Frequently Asked Questions

Adoptions

How much does it cost to surrender my animal?

The Victoria Humane Society does not charge fees to owners surrendering their pets. A monetary donation towards the care of the pet you are surrendering would be greatly appreciated.

How do I surrender an animal to you?

Giving up an animal is never easy, for the owner or for the pet. Please contact us for more information on surrendering your animal.

Do you require spaying or neutering of adopted cats and dogs?

Yes! We are committed to ending pet overpopulation and consider spaying and neutering one solution to this significant problem. This is to help prevent overpopulation of animals, reduce diseases related to the reproductive organs and to discourage animals from wandering away from home. One of the Victoria Humane Society’s key goals is to spay or neuter all rescued cats and dogs, prior to putting them up for adoption.

Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?

We do get purebred dogs and cats of all ages, however they tend to be adopted very quickly.

How long do you keep animals?

We keep all healthy, adoptable animals as long as it takes to find them a new home. We hold all adoptable animals in foster homes until the right forever home comes along. For some animals this can mean living at a foster home for weeks or months, until the right home is available. The length of stay for animals varies. Our foster families, staff and volunteers socialize and exercise our animals to help keep them happy and well adjusted during their stay. The Victoria Humane Society has over 50 foster families who care for animal (including newborns, pregnant cats, and recuperating dogs) until they are ready to be placed up for adoption, or until they find their forever homes.

Do you accept or rescue animals from other shelters?

We do accept animals from other humane societies and rescue organizations. These animals are examined by a veterinary team before they are placed into our adoption program. As well, we are in an innovative partnership with Pacific Coastal airlines to arrange for the safe passage of dogs from remote B.C. communities, giving many of these animals a second chance at life.

Where do the Victoria Humane Society animals come from?

The majority of animals come from owner surrenders in the Victoria area. We also work closely with rural and remote communities in B.C. (who often have no options for the many stray and abandoned animals in their areas) to bring their animals to us to help give them a chance at a better life.

What is included in your adoption fees?

An adoption with the Victoria Humane Society includes: • spay or neuter • first vaccines • de-wormer • de-fleaing • any additional medical care that was given • valuable training tips and advice

What do I need to bring with me to complete an adoption?

For all adoptions, you will need to provide your photo identification with your current address. If you have recently moved, a piece of photo identification along with a utility bill, your lease or a bank statement will suffice. Dogs and cats must go home wearing a proper collar. Cats must go home in an appropriate carrier. Please bring these items with you to complete your adoption.

I live out of town. Can you ship an animal to me?

We do not ship animals. If you live out of town, we are more than willing to allow you to adopt if you can make the trip to the Greater Victoria region to meet the animal. In some cases, we can complete an interview over the phone so we can place an animal on hold to give you time to travel.

Can I fill out paperwork online?

Yes! As we do not have a shelter, all of our applications are online. You can find an online adoption application on our website under Apply to Adopt.

Why do some dogs have restrictions regarding the ages of children in families that may adopt them?

Age restrictions are assigned to certain dogs to help protect the safety of both the dog and the family that may adopt it. Our animal care staff have closely assessed the personalities of every dog, and any age restrictions assigned to a dog are meant as a guideline to help adopters determine which pet will best match the needs of their household.

Why are all your animals spayed or neutered?

We are committed to ensuring that all animals adopted are spayed or neutered before leaving. Thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized daily in Canada because of the severe animal over-population problem, and spaying or neutering the pets that leave our care ensures we do not contribute to that epidemic.

Why is an adoption fee charged for animals being adopted?

The Victoria Humane Society is a non-profit, privately funded rescue organization. Our animals stay with us until they get adopted. The adoption fee we charge offsets the services we provide the animals. Animals adopted from us are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and seen by a veterinarian regularly. In most cases, we spend hundreds of dollars on each animal that stays with us.

What's the adoption process like?

As your local humane society, we have a responsibility to place animals in suitable environments that will promote loving bonds between adopters and their pets. Through our adoption process, we will help you find that perfect pet, the one that fulfills your expectations, and suits your lifestyle. An adoption counsellor will guide you to ensure that the adoption experience will prove positive for both you and your new companion animal. The long-term well-being of the animals in our care is our main concern, so not all adoption requests may be approved. The first step is completing an adoption questionnaire. The adoption application can be filled out on our website. Once the questionnaire is completed, you can submit it to the Victoria Humane Society, and then work with one of our staff members or volunteers, who will assist you in making that right choice for a loving pet. We will require any potential adopters to meet and interact with the animal under our supervision, before adoption is completed. The Adoption Agreement you sign when you adopt an animal will clearly explain your obligations and responsibilities when you adopt an animal. Every animal will be spayed or neutered by the Victoria Humane Society prior to going to its new home. We will do home checks, verify information with landlords, past/present veterinarians, and check references. Adoptions generally take at least 24-48 hours. We rarely allow an animal to go home the same day.

How much does it cost to adopt a pet?

Our adoption fees are as follows: • Puppies (under 1 year)…$450 + PST • Adult Dog (1 -10 years)…$350 + PST • Senior Dog (over 10 years)…$200 + PST • Kittens (under 1 year)…$300 + PST • Adult Cat (1 -7 years)…$200 + PST • Small animal prices vary *PST is British Columbia’s Provincial Sales Tax. Victoria Humane Society is required to charge it on all adoption fees. The PST is currently at a rate of 7%.

Where are you located?

The Victoria Humane Society will have a shelter in the future but a location hasn't been chosen yet. At this time, rescued animals are being placed in our large network of approved foster homes until they are adopted.

Services and Other

Do you sell animals for scientific experimentation?

Under no circumstance does the Victoria Humane Society ever give or sell an animal for research.

What do I do when I find a dead animal?

Different regulations apply to dead animals, depending on where the animal was found, and what kind of animal it is. If the animal's owner is not known, and the animal is on public property (such as the street or in a park), contact the City.

Who do I call when I see a loose dog in my neighbourhood?

In Victoria, Esquimalt and Oak Bay, Victoria Animal Control manages stray dogs in the city. They can be reached by phone at 250-414-0233. In all other municipalities, please call the CRD at 250-658-5745.

I found an animal. What should I do?

If you have found an animal, you cannot simply keep it. There may be a distraught family looking for the found pet. You can notify your local Animal Control that you have found an animal. In Victoria, Esquimalt and Oak Bay, Victoria Animal Control manages stray and lost dogs. They can be reached by phone at 250-414-0233. In all other municipalities, please call the CRD at 250-658-5745. Local groups also have active Facebook pages that have good success in connecting lost or found animals with their owners -- look on Facebook for information on local ways to share information about an animal you have found or lost. As well, advertise in the free 'found' section of the newspaper and on online sites, put up posters in your neighbourhood or bring a found animal to a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip implant.

How do I report animal neglect or cruelty?

To report a suspected situation in the Greater Victoria region involving an animal that may be abused or neglected, and in distress, please contact the BC SPCA Hotline at 1-855-622-7722.

What is your euthanasia policy?

Euthanasia is a very serious decision, and only administered as a last resort to animals who are suffering and whose quality of life has been diminished to the point that it can no longer be sustained in foster care or an alternative environment (e.g. palliative care), or when the animal shows behavior that cannot be rehabilitated, or lastly if it poses a significant health and safety risk. If an animal is admitted to us and due to medical or behavioral problems is unsafe for adoption, along with a trusted veterinarian we will make the decision to humanely euthanize the animal. We never turn an animal in need away.

Are you a "no-kill" animal rescue organization?

The term "no-kill" is a misleading term. Most "no-kill" shelters select the types of animals they take in, bypassing those that are ill or of poor temperament or health. In order for the Victoria Humane Society to be considered "no-kill" we would have to limit the types and numbers of animals we accept. We are an "open admission " animal rescue organization that offers care to animals regardless of age, health, temperament, or space available. Animals are never euthanized based on long foster stays or a lack of space, and healthy animals are never euthanized. If an animal presents an issue that can be treated through behavioural modification or medical intervention, we will give that animal every chance to succeed.

What's the difference between you and the BCSPCA?

The Victoria Humane Society is not affiliated with the BCSPCA. The Victoria Humane Society does not have the authority under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act to investigate or prosecute cases of animal cruelty. The BCSPCA is the provincial body responsible for the administration of the BC PCA Act, and conducts the enforcement of animal welfare legislation in the province. This Act gives the BCSPCA the authority to investigate animal cruelty. The Victoria Humane Society is a separate, independent and locally run humane society that services the needs of animals in need in B.C. The Victoria Humane Society currently receives no provincial funding and is operated entirely through private donors and sponsors.

Funding

Are you affiliated with Humane Society of Canada, or any other organization?

The BC Humane Society is the outreach partner for Victoria Humane Society and several other organizations. VHS does receive partial funding from BC Humane Society, which in turn is also a registered non-profit charity. The Humane Society of Canada or any other organization does not have any authority over or connection to the Victoria Humane Society. We all operate independently, and the Victoria Humane Society is run locally, by experienced animal welfare individuals with deep roots in our community.

What is the difference between you and other animal welfare organizations that solicit funds from me?

The Victoria Humane Society works directly with members of the community to find homes for homeless pets, help increase the value of companion animals, stop abuse and neglect, and solve training and behaviour difficulties. The Victoria Humane Society does not receive government funding. The Victoria Humane Society is also known for taking the “hard cases” – animals needing extensive medical care or longer stays in foster to overcome past neglect and abuse. Victoria Humane Society also works with rural and remote communities with no other access to animal rescue services.

If I make a gift to a national Humane Society organization, do you receive a portion of my donation?

The Victoria Humane Society does not receive any monetary donations from any national Humane Society organizations. If you would like to make a donation, please make your gift directly to us. Donations can be made through Canada Helps or PayPal.

Do you receive money from my taxes?

The Victoria Humane Society is a not-for-profit organization funded through charitable donations, and is not funded by government. Funding for our services and programs comes from cash donations, bequests, trusts, and fees.

How to Help

I want to help. What can I do?

We rely on donations of cash, time, and items. We are a registered charity and as such your donation is tax-deductible. Your financial support helps us care for hundreds of animals a year and offer programs and services to the community. You can make a donation through YouCaring or Canada Helps. There are many other ways you can help -- volunteer to assist animals, fostering, administrative support and data entry, dog walking, cat visits, helping out with special events, and humane education programs. Please visit our Volunteer section for more information on the various ways you can make a difference in the lives of the animals. To donate an item and help the animals in our care, please check Our Wish List.

Volunteering

Are dog walkers a different 'breed' of volunteer?

Yes. Dog walkers must have significant experience with dogs. Many of the dogs at the Victoria Humane Society are large or have had minimal or no training. As a result, these dogs can be a challenge to properly handle. Also, Victoria Humane Society dogs need consistent walking, socialization, and exercise. Dog walkers must enjoy the extremes of weather and commit to walking on a regular schedule, including on very cold, very hot or rainy days.

What's an orientation and how do I get one?

Orientations serve as general introduction to the Victoria Humane Society and some programs include role specific orientations (e.g. dog walking, fostering and home checks). Volunteer candidates are asked to complete the volunteer application available on our website. Matching candidates will be contacted for an interview and candidates approved as volunteers will be receive an orientation.

Do volunteers do more than one thing?

Absolutely. We have volunteers assisting with administrative duties, providing foster homes, walking dogs, visiting cats, and assisting with special events. We encourage volunteers to help out in ways that they are passionate about and best suit their skill set. We will work closely with volunteers to ensure that the volunteer programming is a match. Visit the Volunteer section on the website to read more about our current volunteer opportunities.

How do I become a volunteer?

The Victoria Humane Society has a variety of volunteer opportunities, ranging from dog walking to fostering to assisting with special events and fundraisers. We ask volunteer candidates to review our Volunteer application and identify areas of volunteering interest. All volunteer candidates are asked to complete the application form available on the website and submit it to us.

Remote & Rural Rescues

How much does it cost to fly the dogs to Victoria?

There is no cost to fly the dogs or cats. Volunteers put the animals onto Pacific Coastal Airlines which flies them to Victoria for free. The crates we use are generally donated. Victoria Humane Society volunteers pick up the animals at the airport.

Why do the dogs in remote and rural areas need particular help?

With limited resources and veterinary services for animals in remote and rural areas, many dogs are unsterilized, starving and homeless. Countless others are shot in a bid to control overpopulation problems. The sad reality in some rural and remote communities is that there are virtually no resources to address animal welfare and very few appropriate homes. At the Victoria Humane Society, we believe it is our responsibility to help animals in jurisdictions that are facing this problem. Thanks to the generosity of Pacific Coastal airlines and our volunteers, we are able to provide this help without diminishing the care and attention we give to local animals.

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