Animal shelter in the works

The “Friends of Animals” board is looking to build a shelter here by January that could house unwanted animals until they are placed into homes.
The board is just waiting to hear back from the Civic Centre as to how it can proceed. The Planning and Development executive committee will discuss the idea tomorrow, and make recommendations back to council.
“It’s to give [animals] a better chance at a second home,” board chair Sue Cousineau said yesterday, adding they were bombarded with calls and that their day-to-day workload was on the rise.
“Friends of Animals” forwarded a proposal outlining a need for an animal shelter in the district, with a permanent part-time attendant to run it. This also would allow them to assist those with “unwanted” animals–such as a surprise litter–to find homes.
But Cousineau stressed the idea was just in the preliminary stages, with the board hoping to garner public and town support.
“The town does not have a shelter. We, at this point, rely entirely on the Nor-west Animal Clinic,” she noted.
But that eight-year arrangement with the animal clinic is coming to an end in January. The clinic can’t continue fielding 25-50 calls a week, and arranging viewing and sheltering 130-150 animals a year for the “adopt-a-pet” program, Cousineau noted.
“The animal clinic has been wonderful,” she enthused. “[But] they just don’t have the space or the time.”
Dr. Dan Pierroz noted in a letter to Cousineau that the clinic would provide the group a 25 percent discount on their regular fees.
The town currently impounds stray animals for three days, then turns them over to the veterinarian for a physical, vaccinations, de-worming, and determination of adoptability.
“Friends of Animals” then pays a daily rate to house the animal at the clinic for seven days (sometimes longer), or puts them into foster homes. The clinic provides up to three spaces for cats and two for dogs.
Planning and Development manager Ted Berry said his executive committee was taking a look at the relationship the town has with the “Friends of Animals,” and had questions as to what the town would be responsible for.
For instance, as part of its animal control budget, the town covers the cost of having animals put down, and he noted they were wondering if that would continue. Euthanasia costs were $2,053 in 1995, $2,155 in ’96, and $1,896 in ’97.
Thunder Bay is looking at similar proposals from both the local humane society and Northwestern Ontario Animal Habitat (NOAH), with the city running the pound.
“The strays are supposed to come to the pound, according to the [Pound Keepers Act],” noted Bob Katajamaki, Thunder Bay’s manager of licensing and enforcement.
Strays there are kept for three days, then either adopted or put down.