Rouge National Urban Park Officials Ask for the Public’s Help with Abandoned Animals

We hear about it more frequently as each day passes: pet owners dumping their pets in parks and at airports. What they’re thinking is anyone’s guess, but the desperation levels for these people must be off the charts to resort to such moves.

It’s gotten so bad in Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park that officials there are asking the public to please surrender unwanted pets through humane channels and not release them into the park or other natural areas.

stray dog
Photo: Pixabay/balouriarajesh

Animal Surrender

“The release of pets and exotic animals into parklands is not a new trend in Rouge National Urban Park, but there has been an increase in recent years,” Parks Canada declared in a written statement. “In addition to domestic dogs, park staff are seeing cats, rabbits, reptiles, and other exotic wildlife released within park boundaries, both on land and in waterways. Despite what the movies might convey, this seldom has a happy ending — not only does the animal suffer, but its release also poses real risks and consequences for the ecological integrity of the park.”

stray dog
Photo: Pixabay/AliceSilver

Desperate Times…

Pets and domestic animals that previously relied on owners to care for them and provide food and shelter aren’t equipped to survive in the wild, Parks Canada explained. Unvaccinated or ill animals can carry and/or pass on diseases, parasites, and different viruses to native species.

Additionally, the presence of these outsiders within park boundaries can and often does disrupt natural ecosystems through competition with native species for food sources and habitat. Sometimes they even prey upon wildlife in order to survive, creating an even bigger ecological mess.

abandoned dog
Photo: Pixabay/ArtisticOperations

Stranger Danger

“If you can no longer care for a pet, please surrender the animal to a local shelter or wildlife sanctuary where it can receive the care it needs and a better chance of finding a forever home,” Parks Canada added. Rouge visitors are being asked to report domestic animal sightings by calling 416-264-2020.

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