Renovations are underway at the BC SPCA East Kootenay, as work will be ongoing until the New Year that will create a healthier environment for the animals.
The building is getting a new ventilation system, while some rooms are being expanded and remodelled to meet the needs of the staff and the animals.
Other additions — yet equally as important — are coming as well, such as an industrial sized sink and additional kennels, according to Brenna Baker, the manager for the BC SPCA East Kootenay location.
“The problem was, we’ve had so much sickness in here, upper respiratory infection and it just spreads, it carries from people cleaning because we don’t have the ventilation,” said Baker.
“A couple times this past year, we’ve had all our cat rooms closed to adoption because all of the cats have been sick, so it was not ideal at all.
“Hopefully with these renos, it’s going to make a huge difference with the health of the animals, the health of the employees and volunteers.
“It’s not going to create more space, but it’ll create a healthier environment for sure.”
The renovations are being funded by grants as money has flowed in from Community Initiatives, the Columbia Basin Trust and the RDEK. Baker estimates that the renovations will come in at under $50,000 while an additional $30,000 is going towards equipment such as cat kennels.
Specifically, the renovations will involve knocking out a wall in a room housing kittens and cats and replacing it so the two rooms are more proportionally sized. Wooden kennels are being replaced by stainless steel ones.
The shelter is building an intake room, where cats can be examined and vaccinated before going in with the rest of the population.
“When animals come in, we’ll do all their initial assessment, we make sure there’s no ringworm and we do all the vaccinations in one room, so it just cuts down on the threat of passing disease around the shelter, which is really exciting,”said Baker.
An existing room will also be converted to an isolation room, so that sick animals can be quarantined. Ventilation is also being added to the crematorium.
New cat kennels will be arriving that are unique because it separates their living area and litter box with a connector between the two for the cats to move back and forth.
Other equipment includes a commercial sink for employees to wash dishes as well as a new bathtub to wash the animals.
Baker emphasizes that the SPCA doesn’t get any government funding and that most of the money goes towards operations and staffing costs.
That’s why the renovations are such a big deal.
“These are the things that have gotten behind and to me, this is really important to the health of the animals and the employees and volunteers is we need to have this shelter up to par and it’s far below standards,” said Baker.
“It’ll improve the care of the animals and we’ll be able to do a better job and do what we preach. It’s hard when we don’t have a proper facility.
“The animals are being well-cared for, but some of the rooms were unhealthy.”
Anyone wishing to make a private donation to the SPCA can contact Baker at 250-426-6751.