PetS­mart hires for­mer SPCA man­ager af­ter res­ig­na­tion

Liana Maloney said she’s still help­ing an­i­mals at the new re­tail store, which adopts out pets from North­ern An­i­mal Res­cue

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - COMING UP - ARTHUR WHITE-CRUMMEY

The man­ager of the Prince Al­bert SPCA has re­signed her po­si­tion, cit­ing dif­fer­ences of “vi­sion” with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s board.

Liana Maloney, who has run the dayto-day op­er­a­tions of the an­i­mal shel­ter for about two years, is now work­ing as se­cond in com­mand at the new PetS­mart at Cor­ner­stone. The lo­ca­tion cel­e­brated its grand open­ing on Satur­day.

Maloney said she re­signed as SPCA op­er­a­tions man­ager in early Septem­ber. She said the de­ci­sion was her own. Maloney was hes­i­tant to share her spe­cific griev­ances, for fear of start­ing a “dust up” with the shel­ter’s board.

“I just think the board was go­ing in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion than I per­son­ally wanted to go,” she said. “This was a place I thought was a bet­ter fit for me right now.”

A large con­tin­gent of for­mer SPCA staff joined her in the move to PetS­mart, in­clud­ing a cou­ple of ex­pe­ri­enced groomers from the shel­ter.

Kath­leen How­ell, vice pres­i­dent of the SPCA’s board, said they’ve hired Deb­bie Kel­lett of Fron­trun­ner Footwear to take over on a tem­po­rary ba­sis. The shel­ter also brought on new staff and pro­moted oth­ers to fill the gap left by the de­par­tures to PetS­mart.

“The staff, hon­estly, has been amaz­ing,” How­ell said. “It’s been such a smooth tran­si­tion be­cause of how in­cred­i­bly hard the staff has worked and the ded­i­ca­tion that they’ve shown. It’s blown the mind of Deb­bie and ev­ery board mem­ber. I can’t praise them enough.”

How­ell said she wasn’t aware of any dif­fer­ences of vi­sion be­tween Maloney and the board.

“The board’s vi­sion has al­ways been to work with the com­mu­nity to el­e­vate the SPCA and do the best we can for the city, and I think that was her vi­sion as well,” she said.


The new PetS­mart lo­ca­tion’s man­ager, Michael Mur­phy, said the com­pany is in the midst of an ex­pan­sion. Prince Al­bert is their 129th store in Canada, and they’re hop­ing to hit 200 by the end of 2018. Mar­ket re­search showed that a lot of shop­pers at the com­pany’s Saska­toon store come from Prince Al­bert.

“That was the next ob­vi­ous place,” he said.

Mur­phy has hired 22 lo­cal res­i­dents, and all of them were out on the floor for the grand open­ing. He’s happy to have Maloney as his as­sis­tant team leader. But he in­sists that he didn’t poach her from the shel­ter.

“She switched over and came to us,” he said. “PetS­mart’s a big op­por­tu­nity.”

Mayor Greg Dionne, Coun­cil­lor Den­nis Ogrod­nick and MP Randy Hoback dropped by for the rib­bon cut­ting Satur­day morn­ing. About 100 peo­ple cy­cled through dur­ing the first half hour of busi­ness, Mur­phy said.

The busy morn­ing was a boon for North­ern An­i­mal Res­cue, which is us­ing the shop to adopt out its an­i­mals. By 9:30, all of the cats they brought south from La Ronge were spo­ken for.

Lo­gan Fiske, a board mem­ber with the res­cue or­ga­ni­za­tion, said it’s their first big part­ner­ship with a pet store.

“It’s awe­some for us to bring our cats here, be­cause we don’t have any­where to take our cats from the north,” she said. “With PetS­mart, now we have a cat room. All of the cats in the adop­tion cen­tre are ours.”

She said North­ern An­i­mal Res­cue is deal­ing with an es­pe­cially busy year. They plan to bring in about 10 cats per week, and will soon start send­ing dogs to the shop as well.

Mur­phy said PetS­mart doesn’t make any money off those adop­tions.

“We don’t sell cats and dogs; we adopt them out,” he said. “All the money goes back to the res­cue. Pets­mart char­i­ties give $10 for ev­ery adop­tion back to that res­cue. So we’re about sav­ing lives.”

All the an­i­mals are spayed and neutered. They get a vet check-up and vac­cines, and prospec­tive own­ers go through a screen­ing process. With that kind of sys­tem, Maloney feels right at home.

“I still can work with help­ing an­i­mals,” she said. “Any an­i­mal we can get into a home is just a pos­i­tive thing, no mat­ter what lo­ca­tion you’re out of.”

The work of North­ern An­i­mal Res­cue helps ad­dress pet over­pop­u­la­tion, and Maloney said their im­pact ex­tends as far south as Prince Al­bert.

“I think it’s fan­tas­tic we’re look­ing af­ter the north­ern an­i­mals,” she said. “It’s an op­por­tu­nity for a group that wouldn’t nor­mally have it… Now there’s a home for their cats, and we all know how many cats come into the city from the north.”

It’s not her first time work­ing in pet re­tail, and she feels like her SPCA ex­pe­ri­ence will be an as­set for the com­pany. In the end, she’s draw­ing on the same pas­sion she’s had through­out her ca­reer.

“I think it’s just about plac­ing an­i­mals and do­ing the right thing,” she said.

“To see peo­ple make re­ally good bonds with an­i­mals is fan­tas­tic.”

“It’s been such a smooth tran­si­tion be­cause of how in­cred­i­bly hard the staff has worked and the ded­i­ca­tion that they’ve shown. Kath­leen How­ell


Liana Maloney stands with PetS­mart’s mas­cot, chance, dur­ing the store’s grand open­ing on Satur­day.

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