Pro­posed an­i­mal shel­ter must be re­gional fa­cil­ity

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

In this busi­ness, ev­ery now and then you meet peo­ple who have a real pas­sion for what­ever it is they do. Their con­fi­dence in their own cause is so strong it can be­come in­fec­tious.

Laura-Lee His­cock is one such per­son who ex­udes such con­fi­dence in her cause, with­out be­ing too over­bear­ing.

Her cause is an­i­mal wel­fare and she makes no bones about her feel­ings on the sub­ject. She knows what the prob­lem is and be­lieves strongly there is a so­lu­tion.

The prob­lem is the large num­ber of home­less, un­cared for an­i­mals in this re­gion. The so­lu­tion, ac­cord­ing to His­cock, would be a proper an­i­mal shel­ter in the area to pro­vide a safe haven for such an­i­mals.

In­stead of hav­ing to rely on the an­i­mal shel­ter op­er­ated by the SPCA St. John’s, His­cock be­lieves, “we should be able to look af­ter our own,” rather than hav­ing to take an­i­mals to the city.

Deb­bie Pow­ers agrees. The spe­cial con­sta­ble with the SPCA St. John’s, who is very fa­mil­iar with this area, has stated, “CBN could keep us in busi­ness for­ever.”

That’s why the SPCA St. John’s is, “thrilled to see some­body start­ing some­thing here.”

His­cock has been the driv­ing force be­hind the move­ment to es­tab­lish an an­i­mal shel­ter here — a con­cept she has been pitch­ing to lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties over the past year.

Be­cause it would save them the ex­pense of hav­ing to trans­port an­i­mals to St. John’s, the towns do not need much con­vinc­ing of the need for such a fa­cil­ity here in their back­yard.

But they also ac­knowl­edge no sin­gle town could be ex­pected to take on the pro­ject on its own. It would have to be a joint, re­gional ef­fort in­volv­ing most, if not all, com­mu­ni­ties in the area.

Real­is­ti­cally, His­cock re­al­izes it could take a year be­fore the pro­posed fa­cil­ity is up and run­ning.

An im­por­tant first step in the plan — the es­tab­lish­ment of a lo­cal branch of the SPCA — has al­ready been ac­com­plished. And His­cock can’t think of a bet­ter or­ga­ni­za­tion than the SPCA to op­er­ate the pro­posed an­i­mal shel­ter.

As con­fi­dent as she is, His­cock also ad­mits the shel­ter will not be­come re­al­ity with­out a lot of help and sup­port from the com­mu­nity.

Thus far all the group has from lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties is their moral sup­port for the pro­posed an­i­mal shel­ter. But it is go­ing to take more than that — it is go­ing to take some big bucks to set up and op­er­ate such a fa­cil­ity. Just ask the St. John’s SPCA. While the group plans to do their own fundrais­ing, sooner or later the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are go­ing to have to put their money where their mouth is. The prov­ince, and per­haps the feds are also go­ing to have to come to the ta­ble with some se­ri­ous cash.

If all com­mu­ni­ties in the re­gion are go­ing to ben­e­fit from this an­i­mal shel­ter, which pre­sum­ably they are, than all should be ex­pected to pay their fair share to­wards its op­er­a­tion. To en­sure that hap­pens some kind of for­mula for a fee struc­ture needs to be put in place.

The prce­dent for such an ar­range­ment is al­ready there in the form of fees which un­in­cor­po­rated com­mu­ni­ties pay to neigh­bour­ing in­cor­po­rated towns for such ser­vices as fire pro­tec­tion and re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties. They may not be the best ex­am­ples since, un­for­tu­nately, such ar­range­ments do not al­ways work out the way they were in­tended. In­deed, they only work when par­ties live up to their com­mit­ments to pay their fair share for ser­vices pro­vided.

If this an­i­mal shel­ter fa­cil­ity is to be truly re­gional in na­ture, and if there is a will to do so, than surely there must also be a way to fund such an op­er­a­tion — one that is fair to all who stand to ben­e­fit from it.

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