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What does it mean to be an “open-admission” shelter?

One of our most frequently asked questions is whether GHS is a “no kill” shelter.  We are proud that every single healthy and adoptable animal is able to stay at the Guelph Humane Society until they are adopted and find their ‘Happy Tail’No animal in our care will ever be euthanized because of available space, their length of stay or their age!

GHS is an open-admission shelter, which means we never turn an animal in need away – regardless of its medical status or demonstrated behaviour. However, some animals that enter our care are simply too sick or injured, and may be humanely euthanized at the recommendation of a veterinarian. In other cases, our assessments reveal concerning behaviour such as aggression that poses a risk to the community or a severely compromised mental state in the animal. In these extreme cases, a committee of experts may make the difficult decision that an animal is not adoptable. In those cases, the animal is humanely euthanized.

Animals that require extensive medical care have an incredible community of supporters behind them! Thanks to our generous donors, we even have a special fund for animals with special needs and require costly medical treatment. You can learn more about “Duke’s Fund” here https://guelphhumane.ca/get-involved/dukes-fund/

We are proud to care for over 3,000 animals per year, with the support of committed donors and our dedicated foster homes. To learn more about the animals that are currently up for adoption, please visit https://guelphhumane.ca/adopt/available-animals/

What can I do if my pet has passed away

At the Guelph Humane Society, we understand that losing a beloved pet and family member is a very difficult thing. The grief associated with losing a loved one is a hard and difficult process. One of the first steps is to find which resource works best for your healing process. We recommend to reach out to family and loved ones in this difficult time. There are also external resources you can use that may be helpful to you. These include pet loss support groups and counsellors.

Although we don’t offer cremation services directly, we proudly recommend Gateway Pet Memorial services. They are able to offer a wide variety of cremation and memorial services in order to remember your loved one’s life. Please visit their website at gatewaypetmemorial.com for more information about cremation and memorial services.

If in the unfortunate event your pet is brought to our care and is deceased, we will work together with you to ensure your preferred memorial be reflected with the help of Gateway Pet Memorial services.

What are humane services I can use to remove wildlife from my home/property?

  • As our communities grow, we have to share our living communities with our local wildlife
  • To learn more about wildlife in our communities visit our Wildlife section, or visit Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for humane wildlife deterring methods for urban wildlife
  • We highly recommend using Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control
  • For more information on their company and the services they provide please visit: www.skedaddlewildlife.com or call 1-888-592-0387

There are outdoor cats in my neighborhood, is this allowed? Are there by-laws against this?

There are no by-laws in the City of Guelph, Centre Wellington, or Guelph-Eramosa regarding outdoor cats, meaning cats can be let out to roam at the owner’s discretion, however outdoor cats are exposed to many risks that indoor cats are not.

What should I do when I see a stray cat?

Many cats you see wandering the streets have homes where they are indoor/outdoor cats. Guelph does not currently have a bylaw that restricts cat owners from allowing their cats to free-roam outside.

If you see a stray cat that is visibly injured or ill, call your local animal shelter immediately for further instructions.

If you find a stray cat that is hiding and has been in the same hiding spot for more than one day, call your local animal shelter.

There may be some circumstances when a healthy, roaming cat may come to the shelter. If you aren’t sure what to do, contact your local animal shelter.

In 2017, the Guelph Humane Society had almost 800 stray cats enter the shelter. The return to owner rate for stray cats was only 18%. In 2019 and 2020, that return to owner rate for cats was up to 21%. Many of the rest may have had owners who did not search for their missing cat at the shelter and those cats went on to find new homes.

Some owners are used to their cats roaming for days at a time and don’t think to call their local shelter or search online for their missing pet. Always call your local shelter before removing a stray cat from its location.

What should I do if I find a litter of kittens?

Typically, when you find a litter of kittens without their mom, she is just off finding food with plans of coming back to care for them.

If kittens are in a location that puts them in danger – high vehicular traffic or predators in the area, for example – call your local animal shelter immediately.

Touch the kittens to judge their temperature. If they are warm, their mom was there recently. And, if they meow loudly and wiggle around after being touched, they are alert and active, which means they were probably fed recently.

If you find kittens that seem warm and active, leave them alone and come back to check on them throughout the day. Keep in mind that if you are lingering, the mother may be reluctant to return to her kittens. Call your local shelter to talk about catching the mother and coordinate bringing in the mom and kittens together.

If kittens are cold, not meowing and not moving much or if they appear physically injured, they need help! If you find kittens in this condition, contact your local animal shelter for further assistance.

My neighbor's dog is always off leash, what can be done about this?

Within the City of Guelph, Centre Wellington, and Guelph/Eramosa, dogs must be on leash and under control, unless in a designated off leash area. Reports of neighbors allowing their dogs to run off leash can be filed with the Guelph Humane Society either by calling 519-824-3091, or through email at animalservices@guelphhumane.ca.


If you suspect an animal being abused or neglected please call 1-833-9-ANIMAL.

What should I do if I see a dog in a car on a hot day?

The Guelph Humane Society takes reports of dogs left in vehicles very seriously. If a dog is seen in a hot or cold vehicle, it is important to report it immediately to the PAWS Hotline 1-833-9ANIMAL and the Guelph Police Services at 519-824-1212.

What happens to stray animals?

When an animal is brought to us or picked up it is identified as a “stray”. We hold stray animals for a minimum of 5 business days to provide the opportunity for the owner to reclaim their pet. Following the hold period, if no owner was found, the animal can be placed up for adoption.

What can I feed wildlife?

Feeding wildlife is strongly discouraged with the exception of birds. Feeding wildlife may lead to unwanted residents around your home. Sometimes the animals may rely too heavily on the food you offer, which may not be a balanced diet and result in health concerns.

Do you offer petcare/boarding

We do not offer petcare/boarding. In emergency situations, we do offer an emergency 72 hour hold on an intake animal. If you are in need of emergency boarding, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091

Do you trim dog nails?

No, we do not offer dog nail trimming. We do however offer a cat nail clinic which includes cat nail trimming and soft paw applications.

Check out our Cat Nail Trim Clinics here: https://guelphhumane.ca/services/cat-nail-trim-clinic/

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that is implanted under the pet’s skin as permanent identification. When a lost pet is found, animal shelters and veterinary clinics can scan the pet with a specific type of scanner (using radio frequency identification technology), which will bring up a unique number that is matched in a database to an owner’s contact information. Having a microchip greatly increases the likelihood of the animal being reunited with their owner, in the event it goes missing. An important point to keep in mind with having your pet microchip is to always keep the information up to date. If the owner’s contact information, or any information regarding the pet change it is always important to update this with the company that your pet’s microchip is registered with.

We host 2 microchip clinics per year, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.

To learn more about our microchip clinics go to our Events page here: https://guelphhumane.ca/calendar-of-events/

Do you host microchip clinics?

We host 2 Microchip Clinics every year – 1 in the Spring and 1 in the Fall.  Check out our events calendar and stay tuned to our Facebook page for information and dates of the event!

Check out our ongoing events HERE.


Do you provide low-cost spay and neuter services?

From November 2019 through October 2020, GHS offered a low-cost spay/neuter service, thanks to a generous grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada. GHS is partnered with the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) to provide under-resourced, owned pets with spay/neuter surgeries. This innovative collaboration was the first of its kind in our community, where previously there have been very limited low-cost spay neuter options. Throughout the program, 151 pets received spay/neuter surgery. The program has now ended (read more), but be sure to stay tuned for further opportunities.

Other low-cost spay neuter clinics in our community are:

Ontario SPCA Centre Veterinary Hospital (Stouffville): 905-898-6112

Ontario SPCA Animal Clinic (Barrie): 705-734-9882

Lincoln County Humane Society Animal Clinic: 905-688-7722

Windsor/Essex County Humane Society Veterinary Clinic: 519-966-1118

North Bay and District Humane Society Pet Clinic: 705-478-8233

Welland and District Regional Spay Neuter Clinic: 289-820-9651


To find a veterinarian near you, please visit www.cvo.org

Where are leash free parks in Wellington County?

Within the City of Guelph there are various leash free dog parks. Please visit City of Guelph Website for a list of leash-free parks in the City of Guelph!

Centre Wellington is pleased to have the Fergus Dog Park as a leash free dog park!

We do ask that you are within sight and control of your dog in these off-leash parks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone!

Are rabies vaccinations required for my pet?

Health Protection and Promotion Act: R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 567 ; RABIES IMMUNIZATION

This act states that every owner caring for a dog or cat three months of age or over must ensure that the dog or cat is immunized against rabies.

For more information, please see the following:

Government of Ontario

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health