It seems pet owners in Ponoka County have held on to their fur babies so far, despite the uncertain economic times caused by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Old MacDonald Kennels, located 17 km east of Ponoka on Hwy. 53, provides animal control services for the town and county of Ponoka, as well as the County of Camrose. They also accept surrendered dogs from Maskwacis if there is room.
Although they are considered an essential service, with social distancing measures, things have slowed down considerably, and all but two of their staff have been laid off.
The number of surrendered dogs has stayed about the same since the COVID-19 crisis started, with “nothing out of the ordinary,” says long-time kennel services provider Hayley Catterall.
Catterall and owner Martine Huyssoon continue to hold down the fort.
Although there hasn’t been an increase in surrendered pets as of yet, Catterall says that may change as the situation progresses.
There were a couple of calls to relinquish pets before public health measures began to be implemented, which has resulted in many people being out of work, but not many since then, says Catterall.
There have been a couple of calls of loose dogs, but those have all been accounted for, with owners contacted for pickup.
As the Town of Ponoka has no cat bylaws in place yet, they don’t pick up strays within the town, but do provide those services to Bashaw and Bittern Lake.
So far, no cats have been surrendered to the shelter.
Old MacDonald had been asking people to come out and volunteer their time to help walk dogs, but have now put that on hold to limit interactions with the public.
Likewise, those wishing to adopt a dog are asked to make an appointment to see a specific one, and to fill out the paper work in their car.
“We’re trying to keep everyone out of the building, essentially,” said Catterall.
For more information or to make an appointment, please call 403-783-7447.