PTBOCanada Featured Video Post: 7 Misconceptions About The Peterborough Humane Society

Below are 7 common misconceptions about the Peterborough Humane Society. Please share with others on your social media channels to get the word out…

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No. 1 Misconception: PHS Is A “Kill" Shelter

Truth: The Peterborough Humane Society is an Open Admission Humane Care facility, which means they accept every animal that comes through their doors.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog with behavioural challenges, stray cat or injured rabbit—they accept each and every four-legged friend that needs their help.

While the organization is led by Shawn Morey as Executive Director, the front-line animal care team is led by Toni Redfern, Operations Manager and Samantha Robinson, Vet Technician. This passionate team of shelter health and wellness experts go above and beyond to save the lives of homeless, lost, abused and injured pets.

They never euthanize an animal because they have run out of space at the shelter or due to the animal’s age or time spent at the Humane Society.

Instead, they work closely with other Humane Societies and Rescue Groups across Ontario (and even some as far east as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) to ensure that animals are able to find their forever homes. These partnerships also help other shelters that are dealing with massive influxes of animals.

Last year alone, the Humane Society took in and cared for dogs that came from remote communities struggling with overpopulation in Northern Ontario, as well as cats from Humane Societies in Welland and Cornwall when Spring fever hit and those shelters were over capacity.

They also work with volunteers who foster orphaned kittens, pregnant cats and mama cats who have just had their babies to ensure they’re given their best chance at life.

As an Open Admission Humane Care facility, they work hard to rehabilitate and save the lives of animals that have been abused, neglected, lost or homeless. They exist to provide a community service and a safe haven for these animals. Some rescue groups will pick and choose which animals they take in because they’re not able or willing to take on animals with behavioural challenges.

Korean pup

Korean pup

The Peterborough Humane Society also provides refuge for animals that have endured unfathomable abuse. These animals rescued from neglect, abuse and hoarding environments arrive emaciated, sick and even in severe cases, on the brink of death.

The staff at the Humane Society get to work right away—providing emergency veterinary care with their in-house team as well as many of the vet clinics throughout Peterborough.

They administer medicines to soothe pain and reduce anxiety, provide life-saving vaccines and set-up feeding schedules to nurse animals back to health. Despite the urge to give an emaciated dog or cat endless food, this can cause refeeding syndrome, a metabolic disturbance that occurs in severely malnourished animals when they ingest too much food that can ultimately cause death.

Max* (shown below) came to the Humane Society a few years ago in awful condition. He was removed from an abusive home in the Peterborough area by the Humane Society’s officers.




After many weeks of a special diet that involves eating small meals 4-6 times a day, veterinary care, a safe, stable and warm roof over his head and the love and affection of the Humane Society’s staff and volunteers, he gained weight, met his perfect match and found his forever family. It’s amazing how resilient dogs are. Even dogs like Max, who had never encountered love can quickly adapt, learn to trust people again and go on to live a great life.

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After 1.jpg

No. 2 Misconception: They don’t accept stray cats

Truth: As an Open Admission shelter, they accept every cat, dog and small animal that comes through their doors!  

In the past they have rescued horses, goats, pigs, chickens, turtles and parrots! They often work with partners like Cross Wind Farm that fosters abused, lost and neglected farm animals, as well as PetSmart and other local pet stores to help rehome other pets such as birds and turtles.

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No. 3 Misconception: It costs money to drop-off a stray cat

Truth: When you bring in a stray or feral cat, the staff ask for as much information as possible so they can do their best to attend to any pressing medical concerns and hopefully return the lost pet to their owner.

There is no cost to do this. The only time you would pay a small fee is when you surrender your pet. This is quite different than finding and dropping off a stray. Surrendering a pet can be a difficult decision and something that takes a lot of thought and planning. The Humane Society requires a small fee—$50 for a cat and $100 for a dog—for animals that are surrendered. This fee goes towards the cost of their care while in the shelter.

The fee helps to pay for their food, shelter, care and medical attention (vaccines, intake assessment and their spay or neuter surgery). This fee is just a drop in the bucket as it costs $35/day to care for a cat, $60 to care for a dog, on average. This is why the Humane Society accepts donations from our local community to help make-up the difference and ensure that animals have what they need.

For more information on services, visit their website

No. 4 Misconception: Their Dogs Don’t Have the Chance to Get Out for Exercise

Truth: The Humane Society works with more than 300 volunteers each year—about 50 of those are volunteer dog walkers that come morning, afternoon and night, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to socialize their dogs, get them out for walks or even off-leash playtime. The volunteers are a huge addition to the team and support the inhouse staff who work hard to care for these animals and ensure they receive the exercise they need to get or stay healthy.

While the kennels are indoor only, the Humane Society is looking forward to building larger, more modern, indoor-outdoor kennels in their new Peterborough Animal Care Centre. The Our Pet Project capital campaign has raised over $6 million of the $10 million needed to build this state-of-the-art Centre.

PHS Executive Director Shawn Morey with his dog Iris

PHS Executive Director Shawn Morey with his dog Iris

No. 5 Misconception: They’re funded by the Government

Truth: The Humane Society is a registered charity that relies on the support of our local community and generous donations from individuals, businesses and groups to continue their life-saving work.

They do not receive ongoing government or United Way funding. They are contracted by the City of Peterborough to provide animal control services and enforce by-laws like licensing your pets. They also have contracts with the townships of Selwyn, Douro-Dummer, North Kawartha, and Municipality of Trent Lakes.

Their primary sources of revenue include fees from adoption and licensing as well as donations from generous individuals, families and support from local businesses, and foundations. They also rely on year-long support from monthly donors, and proceeds from events like their FurBall Gala and Strutt Your Mutt Walk, as well as community events.

Watch these monthly donor videos below…

No. 6 Misconception: Donations Don’t Stay in our Local Community

Truth: 100 percent of donations to the Peterborough Humane Society stay in our local community. The vast majority of animals that the Humane Society cares for are pets that local families could no longer care for or have been lost, neglected or abandoned.

They occasionally rescue cats or dogs from other areas like when they took in dogs rescued from meat markets in Korea. However, funding to get these dogs to Peterborough are covered through partner organizations like Humane Society International. Our local Humane Society works hard to care for these dogs and then find them good homes in our community, bringing many years of joy to families in our local community.

While the Humane Society is an affiliate of the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, they remain a separately funded and run organization. All donations given to the Humane Society go towards their work here in Peterborough and surrounding townships, not the Ontario SPCA or communities elsewhere in the province.

No. 7 Misconception: We Don’t Accept Volunteers

Truth: Over the last year, the Peterborough Humane Society has recruited more than 300 volunteers!

Their volunteers do the following: help walk and socialize dogs; groom, comfort and socialize cats in their Cat Condo; help with office work; put on special events like their FurBall Gala and Strutt Your Mutt Walk; and raise money for their Our Pet Project Capital Campaign for the new Peterborough Animal Care Centre.

Watch this video below to learn more about the volunteer program…

In addition, their volunteer Board of Directors, Campaign Cabinet and Special Event Committees help out at the events themselves or at their shelter making phone calls, finding and organizing auction items, doing paperwork, updating the website, social media platforms and—honestly—whatever needs doing!

The Humane Society works closely with local high schools, Trent University and Fleming College to recruit co-op students and interns, and are currently hiring summer students to help out with events, fundraising and animal care.

Volunteers must be 18 years old to walk dogs but there are opportunities for those younger than 18 such as socializing with cats or helping out with events—even organizing your own community event.

The Humane Society understands that volunteering is a two-way street and works hard to ensure that they’re placing volunteers in positions that are meaningful to the volunteer and supports their own goals.

Interested in volunteering? Visit to fill out a Volunteer Application Form. Once reviewed, the Humane Society will reach out to set-up an interview and orientation.

*Name has been changed.

Watch this video below to learn how grateful PHS is for the community’s support…

To learn more about the Peterborough Humane Society, go here. To learn more about PHS’s Our Pet Project campaign to build a new state of the art facility, go here.


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