All systems are go for the Campbell River SPCA’s new home

The deal was made possible Tuesday night when city council approved a zoning change to the property

The BC SPCA is expected to open its new Campbell River branch this spring.

Craig Daniell, chief executive officer of the BC SPCA, said the society plans to open the new 1,800 square foot animal education and adoption centre later in the spring once renovations to its new home are complete.

“We have been searching for an appropriate space to resume our services for homeless and abused animals in Campbell River for nearly a year now and we are extremely pleased to have found a space that works for our specialized needs and for the community,” Daniell said in a release.

The new animal centre is expected to operate out of the Francophone Association building at 891 13th Avenue pending finalization of a lease agreement with the association, which owns the building.

The deal was made possible Tuesday night when city council approved a zoning change to the property which will allow the building to be used as an education and adoption centre.

The SPCA will share the building with the Association Francophone and will use its portion of the building to help animals rescued during cruelty investigations as well as other orphaned animals.

Stephanie Arkwright, manager of the Campbell River SPCA, said the centre will be open five days a week and will serve a variety of purposes.

“We will be providing specialized emergency services, such as compassionate boarding, and will provide temporary care for injured wildlife until they can be transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation centre or a veterinarian,” Arkwright said. “In addition to the animals in our care, we will have a retail area for pet food and related products and the centre will be a meeting place for our community volunteers and in the near future, for educational events for youth and adults.”

The centre will house cats, kittens, other small animals, and a limited number of dogs and puppies.

Arkwright told city council at its meeting Jan. 21 that noise shouldn’t be an issue because the centre will be a scaled-down version of the former animal shelter on Merecroft Road.

“The small number of dogs that will be at the centre will be housed indoors,” Arkwright said. “Dogs outside will be in our enclosed backyard for exercise and socialization as well as bathroom breaks but will be accompanied by staff and volunteers. Our goal is to have dogs that are available for adoption, in foster homes, and have a few dogs at the centre during business hours.”

City staff told council the centre will be within an enclosed building and be used for temporary care of animals.

The centre is only allowed to keep a limited number of dogs and puppies at any one time and can only board animals for a maximum of 10 days per animal, according to the city bylaw.

Arkwright said the SPCA will be calling on community volunteers to help foster animals and teach educational programs.

“We are hoping that we can establish a strong volunteer program as quickly as possible, including on-site volunteers, foster homes, humane educators to assist with school programs, summer camps and other youth activities, community fundraisers and more,” Arkwright said.