By Kaity Brown
The SPCA now has a new manager, Brenna Baker, who has lots of plans in store for the East Kootenay SPCA branch.
Lately, the location is filled to the brim with pets. Baker says they have 91 pets registered and although some are in foster care, that there are still 10 full grown dogs that needs a home, with a few little dogs, and over 50 cats, mostly kittens and some great adult cats, at the location as well.
For Baker, the main underlying goal to help her tackle her long to-do list, is to be able to provide education for the public about proper pet care and the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
“I just want to cause a lot of awareness within not just the Cranbrook area, but this whole East Kootenay on how important that SPCA is. The work that my staff and volunteers do, they just do such a great job, but we just don’t have the funds for some of the needs,” said Baker.
Baker said that detailed education on pet care would help prevent the abandonment of pets as well as future owner and pet problems.
“I want to raise funds so that where we can actually hire an education coordinator who goes out to the schools throughout the whole East Kootenays and educates the kids as well as the parents on the importance of spaying and neutering and the work that the SPCA does – that we don’t just look after cats and dogs but that we also look after farm animals and their welfare.”
However, Baker has more pressing matters – with the SPCA building practically maxed out of room, the more immediate goals include general maintenance, feeding and vet care.
“Ultimately I would like to see this building improved one day – that’s my whole goal. I know that Maple Ridge just got a brand new building and it’s amazing and just so much, not cleaner, but just better for the animals, like more sanitary because our building, although it’s not that old having been built in the 80s and it’s great, but just because we have grown so much.”
But there are smaller but crucially important issues that need funding.
“We need to upgrade all of our cat cages, for example. Right now they are wooden and we really need to get the proper cages where they are stainless steel and they are larger so that their care is better.”
Baker explains that one of the biggest expenses that the Eat Kootenay SPCA has is the vet bills.
When they receive the animals in need they update each one of the corresponding shots, spaying and neuter them if need be, as well as they take on the costs any medical problem each animal may have.
One of the crucial messages that Baker wants people to be aware of is that the centre is not provincially funded and runs on donations and volunteers.
Events like the Paws for a Cause are the ones that bring in the donations they need to be able to make the SPCA centre the second best place to live, the first being the new forever-homes that the critters will find.
This year’s goal for the Paws for a Cause is $15,000 but Baker says that in reality that fundraising goal should be double or triple because of the needed upgrades to the centre.
There are a handful of hardworking volunteers currently who are there cleaning and caring for the animals. Baker says they also have some drop in volunteers who come in and play with the cats and walk the dogs.
“I am a huge supporter of volunteers and I appreciate absolutely everything that they do.”
“I really want the public to feel welcome out here that they can come in and that they can volunteer. I need to grow the volunteer base again, that is another one of my goals to get people volunteering on a regular basis because we are non-profit, we rely on our volunteers.”
Donations don’t have to be of time or money – Baker says another way to help out is by donating old toy dogs, scratching poles or stainless steel bowls for food and water.
“I really believe that if the community was more aware of what we need that they would come together and support us.”
For more information about what the SPCA does and how you can help out, you can check their website at www.spca.bc.ca and to support the East Kootenay SPCA or to see the animals waiting for their new home call 250-426-6751.