Saint John SPCA budget cut halts service
City slashes group's budget in half
The Saint John SPCA says it can't afford to keep providing animal control service because the city cut the group's budget in half.
The charity was responding to calls about nuisance animals and stray cats and dogs, but stopped its service as of Thursday.
The shelter has more than 100 animals, mainly picked up by its 24-hour animal control service.
On a normal day, they receive around 10 to 15 calls said executive director Kari Poore.
"We realize the city's in turmoil right now with funding and with budgets, but we provided a service that actually took care of living live beings. So to just have your budget cut in half, on top of already having a deficit, it was really quite disheartening for us," said Poore.
Saint John is hacking services with its 2012 budget. Animal control wasn't spared.
Last year the SPCA received $160,000 from the city. That went toward keeping a vehicle on the road to respond to calls, plus medical care, food and shelter for the strays.
But the operating costs fell short by $50,000. So, this year the SPCA asked for an increase.
Instead of more, the city's giving less.
It wants a reduced level of service, focusing just on roadkill and stray dogs, Coun. Bill Farren said.
"We're not rampant with wild dogs running around the place all the time. Occasionally the Animal Rescue League got a call, there was a dead animal in the middle of the street, or a dog's been barking and they need it looked after," Farren said.
"They provided that service for less than $100,000 and they did a very good job at it."
The Animal Rescue League no longer exists.
Farren said the city will have to look at another service provider for animal control.
"The money's still sitting there for who ever wants to provide the service."
Right now, the bylaw enforcement officer is taking calls for violations of the animal control bylaw, but beyond that the city said an alternative has not been found.
In the meantime, Poore said she's worried about an increase in the population of all stray animals especially at this time of year.
"I'm really, really concerned for the animals. We took great pride in making sure these animals were taken care of."