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Alberta pet owners surrendering animals due to ownership expenses


The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) is sounding the alarm, saying the ever-increasing cost of owning a pet in the province is prompting many Albertans to surrender their animals.

AARCS executive director Deanna Thompson says they're getting a lot of calls from people who aren't able to afford the veterinary care for their pets, and it's led to the shelter becoming filled to the brim.

Currently, AARCS is caring for about 800 animals, including many that are located in foster homes.

Thompson says they were able to open their own in-house veterinary clinic a while back – complete with surgery rooms for spay and neuter operations – something they're extremely grateful for.

"Prior to having our own veterinary clinic, we used to have our vet care done by retail clinics, and there's no way we could afford what it costs now," Thompson said.

However, a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) position at the shelter's clinic went unfilled for 18 months before they decided to hire a contract worker.

A recent report from the Alberta Veterinary Medicine Association found that Alberta needs to add 3,900 new vets by 2030 in order to keep up with demand.

The University of Calgary is doubling its program from 50 to 100 grads a year, but the first class won't graduate until the spring of 2029.

On Tuesday, the Calgary Humane Society announced it was temporarily suspending the intake process for animals at its emergency shelter due to an "overwhelming" number of animals admitted.

"There has been (a vet shortage) for the last couple of years, but now it is becoming a crisis in the province," sid Lisa Ohlund, associate director of health services for Calgary Humane Society.

"Finding a veterinarian is increasingly difficult. Costs are going up." Top Stories

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