Lightning-fast P.E.I. Humane Society adoptions leading to frustration

·2 min read

Pets are being adopted so quickly on P.E.I. that many would-be owners aren't even seeing the notices before they are taken down.

After information about one puppy was posted on the P.E.I. Humane Society website for just five minutes this week, some frustration broke out on the society's Facebook page.

Some commenters suggested that not all dogs available for adoption were being featured on the web page and wondered why.

"We do feature all of the animals on our website, but adoption is in such high demand that we normally receive multiple applications, sometimes within minutes," said Jennifer Harkness, communications officer for the P.E.I. Humane Society.

When an animal is listed, staff wait until they receive a good number of applications to let them find a suitable family, and then they take the listing down.

For dogs, it is not unusual for this to take about 15 minutes. On Tuesday, a listing for a puppy called George was up for only five minutes.

"There's a little bit of frustration," Harkness acknowledged. "We wish we had better options."

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

But Harkness said people need to understand the society has limited resources and its primary concern is the welfare of the animals. While the system is frustrating for people who have to refresh the web site every 15 minutes in the hopes of getting an animal, that is the best the society can do.

It's not good for animals to stay in the shelter for too long, Harkness pointed out. They can get sick being around other animals, and it's hard to give them the attention they need. They can become stressed, and problem behaviour can start to appear.

"The longer animals sit here, the worse it is for them. So for us, getting animals adopted is a really great thing," said Harkness.

Adoption rate has soared

The adoption rate has been improving for a couple of years, she said, but things really got busy when the pandemic shutdown began.

"As soon as COVID hit, we saw those numbers go through the roof. People were just desperate to adopt animals," she said.

Some of that interest would have come from people looking for company or suddenly having more time to train a new animal companion.

Harkness suspects the inability to travel off-Island to adopt and pick up a pet was also a factor.

More from CBC P.E.I.