By Matthew Liebenberg
The Swift Current SPCA’s annual financial appeal is requesting the support of the community to ensure sufficient funds for the care of stray, lost and unwanted pets.
“We are basically a community-funded shelter,” Fundraiser Manager Ashley Muhle said. “So we rely heavily on donations to keep our shelter going.”
The non-profit organization has been providing shelter services since 1973 and celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. It is therefore asking for residents in its service area to consider donating $24 for 2024 or $51 for 51 years.
Any other amount is welcome and will be gratefully accepted to fund the operation of the animal shelter.
“If somebody wants to donate $5, that’s fine,” she said. “If they want to donate $500, that’s great too. We can use as much as we can get.”
The Swift Current SPCA is a volunteer-directed, registered charity serving the entire southwest region. It relies on community support in the area to raise more than 80 per cent of its annual budget.
“We appreciate all donations that come in,” she said. “It helps us take care of all the animals we do have in care and ones that will inevitably come in.”
Funds are used to cover the multitude of expenses associated with the care of animals at the shelter, varying from food and cleaning materials to spay, neutering, vaccinations and other medical costs.
“Inflation has gone skyrocketing,” she noted. “So that makes it harder for a donation-based shelter to keep up. We have 56 cat kennels and 11 dog kennels. Currently, we are at capacity. We’ve got a wait list a mile long.”
The Swift Current SPCA is a no-kill shelter, which means that animals will continue to receive care until they find their new homes.
“We can’t bring anybody in if we don’t have a kennel for them,” she said. “We have to have a kennel for them, just to be humane. They have to be taken care of properly. They can’t run around free or anything. They do get out and play, but they need their space. And if we don’t have that space available, we can’t bring anybody in. So once an animal goes out, we can bring another one in off our wait list.”
Spaying and neutering are therefore important ways to avoid unwanted animals that will end up in the shelter.
Animal adoptions help to relieve the pressure on the shelter, but it does not always keep pace with the number of animals available.
“January and February are fairly slow months,” she mentioned. “We usually get a little bit more adoptions around November and December. Our adoptions are fairly steady in the summer, but in the colder months we do notice that they slow down quite a bit.”
The adoption fee represents only a fraction of the cost to take care of an animal while it is at the shelter.
“We make sure all of our animals are microchipped, up to date on vaccines and spayed or neutered,” Muhle said. “So you’re better off to go through the SPCA to get your animal. It’s got a clean bill of health.”
The annual financial appeal is part of ongoing fundraising efforts by the Swift Current SPCA each year to have sufficient funds for the operation of the shelter. Part of the challenge is to come up with different ideas to get the community involved and to receive their support.
“I’ve actually got a few of them on the go right now,” she said. “We’ll be sticking with some of our trusty things, like the cupcake fundraiser. We have a raffle every week that will be continuing on as well, but we’re looking at new and exciting things coming for this year.”
One of those new fundraisers are currently taking place in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. The Pawsitively in Love fundraiser is a way to buy a gift for someone special while supporting the shelter at the same time. Seven different plant options are available for purchase. Plants can be picked up at the shelter or delivered for a fee. There is even a special option that includes an appearance by a shelter dog as part of the delivery for a nice Valentine’s surprise.
“So if they want these plants delivered, they can ask us to take a dog with us to do the delivery,” she said. “It gets the dogs out of the shelter for a little bit. They just enjoy a nice little ride and a little visit.”
National Cupcake Day in support of animal shelters takes place on Feb. 26. Participating organizations and individuals can organize a cupcake sale and then donate the proceeds to the Swift Current SPCA, or they can buy cupcakes to support the shelter.
For more information about any of these fundraisers, contact Muhle at 306-315-0257 or firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the Swift Current SPCA Facebook page each Monday morning for the weekly raffle.
Donations to the $24 for 2024 or $51 for 51 years campaign can be made on the Swift Current SPCA website (www.spcaswiftcurrent.com). Monetary donations are also accepted at the SPCA shelter (2101 Knight Crescent) and bookstore (37 1st Ave NE).