The Toronto Humane Society says that the economic downturn is forcing some families to choose between putting food on the table or providing for their pets.
The organization, which has been working to improve the lives of animals in the city for more than 135 years, recently launched a four-part series called Toronto In Crisis, which highlights how the high cost of basic pet care and the housing crisis are affecting and, in some cases, separating pets from their guardians.
“The cost of living in the city has skyrocketed, making access to affordable pet care increasingly scarce. This dire situation has left many community members in the painful position of choosing between feeding themselves or providing for their loyal companions,” Phil Nichols, THS’s interim CEO, said in a news release.
“As a result, Toronto Humane Society has witnessed firsthand the agonizing sorrow that grips guardians when they are forced to part with their cherished pets due to the unbearable burden.”
During an interview with CP24 on Thursday afternoon, Nichols said that the daily demand for services and support is beyond his organization’s capacity.
“The numbers of requests for support are more than double this time than what we saw last year and when we were running our community support days and our food bank programs we have lineup stretching around our facility for individuals that are facing those burdens on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
“Our resources don’t allow us to overcome the current demand and the demand is growing on a day-to-day basis.”
Phil Nichols is the interim CEO of the Toronto Humane Society.
Nichols went on to say that as an organization, the humane society is trying to shift its programming to better understand the “root cause” of where these problems originate, which he attributed to a lack of access to care and support so that people don’t have to feel that they have no other choice but to surrender their pet or compromise the care they give it.
One way that the Toronto Human Society is helping families make ends meet is through its animal foster program. On average, 80 per cent of pets who are placed in foster care are reunited with their owners once families are in a more stable place financially.
The organization also offers a pet food bank and supply support program for families in need of assistance.
All of these programs are funded by donations.
“We really need you to open your hearts and help make a donation to provide for the community of families across the city,” Nichols said.
“By donating today, you can be a lifeline for both pets and their families in our community. Your support is essential, as it will provide vital pet care services to those caught in a cycle of vulnerability. Your contribution ensures that families will not have to make the heart-wrenching decision to give up their beloved pets during times of crisis.”