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

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it.”

(B.C. government)
POLL QUESTION: Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations?

Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations? READ MORE:… Continue reading

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read