Cyndie Cournyea and Cheeto get acquainted as part of Nanaimo and District B.C. SPCA’s Lock-in for Love event at the branch’s Westwood Road headquarters Friday. The fundraiser for the branch sees people locked up with dogs to raise money. This year’s goal was $3,000. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

VIDEO: Nanaimo B.C. SPCA locks people in for love of animals

Nanaimo branch raises more than $3,000 in fundraiser

Two people were locked up and hoping to be sprung free in a Nanaimo and District B.C. SPCA fundraiser yesterday.

Robyn Andexser and Cyndie Courneyea took part in the Lock-in for Love event at the SPCA’s Westwood Road headquarters. They were locked up in kennels with SPCA dogs, Harley (pit bull terrier mix) and Cheeto (coonhound/kelpie) respectively, and solicited donations from people. Leon Davis, Nanaimo branch manager, said the goal of the event was to raise a total of $2,500 for the Nanaimo branch and $3,200 was raised.

Davis said money raised goes toward the care of animals at the shelter.

“Our operational budget here is somewhere around $900,000 a year to operate,” said Davis. “It doesn’t include cruelty investigations in the area. Our vet costs for injured and ill animals sits somewhere around $200,000, including spay and neuter fees, so we seem to always be playing catch up. We’re in a bit of a deficit right now, so this will help go towards that.”

Davis said it also raises awareness that animals like Harley and Cheeto are available for adoption. The Nanaimo SPCA always has cats, dogs and other animals for adoption, he said.

Andexser said she took part because she believes in the B.C. SPCA and the dogs it is trying to find homes for – she said they deserve a chance. Harley seemed anxious before the event and Andexser said she was a little nervous as well.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done it, so I myself just took some deep breaths at home before I came here because I’m going to have a little anxiety too,” said Andexser. “But I brought some really tasty, delicious treats that I hope will help my relationship start off with Harley well and I’ll pay attention to his body language and offer some calming signals back in return and I’ll do my very best.”

Courneyea said she has supported the Nanaimo SPCA for years.

“It’s a really good cause and I want to bring awareness to people coming to adopt dogs,” said Courneyea.

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