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Grande Prairie SPCA closing at the end of May

The Grande Prairie and District SPCA will be closing its doors at the end of the month. It had been in the middle of a fundraising campaign to try and come up with the $250,000 it needs. However, Fundraising and Public Relations Manager Nell Martell says all 21 of their staff have been suddenly laid off as they owe the Canada Revenue Agency $100,000.

“Our accounts have been frozen so there’s no way that the shelter can pay its staff; because of that we’re going to have to close the shelter. None of us saw this coming; we didn’t know.”

Martell says they’ve struggled for some time, but when the City and County of Grande Prairie took over the regional pound in June 2015, the SPCA lost funds it brought in. The year before, both communities paid more than $530,000 to have them run it.

At Tuesday’s Community Safety Committee meeting they asked the city for 75 per cent of all animal licencing fee revenues, which would help bring in an estimated $90,000. Martell says they’re meeting with the city again next Monday

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“All of us at the shelter believe in the shelter and we know exactly what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” argues Martell. “It breaks our heart that we’re in this situation, but we’re willing to put in the work.”

Upcoming fundraisers like Bark in the Park are still ago, but the focus is now on emptying the shelter. They’re going to try and adopt out as many animals as possible, and are reaching out to other shelters to see if they can take whatever’s leftover. Martell maintains none in their care will be euthanized.

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