Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Why some BC SPCA branches currently have no animals available for adoption

When BC SPCA deals with large-scale intakes, adoptable pets get moved to make room for vulnerable ones

Some BC SPCA branches have been fielding a lot of calls recently from people wondering why they have no pets for adoption.

“The reality is, especially this branch, we are a cruelty investigation centre,” said Chloé MacBeth, branch manager with the Chilliwack SPCA. “People will often think because there are no animals for adoption we must not be doing anything, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

For the past three weeks, staff at the Chilliwack SPCA have been busy caring for 11 dogs from a large intake where 97 animals were seized from a farm in Princeton. They were transported to several SPCA branches throughout the province.

READ MORE: 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

The animals were living in a poor environment with lack of shelter, unsanitary living conditions, overcrowding, poor ventilation and exposure to injurious objects. Many of them have parvovirus enteritis, a highly contagious virus that causes an infectious gastrointestinal illness. Some have even died.

In order for staff at the branches that specialize in cruelty investigations to properly care for those sick animals, all the adoptable pets at that branch – from dogs to cats to rats – get transferred to other branches.

It’s like “playing a game of Tetris with these animals” to figure out where they can all go, MacBeth said.

Staffing, space and capacity is what determines that, and each branch has its own niche depending on the staff and the resources it has.

The Chilliwack branch is one of several across the province that specializes in cruelty investigations, and it’s an exhausting job.

The branch was under quarantine for two weeks due to the parvovirus enteritis, and during that time staff needed to wear full personal protective equipment whenever they came in contact with the dogs.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Last week, MacBeth geared up in a hazmat suit, gloves and hair net just to prepare and distribute treats for the canines. She then had to sanitize the entire area when she was done.

When the SPCA is dealing with a seizure like the one from Princeton, it’s a provincial collaboration. All teams, including the SPCA’s animal transportation program, animal health department, and behaviour and welfare department are just some of the groups working together to care for the neglected animals.

Even volunteers lend a hand in large-scale intakes such as interacting with the animals in shelter or fostering them at their own home. Fosters are “crucial” to the success of any kind of intake, MacBeth said.

“All of the branches pitch in so no one branch is burdened with the care of all of the animals,” she added.

So when animals from an intake come in to certain branches, it’s out with the adoptable animals and in with the vulnerable ones.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, gives treats and toys to some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, gives treats and toys to some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

But why clear out the cat kennels if a branch is only taking in dogs from the seizure?

“It’s a matter of staffing. Our team is devoting all of their resources, all of their time and energy to supporting these animals needs.”

The animals are in need of medical treatment, they have to be shuttled to and from veterinarian appointments, and their behavioural needs need to be met. None of that can be done if they have to care for additional animals, like those up for adoption.

But folks can still adopt animals through the SPCA because while some branches are solely caring for vulnerable animals, many are not.

When people find a pet they’d like to adopt through the BC SPCA’s website, they have the option of making an appointment and driving to that branch to adopt the animal, or get it transferred (for a fee) to a branch that’s not under quarantine. Pets cannot be transferred to a branch that’s under quarantine.

And the demand lately for adoptable pets has been high.

The pandemic has resulted in an increase in adoptions, and the average length of stay for an animal in shelter has decreased during COVID-19, MacBeth said.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, stands in full PPE gear at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 where 11 dogs are in quarantine. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, stands in full PPE gear at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 where 11 dogs are in quarantine. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“People are actively looking for adoptable animals rather than supporting backyard breeders.”

The pandemic has also changed how they adopt out animals.

“COVID has done some really incredible things for us. It’s really pushed us into the digital age… adoption applications online is a new thing and it’s been incredible.”

It’s also been overwhelming as there could be hundreds of applications for just one animal.

“People often think the SPCA is just adoptions or just surrenders and the reality is it’s so much more than that,” MacBeth said.

RELATED: Hoarding cats often a mental health issue: Chilliwack SPCA


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Adoptionanimal crueltyBCSPCA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, suits up in full PPE gear to see some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, suits up in full PPE gear to see some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A sign on the door to the dog kennels at the Chilliwack SPCA on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A sign on the door to the dog kennels at the Chilliwack SPCA on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Just Posted

The Skeena Queen, serving the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route has been out of action since early Wednesday morning, forcing BC Ferries to cancel eight sailings connecting the Saanich Peninsula and Salt Spring Island. It is not clear when service will resume. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
BC Ferries cancels sailings between Greater Victoria and Salt Spring Island

With repairs to Skeena Queen underway, it is not clear when service will resume

Victoria police ticketed and impounded the vehicles of two drivers after they were caught speeding through a school zone. (Black Press Media file photo)
Two drivers caught doing nearly triple the speed limit in Victoria school zone

Almost $1,000 in fines, vehicle impounded for each motorist

Michael Arthor Leighton is wanted by the Saanich Police Department for assault. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers/Twitter)
Police seek man wanted for assault in Saanich, multiple charges in other jurisdictions

Michael Arthor Leighton is known to travel around the Island, Saanich police say

Lookout Lake water levels are low as the dam undergoes upgrades. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood dam upgrades projected to be under budget

Province designates Lookout Brook as a high consequence dam should it fail

The Turkey Head Walkway. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay community sees untapped potential in Turkey Head

Part 3 of a closer look at Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks RCMP recommend criminal charges after weekend party

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Spawning salmon have returned to local streams. (The Canadian Press)
TOP 5: Suggestions for your week ahead

This week – storytime, politics and wildlife

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

Most Read