Skip to content

Loan repayment term for financially troubled Central Alberta Humane Society extended by a year

Society’s repayment deferral is approved by Red Deer city council
(Black Press file photo)

Red Deer city councillors urged Red Deerians to keep supporting the Central Alberta Humane Society — especially in light of its financial troubles.

The animal welfare charity does an important job in the community, and relies heavily on raising $1 million in community donations each year, noted Coun. Victor Doerksen.

“If they’re not successful (the non-profit’s) building “could become our building” — and that’s not something anyone wants, Doerksen added.

Fewer animal adoptions and more pet surrenders at a time of rising costs pushed the Central Alberta Humane Society into a precarious financial position. The society asked the City of Red Deer if it can defer two loan payments of $31,022 each that were scheduled to be made this year.

The repayments would go towards a $1-million loan the municipality gave the society in 2007 for the construction of its new facility. Nearly half of it was repaid.

Council heard the non-profit’s resources are strained following a year of escalating costs of living and falling donations.

Executive director Eve Sira had written explaining the economic downturn and Red Deer’s homelessness and mental health crises have escalated, leading many people to abandon their pets.

With rising unaffordability, “many people have been forced to make the tough call between animal care and feeding their own families,” she said.

In 2023 there were big increases in pet food bank usage, the demand for emergency boarding. The society is facing a sizable increases in utility costs and medical and drug costs. And at the same time there was a 41 per cent reduction in donations to the society, which receives no government funding.

Council unanimously agreed to the one-year loan repayment exemption, which would just add a year to the end of the loan’s payment term, pushing it to 2034.

Coun. Kraymer Barnstable said he hopes community members will donate to or attend a fundraising humane society garage sale in July. He noted the non-profit can also use pet foster homes and volunteers.

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
Read more