SASKATOON — The Saskatoon Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is going to implement some changes next year after their funding request was recently denied by the City of Saskatoon. SPCA’s contract with the city is managing its pound services, where an annual funding of $600,000–$450,000 for the pound contract and $150,000 for animal protection services — is provided to them.
SPCA’s contract arrangement with the city requires the charitable organization to accept all animals brought to them by the Saskatoon Animal Control Agency. The City Council, however, did not grant their request for emergency funding, but SPCA executive director Graham Dickson the matter is still open for further discussion.
“They [Council] did, however, request that the administration report back to Council by March 2022 with a review of the contract. I have been working with our partners at the City to settle on terms for a new contract, (pending approval of City Council). We are in a holding pattern at the moment. I am confident that we will be able to come to an agreement with the City that is mutually agreeable," said Dickson in an email to SASKTODAY.ca.
He added that, as of now, they are going to undergo some changes as a non-profit organization.
“And this funding agreement is just one part of that. Our goal is to become a national leader in animal welfare.”
Dickson said they are thankful for the support of the community, which came to their rescue.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the community since going public, which reinforces for us the belief that Saskatoon supports our mission to improve the quality of life of animals in our community.”
SPCA Development director Trina Mortson said the community stepped up when they needed it most.
“We would like to say thank you to the community. The support they have given since hearing of our funding shortfall has been amazing, many seem to understand the important work we do and are rallying behind us. I hope that local leaders take time to ask further questions, and fully understand the role we play in the animal welfare community before they decide on the status of our request,” she said. “If the request from the city takes place, then future fundraising dollars can be directed to building a clinic which will significantly impact the way the Saskatoon SPCA runs. We would be able to do our own surgeries at a significant cost reduction and hopefully provide low-cost spays and neuters to the public as well.”
She added community support has been a big help as the amount of money they spend on a rescued animal (cat or dog) varies.
“The cost per animal varies according to type and needs. Our calculations are based on the length of stay, and do not include the cost of the spay and neuter surgeries, and extra medical costs like dental work, diagnostic tests, etc.”
She gave an example of an average $300 spent on a cat or a kitten, but that is based on the average length of stay that is usually 15 days. Additional costs, spaying or neutering, range from $25 to $300. Dogs and puppies average $200, based on average 10-day length of stay while spaying or neutering is between $95 and $300. Diagnostics and other surgery costs also vary, while dental work is higher and can range from $100 dollars to $1,500.
“These are discounted rates through the local clinics we work with. We have a great relationship with the WCVM (Western College of Veterinary Medicine) which have the best rates but there are a limited number of surgery spots available. [Veterinary] students are also far less efficient than seasoned veterinarians, so they take much longer to perform procedures… We also work with veterinary students from the college as well as SaskPoly’s [Veterinary Technology program]. We provide so much more than just adoption services,” added Morrison.
She said, on average, close to $1.1 million is needed for animal care expenses at the Saskatoon SPCA pound, before surgeries or extra medical care.
“This does not include animals that were surrendered by their owners or protective custody situations, etc. This is what the City should be covering via our pound contract. Please note that this is not just based on animals who are adopted it is based on all animals that come to the shelter.”
“Many are redeemed by their owners, are in protective custody etc. and some, unfortunately, need to be euthanized after finding medical issues that we do not have the budget to cover. This is a topic that many people have strong feelings about. There are many who feel that we should never euthanize an animal, but we are bound by the Animal Welfare Act and we cannot allow an animal to be in distress or pain and that being said we simply do not have unlimited funding to cover all medical costs of all animals.”