Edmonton suspends admission of healthy animals to the care and control center, urging residents to deal with lost or stray animals in extreme cold weather


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The Edmonton Animal Care and Control Center has suddenly suspended admission of healthy animals until further notice and is asking residents to take care of lost or stray animals in the meantime.

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But animal rescues and residents are sounding the alarm bells about the surprise change, concerned about their now responsibility to care for these animals rather than the municipal service that Edmontonians pay.

The city of Edmonton announced the immediate and temporary suspension on social media on Saturday afternoon as extremely cold temperatures are expected to continue to weigh on the city over the next week.

The temporary change is the result of staffing and capacity issues, the city said, noting that the change would allow the center to focus on animals already cared for at the northwest Edmonton facility.

Instead of bringing lost or stray dogs and cats back to the center, the city is asking residents to try to find the owner on their own and take care of the animal until they are reunited. If the animal is tagged with a license number, residents can call 311 for owner information. Animals considered to be in medical distress, injured or sick will always be accepted by appointment only.

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But Vanessa Freeman, co-founder of Community Cats Edmonton Rescue, said this could lead to many challenges, including the ability of already extensive rescues to help care for these animals if residents cannot. The city’s lack of communication left relief efforts to scramble to find a solution, Freeman said, noting that she had received four calls on Sunday just about cats needing help.

“The emergency services are busy, we are full. So to make a change and not to ask for relief to help in any way, just imply that if the city can’t help, relief has to. I just don’t understand that, ”she said. “I don’t know if this action was carried out with the impact it would have on the animals and the community in mind. “

Dog owner Valerie Bielenda said she believes many residents will do everything in their power to protect the animals from the current extreme cold, but this could lead to problems if the animal is aggressive or unvaccinated. and that the residents are left to manage alone.

“It’s not acceptable because they put the public at risk because if you accidentally pick up an aggressive dog then there is a risk to humans,” she said. “It can’t be a safe alternative, it can’t be what they expect from people.”

Appointments for sick, injured or distressed animals can always be made online.

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