Exciting changes are on the horizon for the Duncan SPCA, with a significant government grant of 1 million dollars for upgrading the 30-year-old building and the establishment of the Vancouver Island Animal Behaviour Centre – the first of its kind in Canada, covering an impressive 697 square meters. While Cowichan Valley residents eagerly anticipate these improvements, there’s one aspect they must face: another year or more without a spay/neuter program.
In the past, the shelter cited the lack of veterinarians and municipal grant funds as the primary reasons for not offering this essential service. Earlier this year, the on-site manager expressed hope in securing a grant from North Cowichan to initiate a spay/neuter program specifically for low-income families. However, the application for this grant is earmarked for the following year.
Westward Independent recently inquired about the progress towards implementing the program after learning about the 1-million-dollar grant. Sadly, we were informed that none of that funding would be allocated to a spay/neuter program, and it might take a year or two before the service becomes a possibility again, as operations would be temporarily conducted from a remote or emergency location. While the woman on the phone acknowledged the importance of the program, she explained that decisions regarding funds were above her pay grade.
When asked if the Nanaimo branch could assist Cowichan Valley residents during the Duncan location’s construction, the response was disheartening – they couldn’t offer the service. In contrast, Salt Spring SPCA appeared to be more accommodating, offering vouchers for spay/neuter services at various island veterinarians, but exclusively to residents.
As a result, low-income Cowichan Valley residents may find themselves out of luck for years to come, leading to an increase in available kittens and puppies. Those considering adopting these adorable pets must be prepared for the cost of spaying or neutering. For instance, fixing a female cat with an approximate 2-month waiting period can cost around $500.
The SPCA’s spay/neuter program has been a crucial part of its mission, effectively reducing the number of unwanted dogs and cats. During this multi-year rebuild of our facility, it would be wonderful if other SPCA locations could extend their assistance to the Cowichan Valley residents, helping bridge the gap until the program can be reinstated locally. Together, let’s ensure the well-being of our beloved pets and the community as we eagerly await the Duncan SPCA’s exciting expansion.
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