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Weyburn Humane Society in need of new building, fundraising continues

The Weyburn Humane Society held their AGM on Monday night, and reiterated they are in need of a new building to replace the current one
This is the current shelter for the Weyburn Humane Society, and replacing it is a need, not a 'want', the AGM heard on Monday night.

WEYBURN – The Weyburn Humane Society doesn’t just want a new shelter building, it’s in dire need of the new facility, board members heard at the annual general meeting held on Monday evening at the Travelodge Hotel.

President Randy Bakaluk outlined what is being planned for the new building, along with the need for a replacement of the current shelter, which is very badly overcrowded.

“The present building is old and way past the limit of usability,” said Bakaluk, noting in the past year, the Humane Society was successful in getting a land location for the new shelter on East Avenue, leased from the city at $1 a year.

The condition for the location is to have the project “significantly moving forward” by June 1, 2025.

In the meantime, the Humane Society is fundraising for the building, with about $700,000 raised so far toward the total estimated cost of $2.3 million.

One of the pending pieces that will go a long way towards helping the project move forward are naming rights, and Bakaluk said they are working on a deal they hope will be successful.

One of the most successful fundraisers they had this past year was a raffle for a new Ford Bronco, which provided about $80,000 profit. Other fundraisers were the golf tournament, which raised just over $6,000, and the “poop-scoop” service, which brought in about $4,000.

“We’ve had interest from a couple of business people to sponsor a raffle like the Bronco one again, but there have been no firm developments on that yet,” said Bakaluk.

Questioned on the plans for the new building, he noted they have settled on a floor plan for a 5,000-sq.-ft. building, on which they were able to get a very good deal on the shell, with funds in place for the concrete.

The Humane Society has a “buy-a-brick” campaign, plus sponsorships are available for various aspects of the shelter, such as for a kennel or the cat room.

Bakaluk noted they are tripling up on cats right now, where the new building would give them space for 48 cats. (They currently have 73 cats in the old building.)

The plan would also provide for 16 dog kennels along the outside wall, with the dogs to be brought in at night. The building plan is 100 feet long and 54 feet wide, with room for cat kennels and an isolation room, and a play area for the dogs indoors, along with plans for a garage/storage area.

Asked if the plans are too much for right now, Bakaluk replied, “Currently the building is on its last legs, literally. We don’t just want a new shelter, we need a new shelter.”

In her report, shelter manager Colleen Morrice said they took in 454 animals this fiscal year, up by 54 over 2022, and since September that number would be even higher, noting she took in 18 dogs from one place recently.

They also had a number of cats dropped off at the shelter in November (six that she knows of) that are feral and can’t be caught yet, with food set out for them.

She acknowledges also that staffing is difficult as the pay is around $14 an hour, when a young person could get a higher wage at a fast-food place, and the work can be hard physical labour.

“This has been one of the toughest years in the past 18,” added Morrice.

The 2024 board of directors, determined at the annual meeting, include Bakaluk returning as president; Bev Paul is vice-president; Lisa Webb is the secretary; Patti Allan is the treasurer; and other board members are Colleen Morrice, Janice Carson, Gail Paxman, Trevor Sealy and Amie Feszczyn.