Animals Without a Home: Schoolchildren Speak Out

“We are grade 5 students at École Catherine-Soumillard in Lachine. The issue of surrendered animals touched us deeply when we studied it as part of a reading circle. To learn more about the subject, we invited the following speakers to our school: Maja Vodanovic, mayor of Lachine and the person in charge of the new Montreal animal shelter project, MNA Andrés Fontecilla, who introduced Bill 494, and Émilie-Lune Sauvé, the SPCA’s Animal Advocacy campaign manager. 


To all current and future companion animal guardians, and to all politicians enacting animal welfare legislation, 

In a world where companion animals play an increasingly crucial role in our lives, it is alarming to note that their adoption, which sometimes happens on impulse, can be followed by their surrender. This issue raises fundamental questions about the responsibility and respect owed to these living beings who share our daily lives. It is imperative that amendments be made to our laws, and that every adoption be preceded by careful consideration. 

Did you know that one animal in six is surrendered because of a move? Moreover, according to the SPCA, only 4.2% of landlords accept tenants with dogs without any restrictions. Surrenders are on the rise, and shelters are often at maximum capacity. How can a parent explain to their child that the family dog or cat will be surrendered because of a no-pet clause?

How would you, dear reader, feel if you had to abandon a member of your family? MNA Andrés Fontecilla tabled Bill 494, which called on landlords to accept companion animals in rental housing, but it was rejected. Quebec lags behind Ontario in this regard. If an animal is well-behaved, why should they be banned? Having a companion animal has many positive effects: it reduces anxiety, provides comfort and contributes to better physical and mental health. 

During the pandemic, 36% more households adopted a companion animal. The adoption rate soared, yet every year in Montreal some 11,500 animals are surrendered. We believe that the time has come to put an end to this situation. It is important that people give proper thought to the needs of an animal before deciding to adopt one. Animals are living beings who need love, attention, food and care. They must be treated well. Caring for a companion animal takes up a lot of time every day. It is essential for adopters to choose an animal that suits their lifestyle. According to Émilie-Lune Sauvé of the SPCA, specialists working in animal shelters are experts at helping families find the animal that is right for them. In short, before adopting an animal whom they might end up having to surrender later, people must think carefully and be certain they can care for their future family member. 

In conclusion, it is time to start a dialogue and find fair solutions to ensure the well-being of companion animals and promote harmonious coexistence between landlords and tenants. By adopting a more inclusive policy and thinking carefully before bringing a new companion into our lives, we can create an environment where every animal is happy and well-treated.”

Does this issue concern you as well?

Sign our letter and call your MNA to express your support for Bill 494 here.

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