New adoption centre solidifies North Bay as hub for animal welfare in Northern Ontario

The Companions for Change Pet Adoption & Wellness Centre is officially opened and fully operational.

The brighter, warmer, more inviting centre at 2060 Main St. W., has doubled the North Bay and District Humane Society’s capacity for cats and added a dozen new dog runs.

“We’re still ironing out some kinks and have a long way to go before it is fool-proof and effortless.” said Janet Bredin, the shelter manager. “But this gives the animals a more calming, private environment with more space to play.” 

“It’s been really great for the public visiting and for the volunteers,” she added.

The extra space is critical, as the local humane society takes in roughly 1500 to 1800 animals per year and has become a hub for animal services in Northern Ontario. 

“We do a lot of travelling and transferring of animals between the U.S., Quebec, Montréal, Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario, working with a number of fosters and shelters in these areas.” said Bredin. This is largely due to the fact that many rescues and shelters in Northern Ontario have very limited resources. 

“We have a large truck and trailer and we will venture out to northern communities to take in their overpopulated animals,” explained Bredin. “Whether it makes a difference or not, we try.”

Bredin says much of the issue surrounding animal overpopulation and shelters being strained stems from difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which backlogged veterinarian services and resulted in more people adopting and breeding pets than ever before.

“Medical attention was delayed and training services weren’t available so a lot of the pets are being rehomed due to behaviour and anxiety,” she explained. 

On top of these issues, many backyard breeders that peaked during the height of the pandemic now have puppies and breeding animals that they can’t get rid of quick enough, resulting in an uptick of abandoned pets at the shelter.

“A number of people have come forward and surrendered litters of puppies and pregnant dogs,” Bredin said.

That’s part of the reason Bredin strongly encourages those considering pet ownership to adopt and not shop.

“You don’t always know what you are getting when it’s a backyard breeder. If a puppy falls ill after adoption, there is zero guarantee that a backyard breeder will help you at all,” she said. “I know it’s a cliché, but adopt, don’t shop.”

You can also help reduce issues of animal overpopulation by getting your pet spayed or neutered. 

When you adopt from the North Bay Humane Society, the cost of a spay or neuter is included with the adoption fee to reduce the financial strain on those looking to add a furry friend to their family and ensure the long-term health of the pet. 

To learn more about the North Bay Humane Society’s services and how you can support its efforts to protect animals, click here.

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