FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S)
We want nothing more than to encourage responsible pet ownership and to provide opportunities for people to do their part to control pet overpopulation. We would LOVE to be able to offer this type of program and hope that we are able to in the future. We do not have an on-site veterinarian as some other humane societies/shelters have so our shelter animals are seen by our local vet. Because of the costs involved, the PVHS is just not able to financially able to support a low cost sterilization program for the public right now. We continue to discuss starting up this type of program and hope to be able to offer such services as we grow. In the meantime, we recommend that people looking for this type of program contact the Winnipeg Humane Society’s SNAP (Spay & Neuter Assistance Program) for help. They can be reached at 204-888-SNAP (7627).
Why is it often difficult to get a real person on the phone when I call PVHS?
PVHS is an organization run almost primarily through the efforts of volunteers. With only one staff person employed, we simply do not have enough people available to consistently answer the phone. When our staff/volunteers are busy with other members of the public at the shelter or are working with the animals, it’s not always safe or prudent for us to leave what we are doing to answer the phone. While we recognize it can certainly be frustrating to not be able to reach us, we encourage you to leave a message and we will respond (usually within 1-2 business days). You can also reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and will often receive a more prompt response this way. Visiting our website, www.pvhsociety.ca, is also a helpful resource as it can provide information that you may be looking for in regards to available animals, our adoption process, our foster program, our volunteer program, who to contact regarding suspected animal abuse and much more!
The PVHS staff member, our shelter manager, has many different responsibilities. She is not only responsible for dealing with the public but she also handles animal intakes, adoptions, veterinary coordinating and animal health care, volunteer coordinating, foster coordinating, website and Facebook page management and more! Plus, she volunteers many hours each week performing chore shifts and other shelter tasks because we just don’t have enough volunteers to do them. Each of these responsibilities could be a full time job all on their own! Therefore, time has to be set aside where the shelter is not open to the public to allow for many of these other tasks to get completed and for the animals to receive the care they need. Our board of directors fills in when they can to cover public hours; however, most work full-time jobs and have other PVHS responsibilities to handle as well. It comes down to not having the resources to hire more trained staff at this time. We are always reviewing the hours we are open to the public to better offer more opportunities for the public to visit our shelter and we will continue to do our best!
Why doesn’t PVHS offer more in the way of education for the public?
This is another area we would LOVE to be more actively involved in. We continue to plan to add educational programs and components to our operations. As we are still a fairly new organization, we need time and resources to create programs that represent what we are about and we need financial resources to make all of this happen! We also need more volunteers to come forward to work with us and help us in this area. We look forward to bringing animal welfare education more to the forefront of our organization over time.
The reality of the situation is that our shelter is almost always at capacity. When our kennels are full, we cannot take in animals if we have nowhere to put them! It is not responsible to take in more animals that we can adequately provide care for. Plus, in a shelter environment, over-crowding animals increases the possibility of cross-contamination and spread of illness or disease. We can only intake new animals as current animals get adopted and space becomes available. This is why we have a waiting list for new intakes. As adoptions occur, we offer the available space to the next person on the waiting list. We also have intakes from the local pound and from other animal controls/pound facilities. We serve many communities in the Pembina Valley, and beyond, which means our intake services are in high demand! The PVHS operates as a no-kill facility, which means we do not euthanize animals for space. This means that we keep animals until they get adopted even if this means they stay with us for a year or more! Thus, space can’t be opened up for a new intake until the current animal is adopted. We encourage people that urgently need to surrender an animal, and aren’t willing/able to wait, to contact other rescues to see if they can more quickly accommodate with an available space. We can also provide help and provide advice about how you may be able to care for your animal until space is available at PVHS
Why, if you have empty kennels, do you sometimes still add people to the intake waiting list rather than take in new animals right away to fill those kennels?
There are times that we simply cannot handle the workload or costs that come with filling our shelter to capacity. If we don’t have the people to care for the animals, or the money to provide appropriate care, then it would be irresponsible and negligent of us to take in animals knowing we can’t provide adequate care at that time. The well-being of the animals in our care will always remain top priority.
Yes, PVHS is classified as a No-Kill shelter. This doesn’t mean that we NEVER euthanize animals in our care, but it does mean we don’t euthanize healthy animals to create more kennel space. We do, on occasion, have to euthanize animals due to medical issues or severe behavioral issues that render an animal unadoptable. The reality of being a No-Kill shelter is that we keep all healthy animals with us until they are adopted and sometimes this process can take months! This means that we can only intake new animals into our shelter when space allows.
Why does PVHS charge a “surrender fee” when someone wants to surrender their pet or turn in a stray animal?
Each animal that enters our system requires care and this costs money! We are proud to be able to offer some of the lowest adoption fees in the province, but our adoption fees don’t even come close to covering the costs we incur for the animal while it is in our care. Having a shelter facility means we have a mortgage to pay, utilities, staff salary, supplies, and other costs each month PLUS each animal requires veterinary care. We charge a surrender fee to help offset some of these costs. We know it seems unfair to charge someone a fee when they are surrendering a stray animal that they found; but please remember that these fees go towards ensuring quality care for the animal they are surrendering. It allows us to be able to help as many animals as possible.
Why is your adoption process so intensive? Isn’t any home for an animal better than living at the shelter?
We have received comments previously that people feel that the paperwork and reference checks involved with adopting an animal from our shelter is too intensive. Our responsibility, as always, is to put the welfare of the animals entrusted to our care at the forefront. We want both the humans AND the animals to be happy. That is why we work so hard to make sure that the animal is a good match for the family. Our adoption process is integral in our efforts to ensure that each animal is matched, as best as possible, with a home that is well-suited to their specific needs. It is very stressful for an animal to go back and forth between a home and the shelter so we have certain requirements that must be met before we will consider adopting an animal out. We want to set you and your new pet up for success!
Interested adopters must complete an adoption application, also called a Lifestyle Assessment, prior to meeting a specific animal. This document provides us with important details about the potential adopter’s lifestyle and helps us to “weed out” any animals that would not be well-suited to that particular environment (for example: if someone were to list on their application that they have cats and kids, we wouldn’t adopt them a dog that hates cats and kids!). It also helps us offer suggestions as to which available animals might be better suited. Many animals that come into our shelter system have had troubled pasts. They rely on us to do what is in their best interests so that we set them up for success in their new home. While it may seem inconvenient, our adoption process has both the human’s and animal’s best interests at heart! We really want to help create a happy and successful partnership!
If I come to the shelter & fill our an adoption application while there, why can’t I adopt the same day?
PVHS policy is that we will not do same-day adoptions. We want to ensure that when someone is interested in adopting they have taken the time to thoroughly consider their decision and the long-term implications of adding a pet to their life. We don’t want anyone making a sudden decision to adopt without taking the time to think it over. It is also important that people have prepared their home for a new furry addition so that when they bring their new pet home, everything is ready! Our experience has been that people that adopt on impulse are likely to return the animal to the shelter which is highly stressful on the animal in question and also creates a lot of additional work for our staff. Also, due to our limited staff/volunteer situation, we often need a day or two to properly review and process the adoption application, including calling references. Please keep in mind that an adoption application can be completed and submitted in advance. It can be completed directly on our website or scanned and emailed to us. This way, we can process the application ahead of time and then contact you to come and meet/adopt your new pet in a single day.
We are a non-profit, charitable organization. Thus, we require adoption fees be paid to help us cover the high costs associated with operating our shelter. Yes, a person is free to pick up a “free” animal elsewhere; however, our low (lowest in the province) adoption fees cover each animals spay or neuter surgery, their vaccinations, deworming, and any other medical care they require while in our shelter. We also provide a certificate for a free basic vet exam within the first 10 days of adoption. Our adoption fees don’t even come close to covering these costs for each animal, but they help to offset them. By the time you pay out of pocket for all these expenses yourself for that “free” animal you picked up, you will understand that our adoption fees are more than reasonable and it is actually much more cost effective to adopt an animal.
Why do you have to be 14 years or older to volunteer at PVHS? Why can’t my kids volunteer?
At PVHS, we do our very best to ensure the safety of both our animals and the humans that enter our facility. Some of the animals in our care have come from unknown situations. Some are very fearful, some are very large, and some don’t yet have any manners and can play roughly. Others have simply never been socialized to children and therefore have negative reactions to them. Children tend to make fast, sudden movements that can make an animal uncomfortable. The last thing we want is to see someone get scratched, knocked over, or hurt by a shelter animal! We also don’t want to cause additional stress on the animals. Older teenagers and adults understand that each animal is different and may react to different situations in different ways. Children tend not to understand that just because their puppy at home enjoys being hugged, one at the shelter might be frightened by this and lash out. We need volunteers that can understand and follow our policies and procedures in regards to interacting with and caring for the animals at the shelter. We certainly want to foster positive relationships between our children and animals in need. There are plenty of ways for children to help animals other than volunteering directly at the shelter! Contact us to find out how your little ones can get involved and stay safe at the same time.
All public are welcome to visit our shelter during public hours! However, we do restrict direct interaction between shelter animals and members of the public. The reason for this is that we have to work very hard to maintain animal health in our shelter. This means restricting the amount of access that our animals have with people that are not trained volunteers. Giving public free access to roam between cat rooms would increase the likelihood of contagious illness being passed between cats at the shelter. Also, certain animals are anxious/high stress and need careful introductions to new people. Some of our animals are recovering from spay/neuter surgeries, or are on medications. Some have backgrounds that make them reactive when meeting new people. All of this means that interactions need to be properly supervised and monitored. Our limited staff makes it difficult to accommodate these types of interactions for everyone that enters our facility. We are happy to show people through our facility and we would certainly welcome your application to join our great group of volunteers if you are interested in having ongoing interactions with our shelter and its residents!
I donated more than $100. Why isn’t my name on a plaque on your donor wall in the shelter?
While all donations of $20 or more receive a charitable tax receipt, donations in excess of $100 garner a plaque on our donor wall! We’re sorry if you have donated and haven’t seen your name on our board! Unfortunately, we are WAY behind in updating our donor board. We will work towards updating our board of donors as soon as we possibly can! Thank you for your patience!
I can’t afford to give a monetary donation to PVHS, but I still want to help. Are there other ways I can help?
ABSOLUTELY! There are so many ways to help our shelter! No donation is considered too small! We gratefully accept donations of supplies such as clumping kitty litter, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, and liquid bleach. A full list of needed supplies can be found on our website. You can also consider signing up to be a volunteer at the shelter or as part of our fundraising team. Tell your friends, family or co-workers that are considering getting a pet to consider adoption! Even simple tasks like sharing our adoptable animal albums on social media sites or sharing our status updates can make a big difference!