Prince Rupert SPCA projecting $175,000 deficit

Prince Rueprt SPCA branch manager Anna Terebka talks to city council. - Shaun Thomas
Prince Rueprt SPCA branch manager Anna Terebka talks to city council.
— image credit: Shaun Thomas

The Prince Rupert SPCA is projecting a deficit of $175,000, branch manager Anna Terebka told city council on Feb. 25.

"We stay open because of shelters like Vancouver that make way more money than they need and redistribute it into the other branches... But we do get the threat of closing our doors every day," she said, adding that the shelter runs a deficit on an annual basis.

"Every dollar definitely helps."

In 2012 the shelter took in 339 animals including 136 dogs and 203 cats. Of that total, 144 were puppies or kittens. By far the largest number of animals came from people dropping off animals, with 171 third-party drop-offs, followed by 109 owners surrendering their animal, 50 animals being dropped off due to by-law violations and nine animals in the "other" category. The average stay for a dog at the shelter was 36 days, while cats stayed an average of 124 days.

The cost to house and care for the animals, based on the number of animals and the length of stay, was over $500,000, with the money coming from fundraising and adoption fees. Councillor Nelson Kinney, however, suggested the length of stay and number of animals could be reduced if the adoption fee was lower.

"It seems quite high to me. I don't think the average family can afford $175 for a dog, and that explains why so many stay there so long," he said.

"I would look at getting those fees reduced."

Terebka countered that the fees are already lower than in other shelters in the province and include shots and spay/neuter, procedures that often cost more than the adoption fee.

"If you can't afford the adoption fee, then you can't afford the medical care and other expenses of having an animal," she said.

"You can't just come in and get an animal from us. You have to have the means to care for it."

In addition to Terebka, who works full time as branch manager, the SPCA shelter has two part-time workers and 10 trained volunteers who help care for the animals.

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