City council examines SPCA report

Red Deer City Council received a report from the SPCA about the results of the funding that was approved in the January 2010 budget this week.

Council approved the funding in the amount of $77,000 as a contract, not as a one-time grant.

“The funding has assisted with hundreds of pets in need and helped to meet the growing needs of the community,” said Joyce Boon, inspections and licensing manager.

Julie McInnis, SPCA executive director, explained about a point in the report regarding the potential addition of grooming services as a comparison to the vet clinic that the SPCA already contains.

“Our clinic could be perceived as competition but we inquired to local clinics beforehand about what we wanted to do and got their agreement by consensus that the SPCA would have its license to do medical procedures on SPCA animals only.”

McInnis then explained that grooming would be a similar service that would be provided by an outside service.

“When we move forward with something we do it in collaboration and not competition with the local businesses.”

A concern was brought up that because there is funding being provided through the government that individuals may see that there is no longer a need for private donations.

“It’s a ratio though,” said McInnis. “The amount of money we require in donations and grants has increased but so have our financial needs. It’s relatively the same funding from a percentage perspective.”

Also in the report was some information regarding the City of Edmonton as far as how their SPCA sought financial support from regional partners and saw great success with that.

“We contacted 46 small villages, cities and towns that fall into our area of influence and did a lot of presentations. They were surprised at the support we do provide to the community,” said McInnis.

Some bylaw issues were raised including the possibility of having a peace officer work in conjunction with the SPCA to enforce specific animal bylaws.

“The number of calls that we do get and the extra strain that is on the SPCA is huge. This would be a complimentary service,” said McInnis.

Councillor Tara Veer said she especially liked the fact that the funding provided was a service contract instead of a grant.

“It provides stable funding for the organization but a greater sense of accountability as far as public dollars go.”

Veer also said she is glad to see the SPCA is making some vital steps toward becoming self-sustaining.

Paul Meyette, the City’s planning director, made sure to emphasize the $77,000 to the SPCA will remain part of the base budget and that it is not a new funding request.

He also noted the SPCA is working in conjunction with Alberta Animal Services on many fronts including working together to get animals adopted out.

“They’ve done a lot of work to blend the adoption so you can do it from one site. They are working towards seamless service and coordinated service to our public.”