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Monday , 28 November 2022

Raising the Woof, raising money for the SPCA

The Bonnyville & District SPCA’s biggest fundraiser of the year is this weekend, with a night of laughs, silent and live auction, and dinner. 

Raise the Woof is back for the first time since 2019 with a night of stand up comedy to raise money for the SPCA’s operations. 

The ability to fundraise comes at a crucial time. President Charlene Rask says they are anticipating a big shortfall this year. 

“We’re gonna have a shortfall this year of over $75,000, just this year alone. Thank goodness, we’re able to start fundraising again,” said Rask. 

“We were able to weather that storm pretty well because of the wage subsidies (CEWS), but those are gone now. And we only get a casino once every two years, which is our other big money fundraiser.” 

As the Town of Bonnyville begins its budget process, the SPCA did a presentation to council late last week, a requirement the town has stipulated for organizations that receive annual funds. 

Currently, the SPCA receives $50,000 from both the Town and M.D. of Bonnyville to run a busy operation. 

In fact, their doors are closed for animal intake from the public due to over capacity, said Rask, and to ensure they can fulfill their contracts with the municipalities.

From April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the total animal intake was 259. There was 125 adoptions, plus 37 dogs and four cats reunited with families.

“We do not have room to take in more animals. We’ve been doing as much as we can to transfer animals to other shelters so that we can try to make room for more animals coming in,” she said. 

“I think during COVID, everybody wanted a critter to cuddle. And then when COVID was over, and everybody had to head back to work, everything just slowed right down. We’ve had a huge demand for surrenders, and we don’t have the room to take them on land right now.”

Staffing is also a challenge.

There is a long list of volunteers as well, but availability can also be a concern. 

However, this has not stopped the SPCA from trying new things, including a new project in honour of former executive and town councillor Erwin Thompson. 

‘Erwin’s Pet Project’ is an effort to raise money to help with the Spay & Neuter initiative he was passionate about with the evolving feral cat problem. 

“A female cat can start having litters by the time she’s five months old. And they can have four to five litters in a year. So this crisis with the over cat population just keeps growing, because we can’t keep up to the demand of getting these animals spayed and neutered,” said Rask. 

Saturday’s initiative is meant to provide some a fun evening, but also appreciate the efforts that the SPCA has taken to continue providing a shelter for these vulnerable dogs and cats. 

It’s something residents follow closely, as their Facebook page has over 5500 followers. 

“We definitely want to thank the community for stepping up…the donations for the silent live auction are amazing and people are just going to be amazed at some of the stuff that they can bid on at the event and comedians are always fun,” she said. 

“They don’t have a voice, we have to be their voice. And we have to do whatever we can to try to help them.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.