Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Why some BC SPCA branches currently have no animals available for adoption

When BC SPCA deals with large-scale intakes, adoptable pets get moved to make room for vulnerable ones

Some BC SPCA branches have been fielding a lot of calls recently from people wondering why they have no pets for adoption.

“The reality is, especially this branch, we are a cruelty investigation centre,” said Chloé MacBeth, branch manager with the Chilliwack SPCA. “People will often think because there are no animals for adoption we must not be doing anything, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

For the past three weeks, staff at the Chilliwack SPCA have been busy caring for 11 dogs from a large intake where 97 animals were seized from a farm in Princeton. They were transported to several SPCA branches throughout the province.

READ MORE: 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

The animals were living in a poor environment with lack of shelter, unsanitary living conditions, overcrowding, poor ventilation and exposure to injurious objects. Many of them have parvovirus enteritis, a highly contagious virus that causes an infectious gastrointestinal illness. Some have even died.

In order for staff at the branches that specialize in cruelty investigations to properly care for those sick animals, all the adoptable pets at that branch – from dogs to cats to rats – get transferred to other branches.

It’s like “playing a game of Tetris with these animals” to figure out where they can all go, MacBeth said.

Staffing, space and capacity is what determines that, and each branch has its own niche depending on the staff and the resources it has.

The Chilliwack branch is one of several across the province that specializes in cruelty investigations, and it’s an exhausting job.

The branch was under quarantine for two weeks due to the parvovirus enteritis, and during that time staff needed to wear full personal protective equipment whenever they came in contact with the dogs.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Last week, MacBeth geared up in a hazmat suit, gloves and hair net just to prepare and distribute treats for the canines. She then had to sanitize the entire area when she was done.

When the SPCA is dealing with a seizure like the one from Princeton, it’s a provincial collaboration. All teams, including the SPCA’s animal transportation program, animal health department, and behaviour and welfare department are just some of the groups working together to care for the neglected animals.

Even volunteers lend a hand in large-scale intakes such as interacting with the animals in shelter or fostering them at their own home. Fosters are “crucial” to the success of any kind of intake, MacBeth said.

“All of the branches pitch in so no one branch is burdened with the care of all of the animals,” she added.

So when animals from an intake come in to certain branches, it’s out with the adoptable animals and in with the vulnerable ones.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, gives treats and toys to some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, gives treats and toys to some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

But why clear out the cat kennels if a branch is only taking in dogs from the seizure?

“It’s a matter of staffing. Our team is devoting all of their resources, all of their time and energy to supporting these animals needs.”

The animals are in need of medical treatment, they have to be shuttled to and from veterinarian appointments, and their behavioural needs need to be met. None of that can be done if they have to care for additional animals, like those up for adoption.

But folks can still adopt animals through the SPCA because while some branches are solely caring for vulnerable animals, many are not.

When people find a pet they’d like to adopt through the BC SPCA’s website, they have the option of making an appointment and driving to that branch to adopt the animal, or get it transferred (for a fee) to a branch that’s not under quarantine. Pets cannot be transferred to a branch that’s under quarantine.

And the demand lately for adoptable pets has been high.

The pandemic has resulted in an increase in adoptions, and the average length of stay for an animal in shelter has decreased during COVID-19, MacBeth said.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, stands in full PPE gear at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 where 11 dogs are in quarantine. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, stands in full PPE gear at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 where 11 dogs are in quarantine. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“People are actively looking for adoptable animals rather than supporting backyard breeders.”

The pandemic has also changed how they adopt out animals.

“COVID has done some really incredible things for us. It’s really pushed us into the digital age… adoption applications online is a new thing and it’s been incredible.”

It’s also been overwhelming as there could be hundreds of applications for just one animal.

“People often think the SPCA is just adoptions or just surrenders and the reality is it’s so much more than that,” MacBeth said.

RELATED: Hoarding cats often a mental health issue: Chilliwack SPCA


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Adoptionanimal crueltyBCSPCA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, suits up in full PPE gear to see some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, suits up in full PPE gear to see some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A sign on the door to the dog kennels at the Chilliwack SPCA on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A sign on the door to the dog kennels at the Chilliwack SPCA on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Just Posted

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Most Read