run the same numbers, but assume half of the cats are spayed or neutered by responsible pet owners. Those numbers in the previous example now drop to: 1, 7, 49, 392 and 2744.
Now, we know that the example above is pretty simplified, and it also doesn’t take into account the high mortality rates for outdoor cats and kittens (the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is only 2-4 years and, in some locations, kitten mortality will approach 50-75%). But the question remains… how on earth does spay or neuter do so much to reduce cat overpopulation?
Well this is the wonder of exponents. By spaying or neutering one cat, you not only help protect the health of that cat (spayed or neutered cats are less likely to roam or develop cancer of their reproductive organs) but you also prevent future generations of cats who would otherwise be out and breeding. In just a few generations you can see a significant reduction in the number of unwanted felines, and the same can be shown for dogs.
Does Spay and Neuter work?
You bet it does! In Calgary, we have seen first hand how well spay and neuter works. In the 1990s, Calgary Humane Society saw the height of our animal admissions peak at over 13,000 animals per year, a majority of which were stray cats. Today? That number has fallen significantly to less than 7,500 animals per year. We have also seen a huge change in where these animals are coming from. In the 1990s, a vast majority of the animals received by CHS were stray or homeless animals found on the streets of Calgary whereas today the balance of stray vs. owner surrender is closer to 50/50. We are also seeing a lot more animals come in already spayed or neutered, which is an exciting trend!