With a rising number of animals coming through the Squamish SPCA branch's door, the organization continually struggles to keep out of the red, its manager says.
Last year the branch housed 311 animals, most of them cats and kittens, Marika Donnelly told District of Squamish officials at Committee of the Whole on Tuesday (Feb. 25). One hundred and seventy-eight animals came from within the municipality, with the remaining ones having been brought to the facility from Britannia Beach, Whistler, Pemberton and Mount Currie.
The average cost of care per animal is $485, Donnelly said. Last year, the local SPCA spent more than $85,000 on bills for cats arriving at the facility from within district boundaries. The branch received a little less than $1,500 in municipal funding.
“Statistically, our branch runs at a deficit each year,” Donnelly said.
The municipality's financial support is vital to operations, she noted. The organization relies heavily on its partnerships with local businesses and volunteer team, Donnelly said.
“We are able to do this by leveraging local partnerships,” she said, adding the district gets good value from its services.
The Squamish branch of the SPCA has been around for 30 years. In the 1990s, the group entered an agreement with the municipality to place a trailer on district land off Government Road. It's a small facility, Donnelly said. To compensate, the branch runs a foster care program that farms animals out to 30 households before adoption.
“Our adoption rates are very, very good,” Donnelly added.
Last year 258 animals ended up in new homes. Euthanasia is treated as a last resort and limited to animals in critical distress or with severe behavioural issues, Donnelly noted.
“We wouldn't be able to do what we do without our volunteers,” she added.