How to meet every animal’s needs in a pandemic

A message from Élise Desaulniers, Executive director at the Montreal SPCA

Adapting to the unforeseen is just a part of everyday life at a shelter like ours. It is not uncommon for us to receive dozens of chicks, dogs and even spiders all at once or to have to improvise a comfortable bed for a pig who will be staying with us for a while. We have been here for 150 years, helping Quebec and its animals get through major crises. For example, in 1996, our volunteers saved hundreds of animal victims from flooding in the Saguenay and came to the rescue of many more in the 1998 ice storm.

While the current situation may be unprecedented in Quebec, the Montreal SPCA is dealing with it just like we deal with any other daily surprise: we are rallying around our common values of animals first and of compassion, integrity, respect and communication.

We understand the public health emergency that has been declared in Quebec and are doing everything we can to encourage citizens to stay home and limit contact.

For this reason, we have considerably reduced our activities. Animal abandonments are now by appointment, and we only accept urgent cases. Since animals will always be more comfortable in a loving home and we want to keep our human and material resources for new arrivals, our foster family and adoption services are still open on an appointment-only basis. Our animal protection officers continue to receive reports of animal abuse and travel for urgent cases, taking the appropriate protective measures, of course.

We are also applying the recommendations of the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), the Association vétérinaire québécoise de médecine de refuge (AVQMR) and the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec (OMVQ). Indeed, all non-emergency medical interventions have been suspended. This means that the only surgeries being performed are emergencies, with a view to reducing exposure and risks of human contact and to conserving essential medical supplies, which could be given to the public health network if needed.

Fortunately, we have not experienced the wave of animal abandonment that has occurred elsewhere in the world. However, we do continue to receive animals in need. Some are seriously ill and their owners don’t have the resources to provide proper treatment. Others are brought to us by the families of elderly people who have gone into nursing homes. The first litters of orphaned kittens have started to arrive and, like every spring, their numbers will only increase in the coming weeks.

Animals’ needs are not taking a break during containment and the pandemic.

We have adapted our services to focus on the essentials, but we still need your help. More than 80% of our revenue comes from donations, legacies and our other self-generated income. Without the support of the public, we cannot continue fulfilling our mission. If you can, please make a donation now. This is the very best way to help us.


The entire team is active in offering each animal who arrives at our facility the very best possible chance for a new life. The Montreal SPCA is as committed as ever to performing euthanasia only when no other option is available, namely for animals with very serious behavioural or health problems, and for dying animals for whom there is nothing left to do but shorten suffering. To get through this crisis, we continue to be inspired by the practices of the most progressive shelters in North America.

Thank you for supporting the Montreal SPCA and the animals.

Élise Desaulniers
Executive Director
Montreal SPCA

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