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'We're struggling': Edmonton animal rescue seeing rising costs, surge of pets

Some of the pets that ZOE's Animal Rescue Society is caring for (Brandon Lynch/CTV News Edmonton). Some of the pets that ZOE's Animal Rescue Society is caring for (Brandon Lynch/CTV News Edmonton).
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A local animal rescue that helps hundreds of pets every year is asking for money, supplies and volunteers to help stay afloat.

ZOE's Animal Rescue Society took in about 800 animals last year, but they're down to roughly 600 in 2022. That's not because of demand, but limited money, and a lack of volunteers.

"We're struggling and I know we're not the only ones," said Kath Oltsher, executive co-director.

"We are just spending money to beat the band. Vet prices have gone up, food prices have gone up. So what we normally do is we live and die by the personal donations of people who help us."

Oltsher said they've also had to eliminate fees for cats and reduce fees for puppies to encourage adoptions.

She said the need feels greater than in previous years. Oltsher attributes this to people who adopted "pandemic pets" during restrictions but are now struggling to care for them.

"At the time, I was really worried. Everybody was like, 'I'm getting a puppy. I'm getting a kitten,' and I thought, what happens in a year and a half to two years?" Oltsher said.

She added that because they insist on spaying and neutering animals, any that they don't take in are more likely to breed and make the problem worse.

ZOE's was caring for a dog and her 13 puppies Monday. More information about how to help is available online.

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