Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Network co-founder James Rodgers is delighted to announce that the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District approved their proposal to lease a small piece of land at the Tofino-Long Beach Airport for a regional animal shelter and care facility on March 27.
The animal care facility at CYAZ will be a first for the West Coast.
The proposal was submitted to the ACRD in partnership with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and the Ucluelet First Nation with support from the District of Tofino and the District of Ucluelet.
“We’ve been working up to this for about a year,” said Rodgers. “We weren’t sure when we started in 2011 that we would need a facility, but it turned to a need about a year ago where we just started realizing the more the communities change and grow, the more animal control services increased in the region.”
CARE Network is constantly receiving calls from individuals with hurt or lost animals that need to be cared for, according to Rodgers.
He said volunteer capacity just can’t handle the volume of animals the non-profit currently works with.
Last year, dozens of CARE volunteers worked with about 350 animals directly and many more cases were processed online or over the phone, notes Rodgers. He estimates the number of hands-on cases this year will be in the 500 range.
“The amount of bald eagles we’ve dealt with in the last two months alone,” said Rodgers with a chuckle. “Typically it would be nice to have them stabilized, see how they are doing over a 24-hour period, and then send them on if they need to go. We don’t really have the facilities to hold an eagle for 24-hours. With this set-up, we will have kenneled facilities that can be used for a variety of animals.”
The new animal shelter, notes Rodgers, will include isolation space to better deal with parvovirus outbreaks and it will also have space for visiting veterinarians.
Draft design plans for the animal shelter feature the use of shipping containers.
“Shipping containers really are the perfect fit for this first iteration of an animal shelter on the Coast,” said Rodgers. “They are modular and they are also mobile so should we need to move somewhere else at some point. Should we need to sell them, the resale is there. They can always be repurposed.”
Rodgers went on to say the inside of the shelter will be painted bubble gum pink with the idea being that when any one of us is injured, we are all pink inside.
“Sort of this idea that we’re all one, we’re all interconnected and we want the shelter to reflect that,” he explained.
CARE Network is aiming to fundraise $65,000 to purchase the shipping containers, kennels, and other materials needed to build the shelter. CARE launched the GoFundMe campaign ‘Let’s Start a West Coast Animal Shelter!’ immediately after the ACRD approved their request to lease land.
At the time of print, the campaign had raised $13,266 of its $65,000 goal.
Rodgers is confident the community will rally to help bring the animal shelter to life.
“When CARE started, one of our first realizations was that demonstrated love and appreciation for an animal sort of triggered more appreciation and care for that animal. It was sort of this love begets love,” he said.