Summer is always the busiest time for us and this year has been no exception. We took 306 animals into our care during the month of August. Over half of those were kittens under five months of age. Spring, summer and fall all blend into one season for us here at RHSPCA… You guessed it – ‘Kitten Season’.
What’s unique this year during kitten season is we’ve seen a very significant increase in the number of dogs coming into our care. Adult dog intakes are up twenty percent and we’ve seen twice as many puppies this year. The increase in intakes has not been unique to us, as shelters across the country have experienced higher intakes ‘post-covid’. The increase in dog intakes has been primarily strays. Owners surrendering the dogs to us have cited ‘financial hardship’ as the number one reason for surrender. Specifically, access to affordable veterinary care and inability to afford or find a place that allowed the owners to keep their dog.
Adult dogs and kittens are the costliest to create a positive outcome for. Cost of veterinary care for adult dogs is higher especially as many were surrendered to us with outstanding medical needs. The sheer volume of young kittens and their susceptibility to illness and disease contributes significantly to the medical expenses.
Kitten season will draw to a close, hopefully, by the end of October. We are continuing to provide Community Cat vouchers to residents of Rockingham County. Proactively reducing the number of kittens being born is the only answer to Kitten Season. And let’s hope the increase in dog intakes this year is an anomaly and not the start of a ‘Dog Season’.