Once again, the local SPCA is full and its volunteers are looking for homes for a variety of worthy creatures.
But with its peak season for abandoned animals on the horizon, paired with a lack of cash flow, those in charge are becoming concerned.
“People go on vacation for the summer, or move, and they can’t take their pets with them,” said shelter director Christine Brassington. “So they leave them here.”
Hay River’s SPCA takes in between 150 and 175 animals per year, including those brought in by the municipal bylaw officer as per their contract with the town. While Mayor Andrew Cassidy said the funding has not yet been released, normally the municipality has released the money for this contract by this time of year, which leaves board-member Lesli Ward concerned.
“We’re running out here,” she said, adding that she is seriously considering throwing a one-time massive fundraiser to bridge the gap. “We’re using our personal money to pay wages at this point.”
While Ward said she is grateful for the continued support of businesses and individuals in town, the bills are rising and and steady funding hard to come by. With the warmer months ahead, she said the shelter will see an increase in surrenders, as well as abandoned pets needing to be taken care of.
“Over June, July and August, unfortunately it’s when people are moving and it’s that extra commitment they sometimes can’t handle,” she said.
The need is particularly great for cats.
Ward said she wanted to promote the “Seniors for Seniors” program which pairs older humans with mature creatures, mainly of the feline variety, to the benefit of both.
“I don’t know what it is about the North, but all the shelters are full of cats,” she said. “A lot of times, people who are older don’t want to have a pet because they don’t want the pet to outlast them and be a burden on their family, but the companionship can have some serious advantages for people living alone, and the SPCA will always take the animal back if need be.”
The shelter relies on volunteers, both in-house and as foster homes, but as with money, more are always needed, especially heading into a busier time of year for the organization.
“We always have a waiting list,” said Brassington. “And we always need volunteers.”