Petition circulates to reinstate 24/7 animal care in Chatham-Kent
A petition circulating around Chatham-Kent is calling on veterinarians to reinstate emergency animal services.
It says the nearest veterinarian hospitals are in Windsor or London, and that depending on the nature of the problem, some pets may not survive the hour long drive.
“There is no after hours emergency care anywhere in Chatham-Kent,” said Lynn Leveille, the petition organizer. “It kind of fell by the wayside.”
She said there are 11 clinics in the Chatham-Kent area but residents are forced to drive an hour to receive after hours care.
“If the clinics rotated emergency services, and accepted all clients of these clinics, they would only have to work 4.7 weeks out of the year,” said Leveille.
Leveille plans to keep the petition where she works at PetFood Warehouse out for two months, hoping enough signatures will gain the attention of local veterinarians.
“There’s very few people that actually realize their vet does not provide emegency care,” said Leveille. “It’s been an eye opener to people.”
However, Chatham-Kent Pet and Wildlife Rescue Operations Manager Myriam Armstrong said the problem is larger than what the petition is calling for.
She said there has been a shortage of veterinary technicians and assistants and that veterinarians are overwhelmed as it is.
“The vets are currently so busy and understaff, that just operating normal hours is a struggle,” said Armstrong. “Why would they operate even more hours when they are currently struggling to cover their current clientele.”
Armstrong believes the global pandemic is part of the blame, saying COVID-19 restirictions have made it difficult for people to come from other countries and become veterinarians here.
“We need more vets all across Ontario,” said Armstrong
Leveille said she is unsure if anything will change, but is hoping to maybe change their minds.