July 24th, 2024

City releases paws-itive report on Animal Services work

By Theodora MacLeod - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 26, 2024.

While some might say civilization is going to the dogs, for pets of Lethbridge things are paw-sitive. The City of Lethbridge has released a summary of successes highlighting the work of Community Animal Services (CAS) in 2023.

Among the achievements of the past year was the inaugural Rescue Fest hosted in July that gave local rescue organizations op-purr-tunity to showcase four-legged friends awaiting adoption and purr-spective pet parents a chance to find their match.

As costs of living continue to rise, recent years have seen an increase in numbers of pets surrendered to shelters and a decrease in adoptions. According to the statement from the city, 525 animals were handled at the shelter and, fur-tunately, 206 pets were adopted.

Skylar Plourde, Director of Services and Enforcement with CAS said the festival was appreciated by rescue organizations, noting that budget restrictions can limit their ability to advertise, and the event gave them the platform needed to show the work they do and continue to paws-purr. Plourde expects there will be another Rescue Fest in 2024, estimating it will take place in May or July.

Also landing in favour of the rescue pups was the approval of a 400-square-meter fenced dog run that was approved by city council in November and is expected to open in the spring.

Plourde says the new run will not only help the dogs, but the humans who interact with them as it will provide, “a space for our staff to better work with them and provide some training… and those looking at adopting will have a better place to interact with the dogs.”

With 2024 off to a busy start, the City noted a some of the developments they plan to em-bark on this year, mainly the ongoing animal bylaw review which will create a single legislation from the existing dog control and wild and domestic animal regulation bylaws.

A public survey is expected to be released inviting the public to provide feedback to CAS ahead of the creation of the new bylaw. Plourde also notes that backyard chickens and cat regulations may also appear on the agenda for 2024.

Summarizing 2023, the city says that 685 people accessed the free pet food bank last year, 9,338 pet licenses were issued, and there were 495 hours of proactive community patrol logged. Having said furr-well to 2023, it seems 2024 will provide city council much op-paw-tunity to continue their success.

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