Montreal reveals plans for new stray animal centre

The City of Montreal revealed its plans Thursday for a new animal control centre that will be built in the Villeray–St-Michel–Park-Extension borough.

Centre will aim to increase number of animals reunited with owners or adopted

The City of Montreal's new animal control shelter will be able to accommodate 14,000 dogs, cats and other animals. (CBC)

The City of Montreal revealed its plans Thursday for a new animal control centre that will be built in the Villeray–St-MichelPark-Extension borough.

The city moving toward centralized animal control operations after allegations of animal cruelty were levelled at privately-run Berger Blanc shelters that Montreal contracted to provide the service.

The new centre was slated to open in 2016 in Angrignon Park, but city planners opted for a bigger location on Pie-IX Boulevard between 42nd and 47th Streets.

The change will delay the opening to 2018, but the city says the new centre will provide better services for stray animals and their owners while lowering costs.

The city said the new location will put the centre in a neighbourhood where pet ownership is high and demand for its services is greatest.

“Its proximity will have a significant impact on reunification and adoption rates,” Mayor Denis Coderre said in a news release.

The city is aiming to lower the euthanasia rate of stray animals, which Coderre said currently stands at 50 per cent.

Coderre said Montreal is looking to follow the example of Calgary, which has a euthanasia rate of around seven per cent.

The location will also save money by reducing operation and transportation costs.

The new centre will cost $23 million to build and will accommodate as many as 14,000 dogs and cats, as well as other species.

Ghost of Berger Blanc

The city said the new centre follows through on a promise to address concerns raised by the Berger Blanc controversy.

An undercover investigation by Radio-Canada revealed a number of questionable practices, including the euthanasia of healthy animals without sedation and euthanasia conducted by general employees instead of veterinarians.

Berger Blanc had a reunification rate of four in 10 for dogs, and even less for cats.