- Our Town
New manager takes helm at EK SPCA
The SPCA now has a new manager, Brenna Baker, who has lots of plans in store for the East Kootenay SPCA branch.
Lately, the SPCA is filled to the brim. Baker says they have 91 pets registered and although some are in foster care, that there are still 10 full grown dogs that need homes, a few little dogs, and more than 50 cats — mostly kittens, but some adult cats as well.
One of Baker's main goal is to provide education for the public on proper pet care and the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
"I just want to raise a lot of awareness — not just in the Cranbrook area, but in the whole East Kootenay, on how important that SPCA is," Baker said. "My staff and volunteers do such a great job, but we just don't have the funds for some of the needs."
Baker said that detailed education on pet care would help prevent the abandonment of pets, as well as future owner and pet problems.
"I want to raise funds so that we can actually hire an education coordinator, who goes out to the schools throughout the whole East Kootenay and educates kids and parents on the importance of spaying and neutering and the work that the SPCA does. We don't just look after cats and dogs but that we also look after farm animals and their welfare."
Baker has more pressing matters with the SPCA practically maxed out of room, the more immediate goals include general maintenance, feeding and vet care.
"Ultimately I would like to see this building improved one day – that's my whole goal," she said. "I know that Maple Ridge just got a brand new building. It's amazing and just so much better for the animals.
"Our building is not that old, having been built in the 1980s, and it's great. But we have grown so much."
There are also smaller but crucial issues that need funding.
"We need to upgrade all of our cat cages, for example," Baker said. "Right now they are made of wood, and we really need to get the larger, stainless steel cages, so that their care is better."
Baker explains that one of the biggest expenses that the Eat Kootenay SPCA has is the vet bills.
When they receive the animals in need, they update each one of the corresponding shots, spaying and neuter them if need be, as well as they take on the costs of any medical problem each animal may have.
One of the messages that Baker wants people to be aware of is that the centre is not provincially funded and runs on donations and volunteers.
Events like the Paws for a Cause are the ones that bring in the donations they need to be able to make the SPCA centre the second best place for the animals to live — the first being the new forever-homes that the critters will find.
This year's goal for the Paws for a Cause is $15,000 but Baker says that in reality that fundraising goal should be double or triple because of the needed upgrades to the centre.
There are a handful of hardworking volunteers currently who are there cleaning and caring for the animals. Baker says they also have some drop in volunteers who come in and play with the cats and walk the dogs.
"I am a huge supporter of volunteers and I appreciate absolutely everything that they do."
"I really want the public to feel welcome out here — that they can come in and that they can volunteer. I need to grow the volunteer base again — that is another one of my goals, to get people volunteering on a regular basis because we are non-profit, we rely on our volunteers."
Donations don't always have to be of time or money. Baker says another way to help out is by donating old toy dogs, scratching poles or stainless steel bowls for food and water.
"I really believe that if the community was more aware of what we need that they would come together and support us."
For more information about what the SPCA does and how you can help out, you can check their website at www.spca.bc.ca and to support the East Kootenay SPCA or to see the animals waiting for their new home call 250-426-6751.