North Okanagan dog control will be impacted somewhat by the closure of the Vernon BC SPCA shelter.
Regional District of North Okanagan rural services manager Andrew Hunsberger says the shelter built the main building, and various modular buildings attached to it, over the years it leased the site off Old Kamloops Road.
The dog control building is on the same site.
“Part of the deal was that … we would have nothing to do with the buildings,” said Hunsberger. “And so we were aware that the buildings were in a little bit rough shape. But we weren't aware it was this bad, so it was definitely a surprise for sure.”
Hunsberger says the closure came up with short notice and was a shock.
Dog control for the Greater Vernon area is run by the RDNO.
Dogs have been held by the RDNO for 72 hours while officers attempt to find owners. After that, animals were released to the SPCA.
Hunsberger says dog control will continue to work with the SPCA, but now dogs not reunited with owners will need to be moved out of the Vernon area.
“The protocol now is that we reach out to the Kelowna SPCA and they will help co-ordinate getting the dogs down to either Kelowna or up to Salmon Arm facilities to take the dogs,” says Hunsberger.
So far, that process has been working, but the responsibility of getting dogs to the further locations will depend on availability and animal safety.
The SPCA has a van it uses throughout the Okanagan, which Hunsberger says it will try to use for transfers, and volunteers to move dogs.
RDNO recently had to bring a dog up to Salmon Arm because no one was available.
Dog control only passes about 20 per cent of seized dogs on to the SPCA. The other 80 per cent are reunited with owners.
“It's not all doom and gloom. The SPCA, to give them credit, they're still going to be around in the community, they're just not going to have the facility,” said Hunsberger. “And it's going to be more difficult for the other animals that we don't deal with.”
The RDNO has no plans to expand service to include other animals at this time. He says the SPCA will still be in the community and other organizations are trying to step up locally as well.