Animal shelter at capacity
The St. Paul Animal Shelter is having a busy summer with plenty of animals in its care, and big plans to move the shelter to a new location continue to move forward.
“We’re still at the blueprint stage,” says Trish Ellis, manager of the St. Paul Animal Shelter, when speaking of the new shelter. “The blueprints are the most important part, though. We have a lot of things to finalize, and once we do, we’ll be able to move forward with the construction of our new location and the move.”
A plot of 5.6 acres west of town is the spot where the new shelter is to be constructed. The new shelter, once completed, is going to be bigger than their current location, and more diverse with separate, specialized buildings, all part of one larger facility.
The new animal shelter will be built in a five-stage process, once construction begins.
“What we're working on first is stage one, the main building,” says Ellis. She explains that the second stage focuses on a pound and intake building, the third focuses on an indoor exercise, training, and multipurpose building, and the fourth and fifth are to be related to a dog park.
“We have a lot of plans. The main 5,000 square foot structure is getting designed and built first. Once completed, we'll be able to move out there,” says Ellis.
She adds, “If we were to try and build (the new shelter) all at once, it would take too long. In the meantime, we’re going to be doing a lot of fundraising for the project, like the comedy night we have planned for Oct. 11.”
In addition to planning for the new facility, the shelter is also in the midst of a busy month in terms of the number of animals in its care. Ellis explains that though their numbers aren’t nearly as high as the recently overburdened Edmonton animal shelter, St. Paul’s shelter is in a very similar situation as the shelter in Edmonton and is over capacity.
“We are at a stage where they have to turn away animals right now,” says Ellis.
St. Paul’s shelter, and other shelters in the province, are seeing a marked rise in the number of cats, in particular, she explains. To combat this, the Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force is working hard to spay and neuter as many strays as possible, to minimize the problem.
“Cats are over capacity, and we’re just about there with dogs too. There are some adoptions taking place but we can’t take in any more until more animals are adopted,” says Ellis.
In light of the overcrowded conditions, the shelter has made a special deal for people looking to adopt barn cats. When adopting two or more barn cats, adopters are allowed to name their own price for the animals.
“We think it’s a good deal, and we’d rather see them get adopted and go to good homes, rather than the alternative,” says Ellis, adding, “Every space that opens up this month, we’ve got more animals coming in. We encourage adoption from other parts of the province, other provinces, even. A couple came from all the way up Calgary to adopt a cat we had here. The most important thing is that these animals find a home.”
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