“There are 22 cat kennels at the Lakeland Humane Society, and right now we have 92 cats in our care. Our board room has stacks and stacks of collapsible containers with cats in them,” said shelter manager Kyla Hunter at their delegation presentation at the October 24, 2017 Regular Meeting for the City of Cold Lake.
The Lakeland Humane Society has a contract with the City of Cold Lake to provide pound keeping services in Cold Lake. In 2016, the shelter cared for 526 animals at a cost of $380,606.72. The Lakeland Humane Society is asking the City of Cold Lake for an increase in money based on the costs that have risen. Broken down into five years, the first year would see a 32% increase from $163, 810.00 to $217, 020.00. Next year, a 5% increase, then a 3% increase for the following years. Hunter explained as the City of Cold Lake is annexing land, the shelter is seeing more feral cats come in. “All summer long, we had feral cats come in; the MD of Bonnyville has big feral cat colonies,” explained Hunter.
Hunter stated, “On average, with some being more, and some being less, the cost breaks down to $740.40 per animal. Claim rates on the impounds were 45 of the 256 cats (18% claim rate) and 96 of the 257dogs (37% claim rate). There was also a goat that was brought in. He was claimed. The average stay in the shelter for dogs was 78 days and for cats was 141 days.
The City of Cold Lake has a large amount of strays that run free in the city limits. The animals are brought in by Cold Lake citizens (they need to show a City of Cold Lake ID with a Cold Lake address to bring strays in), bylaw enforcement officers, and the RCMP. As the years have gone by, the animals coming in are in worse shape. Six out of ten require extra treatment when they arrive. And veterinarian costs have risen.
The goal of the shelter is to remain sustainable in the long term. Their revenue breakdown for 2016 was 24% fundraising, 15% donations, 20% from the animal care centre (adoption and micro-chipping fees) 7% grants, 1% memberships, 2% administration, and 31% contracts (the contract with the City of Cold Lake, licensing and impound fees). The shelter does have a contract with Pierceland (last year 2 dogs were brought in; this year three dogs). The contract with the MD of Bonnyville was cancelled 2 years ago. “We just don’t have the space,” said Hunter.
Although the non-profit shelter is open 365 days a year to bring in strays or claim strays, not many people came back to pick up their pets. City of Cold Lake Councillor Chris Vining asked why the claim rate was so low. “Why don’t people claim their animals? Do you get feedback?” Hunter explains,”People don’t want to pay a $40.00 impound fee when they can get a free cat on Facebook or Infomall. They are full of free animals. Reclaim rates for cats are incredibly low in Cold Lake.”
City of Cold Lake Councilor Bob Buckle wasn’t surprised by the large number or low claim rate. He made a suggestion that people donate what they can afford to claim their pet back.
City of Cold Lake Councillor Kirk Soroka asked about licensing. Hunter explained, “We have very low rates of licensing. We make $10,000 in licensing fees. People cannot claim their animal unless they have a license. That is the law.”
City of Cold Lake Councillor Vicky Lefebvre asked if the shelter looked at deterrents such as education programs. Hunter explained in 2016, they spoke with 4000 students about responsible pet ownership because they believe in educating the next generation about pet care. In addition, the shelter did presentations for various community organizations and clubs.
City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland asked for the shelter’s vision for the new shelter. Hunter explained she would love to see their new shelter have a bylaw officer work right out of the shelter. The new design, which isn’t finished yet, will cost approximately 3.6 million dollars. (They are looking at the same location). They have applied for a million dollar grant, and already have a million dollars. Mayor Copeland thanked the shelter staff for their dedication and services, and Hunter thanked the citizens of Cold Lake. “We broke a new record for 2016. We had 10,000 volunteer hours by citizens.”
The Lakeland Humane Society is asking the City of Cold Lake to renew their Pound keeper’s Agreement which expires December 31, 2017. Details below:
- Commencing January 1, 2018 – $217,020 for the year of 2018; paid by the City in 12 monthly installments of $18,085.
- Commencing January 1, 2019 – $227,871 for the year of 2019; paid by the City in 12 monthly installments of $18,989.25.
- Commencing January 1, 2020 – $234,707.13 for the year of 2020; paid by the City in 12 monthly installments of $19,558.93.
- Commencing January 1, 2021 – $241,748.34 for the year of 2021; paid by the City in 12 monthly installments of $20,145.70.
- Commencing January 1, 2022 – $249,000.79 for the year of 2022; paid by the City in 12 monthly installments of $20,750.07.
Cold Lake City Council will take the presentation and request for funding into consideration when deliberating the budget.