Organizations advocating for animal welfare in Canada have sounded the alarm over an ongoing animal overpopulation crisis for several years.
But at the Lincoln County Humane society, executive director Kevin Strooband thinks he is seeing a glimmer of light.
The combined shelter and full-service veterinary clinic, the first of its kind in the province, has been offering low-cost spay and neuter for dogs and cats since 2011, and now the former onslaught of stray cats and litters of kittens is starting to decrease.
"It is great. Now we are able to help out surrounding areas. Next week we are taking in cats from Windsor that, for some reason, is inundated with cats", he told Thorold News while showing a room full of cages gaping empty.
Strooband also attributes the societys low adoption costs and rigorous match-making as factors that help keep animals off the streets.
The society adopts out around 1000 cats and roughly 600 dogs per years, some flown in from overseas, like South Korea, or are transported from the U.S.
"The southern states like Louisiana have a massive problem with stray dogs. They survive better in that climate. Here it isn't possible, and we have local agencies and animal control, politicans that care about what happens to them", he continued.
But while animals in need of assistance are never far away, finding veterenarians has proven tricky for the LCHS, who is currently getting by on three part-time positions that it is hoping will expand to 4 or 5.
"One ambition is to provide after-hours service to residents, currently only available in Thorold. We would like to offer more services like more dental- and emergency care, perhaps a oxygen tent and isolation ward. But it is a staffing issue", Strooband said.
The St. Catharines-area is saturated with clinics and work is never far away for qualified personnel, but Strooband hopes the direction that LCHS is taking, offering a combined shelter and clinic will, in the long run, pose as an attractive opportunity.
Keeping in the public's eye has also been beneficial.
"One of our officers called me one day and said he had found a dog locked in a hot car near here. So i just walked over and filmed while he broke the window. The video was picked up by The Dodo (a popular social media page featuring animal stories). It got over 7 million views. It shows people really care about stories concerning animals".
On the day of Thorold News visit to the shelter, most of the cages were empty, with a few exceptions.
Mr. Orange, a young adult orange tabby found wandering at Lake/Carlton willingly posed for the camera after picked up by Kevin Strooband, himself the owner of two cats.
"This guy won't last long here. He seems very social".