Opinion

Editorial: Let SPCA build its own shelter

Nanaimo has a lot of four-legged friends and those friendships are important. But the SPCA might be barking up the wrong tree with its recent request for taxpayer dollars.

The Nanaimo branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent a letter to city council this month asking for $150,000-$200,000 over the next three years to ease its transition as it moves from city-owned land on Labieux Road to its own property on Westwood Road.

The SPCA has been paying $1 a year for its current site, but was advised two years ago of the city’s wish to terminate the lease and effect a move. The SPCA has owned 4.8 hectares on Westwood Road for eight years, but hasn’t built on the land because other communities around the province had more pressing animal shelter issues. Apparently, Nanaimo is now at the top of the B.C. SPCA’s list for a new facility.

The SPCA should be able to build its new shelter without taxpayer dollars. First of all, the City of Nanaimo already contributes to the society’s spay-and-neuter program. Many Nanaimo residents also make significant charitable contributions to the local SPCA branch, so asking for taxpayer dollars on top of that is sort of like double billing.

We would note, too, that the municipality owns a separate, publicly funded pound on Nanaimo Lakes Road, where we get some say in setting our own animal-control priorities.

The SPCA has the know-how to handle fundraising campaigns and it has cute little puppy dogs that make irresistible pitchmen. Let’s leave it up to the area’s animal advocates to try to fundraise their new shelter on their own, first. If they can’t, and it creates a gap in animal control, then perhaps the city can step in and try to avert a crisis.

Cute little puppy dogs making puppy dog eyes works on a lot of people. Let those people write the cheques.

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