Crowded SPCA seeks homes for animals
By TYLER DAWSON
When Mr. Peebles was dropped off at the Red Deer and District SPCA, he joined around 200 animals housed at the facility.
The kitten had been wandering for weeks with a broken hip. A $500 donation from the family that found him paid for his hip surgery at the onsite veterinary clinic and he is on the road to recovery.
The Red Deer SPCA is currently housing the highest number of animals in its history.
Executive director Tara Hellewell has launched a All I Want for Christmas campaign to help animals find new homes. Each week, the SPCA posts photos of animals up for adoption on the Red Deer SPCA Facebook page. The animal shelter is also seeking donations from the community.
For families looking to adopt, “Christmas can be a very good time to integrate pets into their homes,” said Hellewell, noting time off work allows people to adjust to a new family member.
In particular, she said she hopes families might forego a puppy in favour of older, more mature dogs, which are less likely to be adopted.
“They fit in with your lifestyle more quickly,” she said.
While the SPCA adoption policy prevents giving pets as gifts, Hellewell said it has been a good month for adoptions, as people might be “feeling a little bit more generous as a family.”
Interested families, including those with any current pets, must meet prospective pets together before adoption can occur.
For those who are unable to open up their homes, the SPCA is also seeking donations through the campaign.
While Hellewell said she has big plans for special projects and expansions for the facility, she said her concern now is finding money to cover the general operating budget. This includes expenses such as bills, staff salaries and the onsite veterinary clinic.
Hellewell said the Red Deer SPCA operates on a lean annual budget, and has a pet shop and cremation service to help raise revenues. However, she noted that last year the organization ran at a $50,000 loss.
The Red Deer SPCA hopes to raise $80,000 this month. So far, $30,000 has been donated.
December is one of the peak times for donations, as many people give them as gifts to friends and family. The SPCA will then send a card to the gift recipient to show how the donation helped the animals. Most donations, Hellewell said, are in the $20 to $50 range.
If funding and adoption targets aren’t met, Hellewell said the worst case scenario is the SPCA may have to start turning away animals until more space opens up at the facility.
The Red Deer and District SPCA is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Thursdays, when it is closed. Those interested in adoption or making a donation are encouraged to visit www.reddeerspca.com or phone 403-342-7722 for more information.