An animal shelter has been forced to close its doors because it doesn't have room to take in any more pets — despite daily calls, emails and Facebook messages asking if they'll accept more.
Saving Grace Animal Society, located in Alix, Alta., about 155 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, declared a state of emergency Friday. The shelter has experienced an increase in the number of dogs and cats it has taken in for care this month, as well as a lull in the number of adoptions.
"We are just at a point at the rescue where we literally can't fit any more animals anywhere," said Amanda McClughan, a co-executive director of Saving Grace Animal Society.
There are about 80 animals at the shelter right now — about double the capacity the shelter can fit, she said. But a news release says there are nearly 300 other animals staying with staff, foster homes or other facilities.
Meanwhile, adoptions are down about 50 per cent from a year ago, the release said.
People working at the shelter have been anxious about the situation for a couple of weeks. But they are now panicking heading into next week, as they'll have about 40 puppies available for adoption — by far the most the shelter has ever had, McClughan said.
"This time of year, it's kind of expected that adoptions are going to be a little bit slower," McClughan said.
"But our intakes have been so high."
Part of that may be linked to the weather, she said. Alberta has been experiencing a relatively mild fall until recently. Animals that were living outside were fairing fine until the cold came.
"[There's], all of a sudden, this urgency to get those animals in because they cannot survive in those temperatures."
The key thing Saving Grace Animal Society needs is adoptions to pick up, so the shelter can free up space, McClughan said.
The shelter receives from one to 20 calls per day from people asking if it will accept animals, she said. Every adoption frees up space for another animal to be saved.
Saving Grace has discounted adoption fees to help pets find a new home, she added.
Also, generally, the shelter is in need of foster homes, but especially during this time of year, she added. Anyone interested in fostering an animal can apply through Facebook.
McClughan noted that people interested in fostering would have to live within about an hour from Alix or Ponoka — that's where the main vet is located.
Saving Grace also accepts donations online, through partner pet stores or at the shelter itself. The money would be used for supplies, such as pet food and pee pads, she said.