BC SPCA will continue animal control for now

The good news for local animal control is the BCSPCA had a change of heart.

The good news for local animal control is the BCSPCA had a change of heart.

The group will continue picking up and housing furry and feathered friends at the Trail BCSPCA branch for the time being, despite an earlier stance it was no longer interested in providing animal control services past the current contract, which expires Dec. 31.

Regional partners, which include Trail, Montrose and Fruitvale, opted for a new agreement but on a quarterly basis, taking into account unknowns about the facility’s impending move.

“The site selection is not resolved,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin explained during Monday council. “They hope to have the relocation established before the end of 2016,” he added.

“Then determine whether it would be in the best interest of both parties to continue a longer term contractual agreement.”

East End Animal Control pays almost $95,000 annually for the service, which includes kennelling animals at large and this year, working with the city to alleviate a feral cat problem in West Trail.

“We feel the contract is something that is valuable to the City of Trail (Montrose, Fruitvale), so we will continue that relationship going forward,” says Mark Takhar, BCSPCA’s chief operations officer, adding, “until the decision is made where we will end up building or purchasing a facility that will house our animals in the future.”

That’s the bad news for animal lovers in the Trail area. At this point, Takhar said the organization is considering moving the Trail branch to Castlegar, though plans won’t come into play until later next year.

“We are aggressively looking for a potential place where we can build a new shelter or even look at properties that have a building we can retrofit,” Takhar told the Trail Times. “Castlegar has come to us with a couple of different proposals that we are looking at very closely,” he added.

“They are very appealing to us…we are looking at what’s best for us with limited funds.

“But wherever we end up relocating, we will make the ultimate decision at that time about what to do with the services we provide.”

Earlier this year, the BC SPCA sent a letter to Grace McGregor, board chair for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), informing the Trail branch would be closed by the end of June 2016.

With the closure date pushed back, Takhar says it’s business as usual at the Trail branch.

“It will probably be springtime before we move forward with any of our options,” Takhar clarified. “There’s a high possibility we will be at the Trail location until the end of 2016, and nothing has changed for us – we are still helping with animals in the region and will continue to do so in the future as well.”

Conditions in the 33-year old Trail facility are deemed detrimental to the health and welfare of staff, volunteers and animals, leading to the BCSPCA’s four proposed replacement options.

Review of those ideas fell to a four-member subcommittee from Rossland, Warfield, Trail and Fruitvale. After weighing the possibilities, the group recommended, and the RDKB board agreed, that the regional district would not fund new construction, but hoped to retain animal control services.

The three municipalities contract animal control from Area A and Area B, so new agreements are made through the East End Services stakeholders and budgeted through the regional district.