It was an emotional farewell on Saturday when the SPCA left the city for good as longtime manager Kathleen Embree (centre) shares a group hug with staff and volunteers.

Noon-hour rally Wednesday in front of city hall

SPCA rally aims to hold Campbell River city council accountable

Diane Palmer is well aware there’s little or nothing city council can do to bring the SPCA back to Campbell River.

That’s why Wednesday’s noon-hour rally in front of city hall is about holding local politicians accountable for their actions, she says.

“Council needs to be responsible…with no SPCA, what are we going to do when animal welfare issues need to be dealt with?” she asks.

As of Monday, Coastal Animal Control Services began operating in the city after being awarded the contract over the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

City council, acting on the recommendation of staff, chose Coastal to operate enforcement and pound services based on a far lower bid.

Coastal also operates in several other Island communities and city council offered the SPCA a grant to continue operating its other services including pet adoption, the spaying and neutering program, dog walking program and more.

But on Friday, the SPCA sent a letter to council stating it was already operating at a loss, could not continue to do so and had decided to leave Campbell River after three decades of service.

On Saturday, as SPCA staff and volunteers packed up their belongings, an impromptu rally, fueled by social media, formed at the shelter off Merecroft Road.

“It wasn’t so much a rally as it was a thank-you to the dedicated staff who spent many, many years caring for animals in our community,” says Palmer. “It was very emotional.”

Palmer worked at the local SPCA shelter more than 20 years ago.

She knows very well the services provided by the SPCA and doesn’t believe Coastal will come close to offering the same.

That’s the reason for today’s rally which begins at 12 noon in front of city hall.

And supporters are connecting through three Facebook pages: Rally in Support of SPCA, Speak Up For the Animals, and Petition for Welfare of Animals in Campbell River.

As of Tuesday morning, Palmer’s petition had more than 1,000 signatures and more than 200 people indicated they would attend Wednesday’s rally.

The rally, says Palmer, is an opportunity to show city council how much support there is in Campbell River for the SPCA. It also puts council on notice that animal rights issues will not be ignored.

“The SPCA served the entire North Island and now it’s gone. They were operating at capacity and I can imagine now the Comox Valley SPCA is operating at capacity,” she says.

“What was council’s motive and what are they going to do now? Where will animal rights stand?”