The annual City Challenge is on, and so far less than half of what the Kamloops SPCA has normally raised by this point has come in and that could mean trouble for the shelter.
As of this morning, Friday, May 10, only $4,440 has been raised – well under the $10,000 mark the association is normally at by now. While branch manager Charleen Holloway appreciates every little bit of help, the current number is very disconcerting as costs are already higher this year because of capacity rates and health issues.
In the past two months nearly 100 cats have come into the shelter from unhealthy situations – 21 cats nicknamed the armchair cats because they were living in an arm chair dumped at the side of the road. There are 36 from a hoarding home, 17 from a colony of strays living in Westsyde and 20 from a Merritt resident who could no longer take care of all the felines.
Already over capacity in cats, some at the SPCA had to be transferred to other locations to accommodate the influx. Many of the new cats brought in were underweight and had health issues. Recently random blood testing showed higher numbers of abnormalities and it was decided to test all the cats. Several had leukemia and had to be put down and even more cats are dealing with respiratory infections right now.
“It's tough, you get them in already marginalized and then you get these little guys back to health and it looks like they'll get a second chance, and then this,” Holloway says of the cats put down to leukemia and the emotional roller coaster staff has dealt with.
But the high level of illness is also taxing on the shelter – more tests and treatments means more money, and that's something the shelter is tight on at the best of times.
An average year costs the shelter $500,000 in just operating costs – vet bills, food, vaccines, hydro – and this year they are already well above the normal costs for caring for the animals. The only government funding the shelter receives, Holloway notes, is a grant through the city of about $34,000. The remainder comes from fund raising events such as Paws for a Cause which usually brings in about $20,000 and the City Challenge. $40,000 is normally raised over the month-long challenge – or about $10,000 per week.
Prince George is hitting the target and is sitting at $11,000 as of this morning, more than double what Kamloops is at. Holloway hopes support for the events planned for the rest of the month will bring in some much needed donation.
Tonight is the pub night at McCracken Station as well as a feature item dinner at Stouthouse. Saturday, May 11 a car wash and barbecue will be held at Market Fresh Food in Dallas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the week-long book sale at North Hills Mall begins. On May 25 a wrap up barbecue will take place at the Sahali M&M's followed by a family dinner at Mount Paul golf course on May 26.
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