At the first Woopaw Fest at Montreal’s Peel Basin, dozens of joyful pet owners came together for a canine carnival over the weekend. They all gathered to show off and celebrated their furry friends.
“He’s honestly the quietest and the most easygoing little baby that I could have wished for,” Lauriane Gagné said of her chihuhua, Chester.
“She’s a really, really nice little girl,” Melanie Masseé said of her 3-month-old morkie, Abby.
Neither Gagné nor Massé could ever imagine being forced to part with their beloved pets. However, the Montreal SPCA says because of the housing crisis Montrealers are being pushed to do exactly that with increasing frequency.
“What we’re noticing this year, and it surprised us, is that in the first four months of the year, there was a 20% increase in the number of abandoned animals at the SPCA. We weren’t expecting that,” said SPCA Montreal executive director Anthony Johnson
When looking for affordable housing, compromises often need to be made. With Quebec land lords being legally allowed to refuse pets, some are forced to choose between keeping their animals, and having a place to live.
“I actually had to move to Griffintown to get a dog friendly apartment. My last place in Verdun, didn’t accept dogs,” said Gagné.
“I’d live in my car if I had to,” said Massé.
With July 1st moving day in the rearview mirror, the SPCA is very busy.
“We have a lot of animals right now in shelter. We have about 100 cats. We have 30 dogs, 25 rabbits. In our foster families, we have another 400 pets,” Johnson explained.
He says if you’ve been thinking about bringing a new pet into your home, whether its a dog or a cat or a rabbit, now is the perfect moment.
“This is the time to come down to the SPCA and see if you can find your forever friends,” said Johnson.
The SPCA is once again expressing its support for a bill proposed by Quebec Solidaire that would force landlords to allow pets at all rentals.
“We would definitely love to see a day when landlords are no longer allowed to blanket refuse pets,” he said.
Johnson invites you to visit the SPCA website, where they have a platform for you to send a letter to your National Assembly member in support of the bill
Their hope is for all their animals to find loving owners like the ones caring for their creatures at the Woopaw Fest.