A new building to solve the SPCA’s overcrowding issue is now no longer a reality. With on-going fundraising projects like the Event Centre and the Public Library funneling money away, the humane society says it can’t compete.
That means after 21 years, the SPCA and the City of Medicine Hat are parting ways. Having to scratch and claw for more space to house the city pound, the humane society embarked on a fundraising campaign last summer to build a new $7 million dollar facility.
Local SPCA President Marilyn Crisp says, “there were so many sources of fundraising going on that we just decided that we are not going to do it. We had to raise too much it, it was going to be $5 million.
$2.2 million of the new building was coming from the city, however that money has now been canceled. The city is now putting forward a request for proposal for its pound services. Councillor Julie Friesen says, “they are going to get out of the provision of pound services for the city and operate as a humane society only. Now that also means that they did not need that size of a new building.”
The contract between the city and the SPCA runs out at the end of December. Heather Trail with Bylaw Enforcement says that’s plenty of time to sign a new contract. Dealing with a private company for pound services is not that uncommon according to Trail who says, “ I don’t see any disruption at all in the time between now and the beginning of our new contract in January. I mean we are still working, it’s business as usual and we are working on who the new contract might be with.”
A big part of the SPCA ‘s overcrowding issue is cats. Currently friendly and feral felines in Medicine Hat are being destroyed due to overpopulation. But Sheri Pister with Persian Dreams and Canine Themes says more animals could be saved if the city looked at reassessing current bylaws to allow spaying or neutering of feral cats and then releasing them. Pister says, “we do expect more calls and more incoming cats. That’s okay, we are in a situation where we feel that we could accommodate that. But we also see it as an opportunity to work with the city.”
The SPCA says 60% of it capacity issue come from it pound services. However the contract with the city only accounted for about 40% of the Humane Society’s expenses.
Both sides say they look forward to continuing to work together in the future. The city says it will continue providing a yearly grant of $106,500 for such things as the low cost spay and neutering program.
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