SPCA officials looking forward to the year ahead

Organization still facing financial challenges in new facility

Red Deer and District SPCA staff are looking forward to their first full year in a new facility.

“We’re having a great year so far,” said Julie McInnis, executive director for the Red Deer and District SPCA. “It’s been awesome being in the new building and having the vet clinic which we opened last October has been a big asset to us.”

Because of the in-house vet clinic, McInnis added the SPCA achieved their goal of having all of the animals spayed and neutered well before their target date.

“We wanted to have everyone done by January 1st and we had all of the animals done before Christmas,” she said. “Now we’re in maintenance mode where animals are being spayed and neutered as they come in versus having a big back log.”

McInnis added although the year has gotten of to a good start, there are still some challenges the SPCA will face over the next 11 months.

“We’re challenged financially,” she said. “Things haven’t changed because we’re in the new building.”

Although the SPCA has wrapped up its capital building campaign, they still owe the City of Red Deer $1 million that was given to them in the form of a loan.

“We are working hard to pay that off,” said McInnis. “It’s like a mortgage that we owe the City.”

The operating budget for the SPCA will also increase between 30-35% this year because of the larger facility.

“Our 2010 – 2011 budget has increased from $500,000 to $800,000,” said McInnis. “We’re caring for twice as many animals and we’re getting to a point where we’re meeting the needs of the community with dogs and we’re closer to meeting the needs of the community with cats.

“We still do have a waiting list for cats but it’s significantly shorter than it has been.”

Meanwhile, the SPCA also has a new litter of puppies up for adoption. The nine-week old Irish wolfhound cross pups are ready to find their forever homes.

Named after luxury cars, Audi, Maserati, Denali, Lincoln, Miata and Royce were born in the shelter after their mother Shelby was brought into the facility.

Shelby is also up for adoption.

“We didn’t know she was pregnant when she was brought in,” said Amy Corpe, animal care manager at the SPCA, adding the puppies will get to about 50 to 100 lbs when they are fully grown. “These puppies arrived about 10 days after Shelby came to us.”

Anyone interested in adopting one of the puppies must first fill out an adoption questionnaire and spend time with an adoptions counselor at the shelter. If approved, all of the members of the household have to meet the dog they are interested in adopting.

“These dogs need to go to homes who have a lot of patience and time to train them,” said Corpe.

Each puppy is $500 to adopt from the shelter.

“The adoption fee covers the spaying and neutering which have already been done to the puppies,” said Corpe. “They’ve lived here for nine weeks so we’ve provided food, shelter and in-house veterinarian care.”

In addition, this weekend, the SPCA will celebrate the Year of the Cat according to the Chinese calendar.

An open house will be held on Saturday where adoptions for adult cats will be $20.11 and kittens will be $120.11.