Virtual Big Paws – 2020

Humane Society cancels biggest event of the year.

Big Paws will move to a virtual event in light of COVID

Kingston, ON – July 16, 2020
The Kingston Humane Society (KHS) had big plans for Big Paws 2020. Working with the City of Kingston, KHS staff were excited at prospect of moving their largest and most anticipated fundraiser of the year to City Park after many successful years at Lake Ontario Park. Unfortunately, with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the decision has been made to cancel the event and transition to a virtual fundraising walk.

“This is another in a series of heartbreaking changes we’ve been forced to make,” said Executive Director Gord Hunter. “We just can’t take the chance that participants, volunteers, staff or vendors might unwittingly transmit the virus or get sick by taking part in Big Paws.”

In its place, the KHS has decided to launch a virtual Big Paws walk that will last from September 15-October15. “Since the pandemic was declared in March, so many people have begun taking long walks with their pets as a way to get some fresh air and exercise,” noted Hunter. “With the popularity of devices that track your steps and activity, we’ve decided that we can use that concept to encourage people to take a walk for our animals and for Big Paws.”

The KHS will launch a web page that will allow people to upload their pet walks and compete for draw prizes while raising money to assist with their mandate; to shelter, feed, and treat the abused, neglected and abandoned animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. Like so many organizations, the Kingston Humane Society is struggling to replace a number of events that have been cancelled since the outbreak of COVID. Along with the cancellation of Big Paws, they have been forced to cancel Bowl for the Animals, Unleash the Treats and the annual spring online auction was rescheduled to July. The result is a forecasted loss for 2020 of more than $100,000 in funds that would have been raised at public events.

Details of the Big Paws Virtual Walk will be released within the next few weeks with registrations beginning later in August.

While this year has proven to be more difficult than anyone could have envisioned, the challenge of reimagining events in a virtual/digital world gives the KHS an opportunity to expose a larger population to their innovative animal programs, enrichment initiatives, and success stories.

BACKGROUND
The KHS is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of animals within our community. Founded in 1884, the KHS continues to provide shelter and care for homeless animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. We promote responsible pet ownership and compassion and respect for all animals. In addition, we work in and with our community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.

CONTACT
Gord Hunter, Executive Director KHS, 613-546-1291 ext 105

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HUMANE SOCIETY TO RESUME ADOPTIONS

Contactless adoptions will begin on May 6th for limited number of animals

Kingston, ON – May 1, 2020
Beginning on Wednesday May 6th, the Kingston Humane Society (KHS) will resume adoptions of animals to suitable members of the public. The number of animals available will initially be limited and significant safety protocols will be employed to avoid any contact or direct interaction with potential adopters.

Five weeks ago, the KHS suspended all adoptions in an effort to significantly reduce the potential of COVID-19
transmission within the community or to the KHS staff. In that time, more than 100 foster volunteers have stepped up to care for animals that would normally have been housed in kennels and waiting for adoption.

“Our foster volunteers have been incredible,” said Gord Hunter, Executive Director, “but we’re starting to see
the expected spring influx of animals and we need to be sure we have capacity within the shelter once things
begin to open up again and once the foster families begin returning animals to us.”

The capacity of the current building is limited to 75 cats and 44 dogs. The KHS currently has 112 animals in
care; the majority in foster homes. In May of 2019, the Kingston Humane Society took in just under 200
animals. After this year’s mild winter, Animal Programs Manager Christie Haaima expects numbers to rise significantly, potentially putting the shelter well over capacity.

“Each year, we see a large influx of animals heading into the summer months, predominantly stray cats and
orphaned kittens,” said Haaima. “We can’t allow Covid-19 to prevent us from saving the lives of nearly 2,000 pets this year. We need to be prepared by continuing adoptions and expanding our foster program.”

Pre-adoption counselling and meet and greets will be done virtually utilizing available electronic meeting platforms. The successful adopters will then come to the shelter to pick up the animal in a no-touch environment. Adoption payments will be accepted by debit or credit only using no-touch or minimal contact protocols. All KHS staff employees will wear full PPE and adopters will be asked to wear gloves and masks when picking up their new family member.

“This is new to all of us and we expect to experience small glitches that we’ll address and correct on the fly,” said Hunter. “Our goal is to find forever homes for as many animals in our care as possible and to remain within our somewhat limited capacity, keeping the strain on staff and animals to a minimum.”

Beginning Wednesday May 6th, the public can find animals available for adoption on our website at www.kingstonhumanesociety.ca . Online applications will be processed as received and suitable adopters will be contacted for virtual meet and greets.

BACKGROUND

The Kingston Humane Society is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of animals within our community. Founded in 1884, the KHS continues to provide shelter and care for homeless animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. We promote responsible pet ownership and compassion and respect for all animals. In addition, we work in and with our community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.

CONTACT
Gord Hunter, Executive Director KHS, 613-546-1291 ext 105

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