The SPCA in Prince George, currently operating at capacity, will be moving to a new, larger location.

The B.C. government announced it will lease land beside Prince George's Exhibition grounds to the North Cariboo SPCA in an effort to help the volunteer organization expand its operations in northern B.C.

"This is a very big deal," said North Cariboo SPCA general manager Jamie Walsh. "We are at our max capacity ... we're very constricted as to what we can do in terms of growth and utilizing the shelter for our needs."

Walsh said the branch has been unable to accept new cats for weeks at a time over the past few years due to capacity issues.

Larger space will help in cruelty investigations

She said the lack of space has also limited the branch's ability to take in animals seized as part of cruelty investigations. She gave hoarding situations as an example of times where the number of animals in need of help exceeds the abilities of the current location.

"So they end up getting spread out throughout the north ... we want to be able to have that capacity to handle those animals."

Walsh expects the new location to be complete by 2020.

According to a release sent out by the province, the new 10,000-square-foot branch will include an education center, barn, dog off-leash area and event space for fundraisers and birthday parties.

The new North Cariboo SPCA will be located between Prince George's Exhibition Grounds and the Equestrian Centre.