Tofino is considering a possible new contract to ensure the care of her local pets.
The district is considering a $30,000 agreement with Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Network to find lost pets and a safe home for stray animals.
“The municipality doesn’t have any kennels, we don’t have extra staff who can take care of the animals and the wages are a bit different. In order to get what CARE is doing, dealing with feral cats and all those kinds of issues, we’re going to have to hire extra staff,” the fire chief said in Tofino and Director of Protective Services Brent Baker during last month’s budget meeting.
The agreement will see CARE become the primary focal point for animal parking within the area, facilitating and managing licensing of dogs and cats, breeding stray and abandoned animals, rehoming animals as needed, and providing affordable spay and neutering services.
“We’re really excited about this relationship,” James Rodgers, co-founder of CARE, told Westerly News.
CARE has been working with animals all over the West Coast for the past 10 years and set up a shelter about two years ago.
“The amount of volunteer effort that went into making this happen has been amazing, and the effect is that we have the ability to keep the animals there very safe and warm for a short stay until they come home or move wherever they need to,” Rodgers said.
He added that the shelter has several rooms for dogs and cats and supplements for CARE’s foster family network.
“Our number one goal is to keep dogs and cats with their families, so sometimes they just need to come for a short stay, maybe they’ve been found wandering or running down the highway,” he said. “If we can get them back on the same day, we win, but hopefully it’s only one night before we can figure out where they live and bring them home…stay longer with us.”
Becker told The Westerly that the contract had been discussed for several years and that he hoped it would be effective in 2022.
“Ideally, the sooner the better… 2022 will definitely be our best scenario. It would be good to know that we have resources available for the next busy season.
“They are very well trained and experienced. That’s what they do. It’s a dedicated local resource that already exists, so it makes more sense to go with what’s out there rather than recreating the wheel… For me, it’s a logical step. It’s something that can happen fairly quickly. What services are needed.”
Rodgers said CARE has worked with more than 750 animals in 2020 and it continues to grow as it becomes more well-known.
“This all started 10 years ago as a group of neighbors wanting to help the animals and our neighbours. It has always been the concept of neighbor for neighbor, and what that really stems from, basically, is that this work makes our communities healthier and safer, and we are 100 percent committed to that,” He said. “It’s much healthier and safer, not only for the four-legged individuals in our communities and our visitors for that matter, but also for humans.”
He noted that stray and stray animals can contribute to wildlife struggles, noting that this year was a “really sad year” for the West Coast black bear population.
He said: “Some people may not realize, but stray dogs and cats, especially cats, can become attractive to wild animals to enter populated areas and this is where we see some confrontations and conflicts between man and wildlife.”
He added that missing animals could also pose highway hazards.
“We get calls quite often about dogs running along the road or highway, which is of course terrible for a dog, but it is also terrible for the driver and anyone else who would be affected if that dog was injured,” she said.
“There are people driving cars over 80 (km/h) and there is a dog along the center line… I think having a place for that dog to go until guardians are found is an important service. When there is no local person to contact, often This animal outside is in danger and is dangerous in different ways.”
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