The Edmonton Humane Society says the high number of pets waiting for adoption has staff and volunteers stretched to their limit, and any pets being surrendered by their owners will be turned away for now.

Officials said this is the first time the organization has taken such a measure in its 106-year history.

“The shelter’s full, we’re full at the inn,” EHS CEO Stephanie McDonald said. “We have no way to accept any other animals from within our community.”

At this time of year, officials said it’s not uncommon for the number of cats and kittens surrendered to spike – but this suspension is unique because it applies to every type of pet the society normally accepts.

“The high season starts about the May [long] weekend and goes on to about September,” McDonald said. “We usually see an influx of puppies and kittens, but this is the first time we’ve seen birds and rabbits.”

On Wednesday, the society said 644 animals were housed in its north side facility.

Although no surrendered pets will be accepted while the suspension is in place, the society says it will continue to admit homeless and abused pets.

“We are still able to accept stray animals; we’ve got just a teeny-weeny bit of room to be able to do that,” McDonald said.

“It was incredibly difficult because we want to be here for all the animals in our community and those in surrounding neighbourhoods.”

EHS said those wishing to surrender their pets will be able to leave their contact information, and staff at the Humane Society will contact them when the hold has been lifted.

Humane Society officials said animals are not euthanized to make room for others – as a result, the only way to lift the hold is to find homes for pets in their care.

The EHS adoption centre is open throughout the week, more information on the adoption process and their hours can be found online.