This time last year, there was no animal shelter in St. Paul.
A massive storm damaged the shelter in 2016, rendering it unusable. Since then, shelter manager Josiah Clarke has been keeping what animals he can on his own property.
But following years of fundraising and lobbying for donations and support, the Shelter is starting to take form once again.
A brand new building has been constructed on Range Road 105 and Highway 29, about 10 kilometres west of St. Paul.
“Construction has gone a little longer than expected and we didn’t get into the facility until the middle of January,” Clarke said. “But we are currently moving in and setting everything up.”
The newly-constructed shelter features a quarantine room and ample room for cat cages. There are also facilities for staff and volunteers including a bathroom and a small kitchen.
The new building will mostly house cats, while an adjacent quonset will house dogs.
The quarantine room can hold approximately seven cats, and the cat room can house about ten.
But the quonset still needs substantial renovations and repairs before it can house any dogs, which won’t happen for some time.
In the meantime, there may be room for a few small dogs in the main shelter building. Clarke will also continue to do what he can to house dogs off-site.
The shelter has also hired Maegan Quinn as an assistant manager.
“Maegan comes with a wealth of knowledge from the veterinary field,” Clarke said. “She has worked in vet clinics for the past four years, and will help with animal care and treatment at the shelter. She’s a registered vet tech and has the skills and know-how to nurse animals back to health.”
Funding for the Shelter
As reported in May 2018, the Town and County of St. Paul have pledged a combined $55,000 for renovations of the quonset. The Shelter has also applied for a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant, which would provide an additional $55,000 for renovations.
However, those funds are exclusively for the renovation of the quonset; the new shelter building has been paid for almost entirely by fundraising and donations.
“We had a few major donations, one from the St. Paul Lions Club and one from a private donor,” said Anna Leskiw, one of the members of the Animal Shelter Board.
“They each donated $10,000. And everything else—every other cent that we have poured into this building—has come from fundraisers and from the community. Without our community, and our local businesses, and our volunteers, we would have nothing.”
Mayor Maureen Miller also recently donated $1,000 to the Shelter. She won the money at a recent Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) conference to give to a charity of her choosing. She presented the cheque to Clarke, Leskiw, and Quinn at the Town Council Meeting on January 28, 2019.
“The community of St. Paul, as well as other surrounding communities, have helped us a lot,” Clarke said. “Town Council, Mayor Miller, and Town staff have been extremely supportive of getting the Shelter up and going. From cash donations, capital pledges, and help with grant proposals, we’re grateful to everyone who has supported us through this period of not having a shelter. We’re really excited to show everyone the finished setup. It’s a good start, a really good start.”
The Shelter is aiming to be open to the public on March 4.
What if I see a stray animal?
Where you see the animal determines who you should call. If the animal is spotted in town, you can contact Municipal Enforcement at 780-645-4522.
The County doesn’t have a bylaw for cats and only deals with nuisance dogs. If you see a dog in the County, contact Public Works at 780-645-3006.