Feel good about your information and become a local news champion today

‘There’s always an alternative’: Calgary Humane Society finds abandoned dogs

The Calgary Humane Society is investigating after two dogs were abandoned outside their office on Canada Day.

On July 1, 2023, two dogs were abandoned in a carrier crate at the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) at approximately 2:10 p.m., the organization said.

The Yorkshire Terrier and Chihuahua pair were left on the CHS walkway exposed to the elements on a hot day, they said. CHS was closed for the statutory holiday but luckily some staff were still on the property and were able to assist in retrieving the dogs.

A Yorkshire Terrier and Chihuahua were abandoned at the Calgary Humane Society in a plastic carrier on July 1, 2023. CONTRIBUTED.

Brad Nichols, Director of Operations and Enforcement at CHS said that plastic carriers, like the one the dogs were left in, heat up significantly. With the heat from the carrier, the dog’s own body heat and exposure to the sun, they were at risk of experiencing serious health effects including the possibility of death.

In a news release provided by CHS, it was noted that abandonment is not an alternative to surrender and will be treated as a criminal act. The Calgary Humane Society’s Protection and Investigations team is looking into the abandonment and is trying to identify the subject.

“The abandonment itself is an offence both provincially and federally, and the dogs were deprived of adequate protection from injurious heat and adequate space,” said Nichols. 

The subject in question parked on the street adjacent to the main CHS building and drove what appeared to be a white Acura, according to CHS.Security footage showed that the subject concealed their face with their clothing, dropped the carrier off and drove away.

Security footage shows the subject abandoning two dogs in a plastic carrier outside of the Calgary Humane Society main building on July 1, 2023, at approximately 2:10 p.m. CONTRIBUTED.

Pandemic acquisition of pets will have impact for years: Nichols

Nichols said that CHS, much like other animal rescues throughout the country are still in a capacity crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic. he also acknowledged that the rising cost of living could be considered a contributing factor to the rise in animal surrenders and abandonments.

“There was so much impulsive sourcing of animals over the pandemic that we’re gonna see after-effects for years afterwards,” said Nichols. 

In order to continue to support animals in need of help amid a capacity crisis, CHS utilizes a triaged waitlist. If an animal is at risk of suffering neglect, cruelty or abandonment, it will be triaged to the top of the list. 

If an individual is struggling to take care of their pet and is considering abandonment, Nichols said that there is always another option that won’t end in legal consequences. 

“There’s always an alternative to committing a crime,” said Nichols.

“If someone had been honest with regards to their struggles and what their backup plan was, those animals would have come in without any consequence to the accused.”

At this time, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) is not involved. However, CHS works closely with CPS and once criminal charges become appropriate, CPS will be engaged. 

The abandoned dogs received veterinary care upon intake and were found to be in good health, avoiding possible serious health consequences from their abandonment.

If the public recognizes the dogs or the vehicle in question, the CHS urges them to reach out to help identify the subject. The CHS can be contacted about this case at 403-205-4455 or on their website under the Report Animal Cruelty page.