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Happy reunion at Shuswap SPCA a positive amid strain of Vernon closure

Local branch in line for new facility
Labrador mix Charlie is reunited with his brother Fish at the Salmon Arm SPCA after being transferred from the Vernon branch after its Nov. 17 closure. (BC SPCA photo)

Coming on the tail of a busy summer season, the Shuswap BC SPCA welcomed even more tenants after the Vernon branch was forced to close its doors.

Though taking on additional animals puts an added strain on its already stretched resources, the transfer does have a silver lining and resulted in the reunion of two Labrador mixed dogs – Fish and Charlie – that are believed to be brothers.

The two senior dogs were both found near Enderby within a few weeks of each other in September but, as the Shuswap branch was already supporting Fish, Charlie was taken to Vernon as they had less dogs and could give him more attention.

“When animals come in, we place them where it best suits their needs,” SPCA senior director Adrienne McBride explained. “Not necessarily according to location.”

Now, however, the brothers are reunited in Salmon Arm, where the team is addressing Charlie’s medical condition and separation anxiety from being abandoned, just like Fish.

Though it led to that happy ending, the Vernon closure and resulting intake of animals puts a strain on local resources, which are already stretched thin after a particularly busy year.

In an October newsletter, Shuswap centre manager Meranda Dessault reported an increase in animals needing care, with plenty of dogs coming from large-scale animal intakes (LSAIs).

“The 2023 season will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the busiest and most demanding for our organization. We have cared for more LSAIs in the past eight months than we have in the last few years,” she stated. “While we are thrilled to be helping these furry creatures find their happy endings, it has also been pressing on our resources in all areas.”

While the Shuswap location is currently engaging local fosters to help house animals and ease cramped quarters, the centre is on the list for a new building, following the replacements of the Fort St. John, Cowichan and Vancouver centres.

“We have identified the Salmon Arm facility, along with those in Prince George and Surrey, to follow as quickly as possible once the others are complete in the coming years,” senior communications manager Kaila Butler said.

McBride confirmed the SPCA does own land in Salmon Arm for the eventual replacement, but added that there are no immediate plans to do that.

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About the Author: Heather Black

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