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'Situation is urgent': SPCA expands shelter search

'Extremely limited inventory' in Fort St. John for new shelter, says SPCA

The BC SPCA says it is expanding the search for a short-term animal shelter in the North Peace to neighbouring communities in Taylor and the wider regional district.

The local shelter in Fort St. John was closed in March after being deemed unsafe for workers and animals.

In an update on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the agency says it has “faced a number of roadblocks” as there is an “extremely limited inventory” of suitably zoned property within the city.

“Our situation is urgent and we have now expanded our search parameters to the Peace River Regional District and Taylor in the hopes of leasing a space as quickly as possible,” said Adrienne McBride, the BC SPCA’s senior director for community animal centres, in a news release on Nov. 15.

McBride says securing a short-term lease is the priority as the search in Fort St. John continues.

McBride says the SPCA is "100 per cent committed" to staying in the community, and that city staff have worked to help find a solution.

“The community has been incredibly helpful with our search and we have pursued numerous properties but each one has led to a dead end, either because the building has already been leased or it is not zoned appropriately to house animals,” McBride stated.

McBride added, "We are extremely anxious to have a physical space to work from again where we can welcome people face to face, process adoptions, continue to provide kenneling for stray animals in Fort St. John and the District of Taylor, and provide easy access to community outreach programs such as our pet food bank.”

The shelter on 82 Avenue was closed in March due to structural issues, prompting a council discussion about the future of animal pound keeping and shelter services at a meeting in September.

The SPCA says it has been supported throughout the closure by community partners such as foster families and local vet clinics, as well as its Dawson Creek branch, over the last several months.

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