Steinbach & Area Animal Rescue turns away far more animals than they are able to help.
Sadly, they are expecting yet another intake freeze coming up this winter.
Rae Handley, the cat intake/foster coordinator and medical coordinator for Steinbach & Area Animal Rescue, says they were already under intake freeze for most of September and October.
“We've just recently been able to lift that intake freeze, but we're pretty much going to have to put it back on again, just with the overwhelming amount of intake requests we're getting.”
They often find additional sickness in animals rescued during winter. It’s not uncommon for them to see parts of ears or tails that have fallen off, or animals that require amputation surgeries.
“Our winters here are harsh, and they last for about half the year unfortunately. So there's a huge stretch of time where animals that are outside and don't have shelter or proper access to food and water, are really at risk for starvation and frostbite injuries.”
They usually come in a lot thinner and sicker during winter, as they have not received proper nutrition and warmth.
"It's hard for them to fight off simple things like colds which increases our vet bills as well.”
All of the animals they take in have to go straight into foster homes since they can’t afford a building for the rescue.
To avoid turning animals away, they need to be able to pay their vet bills and have foster homes available to put new animals into.
She says it’s mind-boggling to think that there isn’t an actual physical animal shelter South of Winnipeg.
"A lot of people still don't realize that all of these animals are in foster homes, we don't have a physical animal shelter. We get a lot of people finding animals and they're like ‘can I drop them off at the shelter?’ And we're like... there isn't one.”
Handley says the best way to help out is to foster.
"Really more than anything, we need those foster homes, people willing to take in these animals off the street and just keep them safe until we can get them adopted.”
She goes on to say that each foster saves a life.
"If you have space in your garage, a bathroom, a spare room, that's enough to save a life. That gives us a place to get an animal off the street, and into somewhere warm and safe,” she says. “We can get them the vet care they need and get them out of the elements.”
They offer a ton of support throughout the whole fostering process, they even provide all of the food.
"We answer questions, we have a foster FAQ brochure that we give you. We're just here to support."
She notes foster homes need to have a quarantine space if the house has other pets in it.
"These animals coming in, we don't know their health histories, so we don't want people's own pets getting sick, so they need a separate room.”
The animals get spayed or neutered before they are adopted out, but if they are too young at the time, the rescue will let you know when to book with the clinic.
Whether it’s done before or after adoption, the surgery will be covered under the adoption fee as well as vaccinations.
“The dogs get tested for heartworm and Lyme disease. The cats get tested for FIV. If they're old enough, we do all of that ahead of time so when you adopt them, they're pretty much just good to go.”
You can contact them if you want more information on a particular animal.
Handley notes their adoption coordinator can also help you choose a pet based on your needs.
“It's almost like a little matchmaking service that she does. She finds out what people need and matches a pet to them that they can adopt that's going to just work great with their family.”
Handley says every time an animal is adopted, it’s always a special moment.
They had a cat named Biggie who was just recently adopted. It was hard for him to find his permanent home since he doesn’t get along with other cats.
“He's just the best boy. Biggie loves people, super cool with dogs and kids, but he could not be around his own kind,” she says. “He had been waiting since February to get adopted and he just got adopted last week, so we're all super excited about that.”
She notes Steinbach & Area Animal Rescue is made up of volunteers, and thanks everyone for their ongoing support.
"There are a lot of animals that need help. If anybody wants to join our team to help with adoption events, fostering, organizing volunteers, we're growing our volunteer team non-stop and we could really use some more help.”
If you've got questions or want to volunteer, just go to their website and leave them a message.
They currently have about 45 animals in their care.
If you are interested in either adopting or fostering, fill out the application form to do so on their website.
To donate you can make a tax-deductible donation, donate in-person at PetVet or Clearspring Animal Hospital, or join Chase the Ace at Smitty’s on Monday nights from 6-8PM.