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Grande Prairie SPCA officially dissolves

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The Grande Prairie and District SPCA won’t be reopening. The organization’s board has decided to dissolve in the hopes that a better solution can be found.

The SPCA announced it was closing at the end of May 2016 after revealing it was $250,000 in debt. It owed $120,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency, which had frozen its accounts.

By April of this year they’d been able to chip away $75,000 of what they owed thanks to fundraisers and other measures, but President James Kostuk says they realized the service could not be viable in this city.

“Without a revenue source, with just some small fundraisers, those fundraisers went to operational costs, because we still own a facility, we still have power bills to pay, and that really helped buy us time to make sure, ‘is this going to be the right decision? Can we move forward and open the doors?”

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By dissolving the board, Kostuk says they’ll be able to sell off their assets to pay off the rest of their debt. Those include the building on 104th Avenue, its contents and equipment, and a vehicle. Kostuk says that should cover the remainder, and any surplus will have to be donated to another not-for-profit organization.

Instead of trying to bail the SPCA out, the City and County of Grande Prairie agreed to open a regional care facility. It has offered pound, adoption, and shelter services in partnership with the Edmonton Humane Society.

Kostuk thanks the three parties for stepping up, along with Bandaged Paws, the Peace Regional Animal Care Centre and In The Woods Animal Rescue. He argues the move to dissolve means a conversation about what should happen next can be had.

“This allows us to move forward as a community and at the end of the day we want to make sure the animals are taken care of and this is the best decision… it’s been too long of a delay without anything happening.”

New contracts will be looked at, and while Kostuk says there’s no chance of the SPCA reopening in Grande Prairie, there are opportunities for other organizations to move into the community.

“In my opinion it’s a critical service that we need to offer to citizens and our furry loved ones, but for the Grande Prairie SPCA to open the doors we’d be years away and that’s doing a disservice to the community.”

The Grande Prairie and District SPCA first opened in 1972.

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