SPCA feeling cost of illness-filled year

Handsome is one of the many cats available for adoption at the Kamloops SPCA right now.

KAMLOOPS — After four months of full to partial closures, lime dips and quarantines the last cat has been spayed, and with that the local SPCA branch is officially ringworm free and ready to move on.

The second round of ringworm, which was really a delayed continuation of the first round, only hit a few animals and staff were able to keep it from spreading again by quarantining those few animals. The ability to stay open for both retail and adoptions was a huge bonus to the shelter, which had just come out of a six week full closure and another two weeks of partial closure.

Branch manager Charleen Holloway says medical costs alone were in excess of $10,000 to deal with the ringworm outbreak. Add to that the lack of adoptions and loss of retail sales (which are still below normal) during that time and the shelter is in quite a pinch financially right now.

Adding to that pinch, the SPCA is only allowed to host four official fundraisers every year, and in a year where amputations, tumours and other disease have cropped up regularly, vet bills are higher

Thanks to donations of new and used items the shelter is now housing a small thrift store area to help supplement the financial donations the SPCA relies heavily on.

It started when Frou Frou Monkey closed down. The owner donated some of the remaining items to the shelter to use as a fundraiser. Recently Sanbiki restaurant also donated some items, including a diamond ring valued at nearly $7,000. Pet supplies the shelter can't use, like a large bird cage and a hamster set up, have also become part of the thrift store.

While the store is helping to raise some much needed funds, more than $1,200 already, the shelter will only be accepting certain donations.

“We don't need donations really,” Valerie Wilson notes, adding anyone who does want to donate items should contact the shelter first. “We've already had to send some stuff to (other) thrift stores. We do have a space issue.”

Staff is hoping a new shelter is in the near future to help prevent this type of outbreak again. Without the ability to properly isolate several sick animals at a time it becomes too easy for disease to spread.

“Having a better facility can potentially change the outcomes of these situations as you have different housing that can decrease exposure and treatment times,” Holloway says.

In the meantime the shelter is looking for large scratching posts and good, professional quality clippers to replace the ones that had to be disposed of due to the ringworm outbreak. The shelter is also experiencing a backlog of cats because of the outbreak and a waiting list remains in place for people wanting to surrender their cat.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250)819-3723.

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