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

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Mom still hopeful for Island man who left care six months ago, hasn’t been seen since

Support from community, police keeps search alive for Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read