BY ERIN FAWCETT
The Red Deer and District SPCA has unveiled a new name for its organization.
Now known as the Central Alberta Humane Society, officials say the mandate of the organization will stay the same.
“The name change came about because there was confusion about us and the Alberta SPCA. People felt we were financially supported by them and when they made a donation to them, then it would come to us,” said Tara Hellewell, executive director of the Central Alberta Humane Society. “We are separate financially and we’re different in terms of the work we do – we shelter and educate and they do animal protection and some education as well.
“We also wanted a name to better reflect the communities that we serve.”
She added incorporating the words Central Alberta is also important for the organization as they serve a larger region than just the City of Red Deer.
“Approximately half of our clients and our animals that are coming in are from outside of the City of Red Deer. We started to analyze whether a name change might be a good idea for us, and then we all agreed at a board level, initially, that it would make perfect sense to change that to Central Alberta,” said Hellewell. “It didn’t seem to have the same effect (the name Red Deer and District SPCA). I was going to events in other communities and sometimes I was asked why we were there because we were Red Deer and I started to figure out there is a lot in a name.”
The new name also offers opportunity for growth around Central Alberta.
“We could possibly look at branch offices opening up in other municipalities,” said Hellewell. “These are options for us. It can take us anywhere – just the new name.”
Meanwhile, the Central Alberta Humane Society and the Town of Sylvan Lake are joining forces in a unique partnership.
In December, the Town of Sylvan Lake moved the provision of animal control services ‘in-house’. Lost and found pets are now directed to Municipal Enforcement Animal Services, who typically hold pets for the initial 24 hours, before transferring them to a kennel provider for a further 48 hours. After the total 72 hour period has expired, the kennel provider becomes responsible for continuing care and sheltering.
An initial kennel service contract was recently terminated by the provider, and as a result, the Town and the Central Alberta Humane Society have teamed up.
“We are excited to partner with the Town of Sylvan Lake to provide a safe haven for animals until they can be returned to their rightful owners or adopted into loving homes if unclaimed or not owned. We were very careful to ensure that this contract would fit within our own ethical mandate,” said Hellewell. “As a no kill shelter, we work on a maximum capacity/wait list model. We had to carefully gauge the number of animals that we could comfortably house, without risking our principals or core values. In addition, we ensured that the Town of Sylvan included provisions in the contract that agreed to our humane standards of care (the five freedoms).
“This is an exciting step forward for our charitable organization. We have invested millions of donated dollars into this state-of-the-art facility; this contract provides some stable funding to allow us to continue to save lives and provide important humane services to our region. We look forward to supporting the Town of Sylvan lake through excellence of service and providing the best of care to their animals.”