The Oakville & Milton Humane Society is pleading with residents to open their homes temporarily to some furry friends in need.
The shelter, located at 445 Cornwall Rd., was closed to the public on Sept. 16, due to a small ringworm outbreak.
The closure, which is ongoing as treatment and quarantine proceeds, is causing problems for the humane society, which, at the best of times, struggles to find space for the region’s stray and abandoned animals.
“While we have one of the highest return-to-owner rates in the country for dogs (94 per cent) and cats (17 per cent), the closure, combined with our absolute commitment to low euthanasia, means we need to find foster homes for many of the animals currently being boarded at veterinary clinics and boarding facilities,” said Brenda Dushko of the Oakville & Milton Humane Society.
“The clock is ticking for us as we are heading into the busiest time of year for these facilities and many are already totally booked from mid-December on. With the shelter not due to open until at least January, it leaves us with a great need for fosters.”
Heather White, manager of the humane society’s community outreach and education, also pointed out a foster family is better for the animal and gives it important life experience in a home before it is adopted.
“We provide everything the foster parent needs and ask that they keep the foster pet separate from their own pets, if they have them, and also that they be available to bring them to the shelter as needed,” said White.
Representatives from Oakville & Milton Humane Society said they are grateful to PetSmart in Oakville, PetValu in Clarkson and Ruffins Pet Nutrition in Milton for space to showcase adoptable cats, kittens and small animals.
Lower-than-expected adoptions for this time of year at the humane society are continuing in the wake of the ringworm outbreak with 54 cats and kittens, one dog and several small animals adopted out since the shelter closed in mid-September.
Ringworm is a skin infection that is caused by a fungus – not by a worm as the name suggests.
Though itchy and irritating, ringworm is rarely fatal, however, it is contagious, even to humans, which is why the Oakville & Milton Humane Society decided, based on advice from veterinarians, to close the shelter to the public until its staff is confident the shelter is free of the infection.
The shelter will not re-open until it is safe to do so, currently, estimated to be some time in January.
Ringworm outbreaks are not always treated this way in Ontario. In 2010 the Ontario Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) shelter in Newmarket was going to put down 350 dogs, cats and other animals because of an alleged ringworm outbreak.
It was later determined that few, if any, of the animals had ringworm, but some 57 animals had already been euthanized before staff reversed the decision because of public outcry.
Anyone interested in adopting or becoming a foster family to a humane society animal can call 905-845-1551 or visit www.oakvillemiltonhumane.ca for more information.
Additional monetary donations are also urgently needed as the ringworm outbreak has resulted in additional treatment and temporary shelter costs that the humane society has been forced to bear.