The Fort McMurray SPCA says its in urgent need of donations after a year of cancelled fundraisers and an influx of animals.
Melanie Schneider, finance manager of the SPCA, said the shelter saw 50 per cent more animals than normal in the first quarter this year.
Right now, the SPCA is housing more than 80 animals and has almost reached capacity. The average number of animals in the shelter before the pandemic was 60.
"We're seeing a lot of surrender paperwork coming in, of people now wanting to surrender their animals they may have adopted during COVID," said Schneider.
"Right now, we're kind of on a surrender freeze, because we don't have the capacity to take in new animals."
Schneider said the ability to accept surrenders is on a case-by-case basis and can change quickly, because as animals are adopted, the shelter can take in more.
She said there are many young animals that need to spend about two months at the shelter because they can only spay and neuter them at eight-weeks-old.
A healthy puppy costs the shelter $2,100 to house, feed, vaccinate and neuter/spay, she said. Kittens cost about $1,400.
That's not including the cost of animals who come in needing surgery or dental work.
"Just in the month of July we did four dentals," said Schneider. That work costs between $1,500 and $2,000 per animal,she said.
Misty Schad, programs and events coordinator for the Fort McMurray SPCA, said she's had to get creative with fundraisers this year. The association held a bake sale that brought in $6,000, and a bike sale that brought in $4,000.
Typically, the SPCA puts on two large fundraisers, a masquerade ball and a golf tournament. But that wasn't possible last year because of the pandemic.
This year, the SPCA doesn't want to risk losing deposits and taking on the upfront costs of those events, because there's a risk they may not happen.
Meaning the shelter is about $50,000 short.
"It does cost a lot more money than people think to house these animals and to help them," said Schad.
"We just want the community to know the shape we're in so we're not suddenly at a standstill."
Last year the SPCA helped 602 animals. She said the shelter does receive grants, but it doesn't cover the cost of care for all the animals.
Luckily, it appears Fort McMurray residents are keen to help out —wihtin the first few hours of the SPCA's call for donations being posted on Facebook, people donated about $6,000.
"The community has been amazing," said Schneider.