The Thunder Bay and District Humane Society has been offering its low-cost, spay and neuter program since 2019, becoming one of the city’s most sought-after services for pets.
Dr. Randi Roberts, who is the group’s on-site veterinarian, performs almost 3,500 spay and neuter surgeries each year along with being responsible for the veterinarian care of all the animals at the centre. Two veterinarian technicians are on hand as well.
Shawna Beaulieu, executive director of the Humane Society, says although Roberts is busy, the overall shortage of veterinarians hasn’t impacted them directly or cost-wise for adoption fees or vet services.
“Because we don’t source out veterinary services, (the shortage) hasn’t impacted costs in that way,” she said.
Beaulieu also noted that animals that were adopted during the pandemic continue to live with their adoptive families.
“If we’re seeing animals coming into the shelter that have been adopted, or perhaps purchased during the pandemic, we haven’t seen that trend (of them being returned),” she said. “We monitor the reason why animals are coming into our care and there hasn’t been anything showing that it’s because people are returning to work. We haven’t seen any change since prior to the pandemic as far as the reason animals are coming into our care.”
Beaulieu explained that the main reason why animals are dropped off at the shelter is due to unwanted litters or too many animals in the home.
“Those are the two top reasons that always remain and that’s why we put so much effort into spaying, neutering and overpopulation of animals,” she pointed out.
Beaulieu’s advice to people who want to adopt or purchase a pet is to prepare and make sure that the pet will have health care.
“Whenever someone wants to adopt a pet from us, we’re always forthcoming that there is a vet shortage,” she said. “There may or may not be anyone in town that’s taking new patients so we make sure that they do their due diligence, call around to make sure they have a vet lined up before they adopt.”