To the director of the Montreal SPCA, the growing number of animals arriving at her door is a disturbing sign of the times. Pet owners are being forced to give up their animals because the city has a housing crisis and COVID-19 has only made it worse. "It all started as early as April, since the beginning of COVID," said Élise Desaulniers, executive director of the Montreal SPCA.\nMany people put their cats or dogs up for adoption after being unable to find appropriate housing. Now, the pandemic's impact on people's income has become yet another hardship for cash-strapped pet owners.\nAs a consequence, over a hundred distressed families contacted the Montreal SPCA in June because they were unable to find affordable housing in a pet-friendly building, according to the organization's statement.\n"When the landlords get 20, 25, or 50 applications for the same apartment, they will probably choose the person who has a good job, they will probably choose a family without kids and they will probably choose a family without animals," she said.\nAccording to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Quebec's vacancy rate stands at 1.8% and falls to 1.5% in Montreal — the lowest it's been since 2004.\nWith fewer housing options, finding a pet-friendly apartment is becoming increasingly difficult for low-income families.\nView this post on Instagram Yay! Après plusieurs mois passés à la SPCA de Montréal, Belle a été adoptée par une famille parfaite pour elle! 🐶❤️ Yay! After spending many months at the Montreal SPCA, Belle finally found her perfect forever family! . . . #dog #shelterdog #shelterdogsrock #adoptdontshop #doglover #dogadoption #fosterhome #animalshelter # adoption #spca #montrealspca #spcamontreal A post shared by SPCA de Montréal (@spcamontreal) on Aug 14, 2019 at 10:56am PDT\nIn desperation, these families turn to the SPCA, which tries to find new homes for the animals but will take them in as last resort.\n"If there's nothing that can be done and the person has been looking for weeks, and they're going to move next week, we'll take the animal in," Élise told us.\nTo improve the situation, the Montreal SPCA launched a campaign last April calling for the Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec (CORPIQ) to create more pet-friendly rental spaces.\nSince then, the petition has received more than 25,000 signatures.\nThe statement read "since people move all summer long, there is still time to show solidarity and limit the extent of this disaster that is currently affecting far too many families."\nView this post on Instagram À la recherche d’un compagnon pour la vie? Taffy (6 ans) est affectueuse et colleuse avec ses humains préférés. Quant à Samuelle, cette gentille tortue apprécie la présence des humains. Elle cherche même à monter sur nos jambes lorsqu’on s’assoit au sol avec elle! Venez les rencontrer! Pour voir tous les animaux à la recherche d’une famille, consultez le lien dans notre bio. // Looking for a lifelong companion? Six-year-old Taffy is affectionate and snuggly with her favourite humans. And Samuelle? This gentle turtle really loves being around people. She even tries to climb up into our laps when we sit on the floor with her! To see all the animals available for adoption, click on the link in our bio. . . . . . #dog #shelterdog #shelterdogsrock #adoptdontshop #love #doglovers #dogadoption #fosterhome #shelter #animalshelter #adoption #spca #montrealspca #spcamontreal #dogsofinstagram #instadog #turtleofinstagram A post shared by SPCA de Montréal (@spcamontreal) on Jan 22, 2020 at 7:26am PST\nThe pandemic has complicated animal rescue efforts for the SPCA, said Desaulniers.\nSince April, it has been forced to cancel all non-essential medical procedures, including the spaying and neutering of pets.\nYou can still visit the SPCA to find a pet in need of a new home but adoptions are by appointment only, said Desaulniers.\n"We didn't know what we were getting into," Desaulniers said of the pandemic. "The first thing we did was try and empty the shelter as quickly as possible to reduce the number of staff at work."\nShe reminded animal lovers to consider visiting a shelter or an online adoption agency the next time you're looking for a fur baby.\n"I know everyone wants a puppy and all of that but an adult animal can be an amazing family member and you're really helping an animal get a new life."