The provincial government is treating BC-SPCA with $12 million to upgrade shelters in four communities.
Premier David Eby and Agriculture Minister Pam Alexis announced the money Monday (June 26) in Vancouver. Along for the announcement included several animals, such as recently homed Buttercup, a yellow Labrador found loose in the Comox Valley with suspicious injuries.
“The need for the SPCA’s services has never really been greater in our province,” Eby said. “Many people during the pandemic got pandemic pets and some realized that they didn’t have the capacity to care for them when their lives went back to normal. The so-called pandemic pets often ended up in our shelters.”
More than half of the money — $7 million — will go toward developing a replacement shelter in Vancouver, with a 1,858-square-metre animal centre, 836-square-metre veterinary hospital and 465-square-metre education centre.
The second-biggest chunk worth $3 million will go toward Prince George for a new new facility that will also provide regional services for the Cariboo and northern B.C. Duncan and Fort St. John will each receive $1 million.
Shelters in those four communities are either closed or outdated and none are designed nor equipped to provide modern care for animals with some nearly three decades old as in the case of the facility in Duncan. Plans for that community call for 697-square metre Vancouver Island Animal Behaviour Centre, the first of its kind in Canada.
Alexis said the province is committed to treating all pets with care and respect.
“This funding will support modern, new shelters and facilities where pets can receive the treatment and quality of care that they deserve.”
Thousands of pets ranging from cats and dogs, to birds, rabbits and rodents, will receive care at the four facilities.
Marcie Moriarty, chief of protection and outreach services with BC-SPCA, said the existing facilities in the four communities are aging and make it difficult for the SPCA to properly care for animals.
“Our day- to-day animal care and protection services are primarily funded by generous individual donors across B.C., so having the Province step forward to help with these extraordinary costs will make a tremendous difference,” she said.
Alexis also announced that the province would be resuming work on licensing and registring of commercial cat and dog pet breeders with the goal of raising the standard of care, management and humane treatment of dogs and cats in commercial breeding establishments.
Work had ceased because of the pandemic and other issues.
“Our pets rely on us and with today’s announcement, we are looking out for the well-being of our trusted companions, who don’t have a voice now,” she said.