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Campbell River councillor suggests Strathcona Regional District take over animal control function

Putting forward a motion asking regional district staff to look at options for funding the service

Coun. Larry Samson is interested in moving the SPCA out of the city’s jurisdiction and instead running the service under the governance of the Strathcona Regional District.

Samson is expected to serve notice at Wednesday’s regional district board meeting that he will be putting forward a motion asking regional district staff to look at options for funding the service.

“Whereas animal welfare is a concern to the residents of the Strathcona Regional District and whereas access to service should be available to all areas of the Strathcona Regional District based on a shared cost formula, therefore be it resolved that staff bring forward a report on different options including funding for this service,” reads Samson’s notice of motion in Wednesday’s board meeting agenda.

Samson also suggests the Strathcona Regional District approach the Regional District of Mount Waddington, which serves communities north of Sayward, about participating in a North Island service with cost sharing options. With the Campbell River branch ceasing its operations over the Easter weekend, there is currently no SPCA north of the Comox Valley.

The SPCA had been contracted out by the city to provide animal control services for the past 30 years. Last year the SPCA received $167,000 to provide both animal enforcement and animal shelter services. The SPCA also received free use of the city-owned shelter building, and additional support valued at almost $30,000 which included use of a van and other operations assistance.

While the regional district as a whole did not fund the SPCA, electoral Area D (Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake) did provide annual funding.

Brenda Leigh, director for Area D, said her area has made annual contributions “to the SPCA of $59,000 in both 2012 and 2013 and similar financial support throughout the years for the SPCA since January 20, 1983.”

Leigh noted that Area D dog owners also purchase licences for their dogs. Leigh was sorry to see the SPCA leave because of city council’s decision to award the the animal enforcement contract to Coastal Animal Control.