KAMLOOPS - Four weeks of full closures, plus several addition partial closures, 757 animals adopted and a desperate need for a new shelter are key 2014 highlights for the Kamloops SPCA.
The year began with a ringworm outbreak that had nine animals under quarantine. The shelter had only just reopened after a massive ringworm outbreak that infected more than 80 per cent of the animals in care and forced a full closure for weeks.
In February local SPCA investigators seized dogs and horses from a Clearwater property and continued to work to find homes for the nearly 40 horses seized in the fall. Their work continued in March when Steven Seidel appeared in court for strangling his cat Oreo the year before.
By March the shelter was dealing with animals again needing special care, a trend that continued throughout the year. In March a puppy who had eaten a bunch of things he shouldn’t, including rocks, came to the SPCA needing immediate surgery. Rocky survived, but the vet bills continued to pile up at the shelter.
These special health cases, as well as a break in May, meant the shelter needed the City Challenge to be more successful than ever. By the end of the month-long challenge more than $58,000 had been raised, well beyond the $40,000 goal.
In August members of the SPCA board joined the city in asking the province to give more power to bylaws officers when it comes to animals left in vehicles during hot, and cold, weather.
As the shelter prepared for the next big fundraiser, the Paws for Cause in September, another ringworm scare hit the shelter. The first couple tests resulted in only partial closures but then shelter was forced to close again from Oct. 15 through Nov. 12 to deal with ringworm infection in many of the animals in the shelter.
Operating expenses reached nearly $700,000 in the first 10 months of the year and do not include the final bout of ringworm.
In total 1,087 animals had come into the shelter as of Dec. 29 and 757 were adopted, including more than 565 cats or kittens. Of the remaining 330 animals some were transferred to other agencies and some strays were claimed by their owners.
Sarah Gerow of the local SPCA says they expect 2015 to be very similar in terms of the number of animals and challenges.
“Particularly in the last few years we have seen an increase in animals coming into our care with medical issues,” she says, adding this increased traffic results in higher costs for treatment and care.
It will be a challenge to meet our budgets Gerow says.
The most recent round of ringworm has made the need for a new building even more apparent as well.
“The building is not designed to control disease, so as we see disease outbreaks in the community the shelter is affected as every stray animal coming in has the potential to bring in disease,” she notes, adding the old building is costing them more in maintenance too.
The shelter already has several fundraising events planned for 2015 including National Cupcake Day (Feb. 23), the FurBall (May 9), City Challenge against Prince George (May), Paws for a Cause (September) and the annual craft fair at the end of November.
A Million Acts of Kindness campaign will also be launched early this year to help celebrate the B.C. SPCA’s 120th anniversary.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at email@example.com or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.