What a busy year for the SPCA

The local SPCA branch has been busy with upgrades renovations, preparing for new kennels and dealing with a quarantine due to a sick cat.

Brenna Baker and friend at the East Kootenay SPCA.

Brenna Baker and friend at the East Kootenay SPCA.

The local SPCA branch has been busy in the past few weeks, with upgrades and renovations, donation gathering for new kennels and most recently dealing with a quarantine due to a sick cat.

Brenna Baker, manager at the East Kootenay SPCA branch, said they haven’t received a lot of donations for the kennel specifically, though some donations have come in recently.

“We’ve got a lot of big donations the last few weeks for Christmas,” Baker said. “We got a big one for $5,000. People know that we’re doing work out here and want to give, but no one has specifically come forward for the kennel, so there is definitely still a need for the funding for the kennels.”

The shelter has 20 kennels on the way, at a total cost of $30,000.

“It’s a crazy amount of money, so the more donations we can get to help out with that, the better our shelter is going to be,” she said.

Other upgrades are also happening at the shelter, though they have been delayed because the animals had to be quarantined.

“We had the ventilation put in and already you can tell the difference with the smell. It’s processing the air in a healthier way. It’s been really positive.”

She said it’s been a busy year, but now things are starting to pay off and come together.

The quarantine happened after a stray cat was brought in. The cat showed signs of ringworm four days after it came in. The fungus can spread rapidly through the animal population at the shelter. It can also spread to humans.

“It didn’t spread so far,” she said. They were waiting for lab reports when she spoke to the Townsman on Thursday, and would know for sure today.

They had to sample all the animals and then send them to a lab, which cultures them for two weeks.

Baker said they have been diligent about the cleanliness and hope they can allow animals to be brought in and adopted out soon, as that has completely stopped since the infected cat showed up.

She said the new healthier upgrades to the shelter will help as well.

While December has been busy because of the quarantine measures, November was a busy month for animals coming in and out.

“We had lots of animals come in, but we also did a ton of adoptions,” she said.

There is also a program called the Drive for Lifes, which allows them to transfer animals to other shelters around B.C. if they can’t take them in.

“I have a really good relationship with the BCSPCA in Richmond and then Pacific Coastal transfers cats and kittens at no cost. So we fly them out to Vancouver and they are usually adopted out within two to three days.”

In November they did 28 transfers and they were all adopted within a few days.

There are 20 to 30 cats on the Cranbrook shelter’s wait list.

“As soon as the renos are done and we’re cleared of the ringworm quarantine, we will have room for every one of those cats.”

Currently, there are 20 cats and one dog housed at the shelter, which she said is quite a low number. There are also some other cats and dogs that were too young to come into the shelter that were in foster care and are now old enough.

“This summer was insane. In July and August we had 112 animals in our care everyday for about 70 days,” she said. “It was very, very stressful and overcrowded and we didn’t have the proper ventilation, so if we got one sick cat in it spreads like wildfire. Now with these renovations it should cut that down a lot.”

Baker also noted that Cranbrook has an overpopulation of cats, which she wants to address through spaying and neutering through low income vouchers.

“There is also a large population of free roaming cats that live in little colonies all over the city,” she said. “So if we can spay and neuter and release them it will be a much better thing and nature will take care of them. Plus they’re not reproducing.”

She said the feral cats can’t just be wiped out, because when you cull one, three cats will move in.

“We have the highest cat population in B.C. per capita,” she said. “In Cranbrook there are hundreds of them.”

She is hoping to work alongside the city to address the problem.

Some of the renovations were covered through capital grant money through the BCSPCA that was $16,000. Then she applied through the Community Initiatives Grant and received $24,000 through that.

Then there was a couple thousand for the kennels. The new kennels will bring the shelter up to much higher standards.