PG Humane Society Offers Alternative Animal Care
Prince George, B.C. – A new organization dedicated to animal protection and welfare in northern BC has been formed.
The Prince George Humane Society will be providing safety for abused, neglected and abandoned animals and will be working with other rescue and welfare groups to promote the sterilization of animals in rural and First Nations communities.
The Executive Director of the society is Angela Lotze, the former Manager of the North Cariboo branch of the SPCA. Last March she and another staff member resigned their positions at the branch following allegations of repeated bullying. Their resignations were followed by those of the 8-member community council.
Lotze says “due to circumstances beyond my control I found it in my best interest to resign. However I have no intention of leaving this wonderful community or the countless animals in need.” She says she has a team of dedicated people experienced in rescuing, rehabilitating and finding permanent homes for animals in need. And Northland Hyundai has come aboard to get the society’s efforts rolling.
How was the decision reached to for the society? Lotze says before she ever joined the SPCA she was the founder of the Fort St. James Humane Society “so I’ve been in rescue long before I joined the BC SPCA. Having to leave the organization didn’t mean I wanted to leave rescue. Once you’ve been involved with a rescue I don’t think you can really get out of it.”
“We know that there is still a need in this community as long as animals are suffering and animals aren’t spayed and neutered, and healthy adoptable animals dying in shelters. We know the work is not done and complete in this community so I think that we can add an extra value and continue to do the great work that the animals need in the community of Prince George.”
Is the creation of the society a result, in part, of recent upheaval at the local SPCA? Lotze reiterates that just because she had to leave that organization doesn’t mean she wants to leave the work. “I think that there is enough funds out there, I think there’s enough community support for us both to be able to operate and work together. We’re only out for the animals. The hope is that we can collectively work together and make a difference.”
Asked to get down to the brass tacks of the matter Lotze stated “I think the reality of the situation is that a lot of volunteers have left, a lot of donors have left. That funding is no longer going to the BC SPCA. People still want to put it into the community and still want to give it to the animals. I just think that those volunteers that have left are staff with a passion, the donors that want to keep giving us money, where are those people going, what are they doing now that they’re not part of the BC SPCA? And I think this is now an alternative, it’s a great alternative for them to be able to continue to do their great work in the community.”
She says several people have moved from the SPCA to the newly-formed humane society. “Most of the executive team, some of them that walked away when I did due to bullying and harassment, they are part of our team and a lot of the volunteers from there have joined us as well as a lot of the foster homes.”
Asked whether she believes the society and the SPCA can work together Lotze says “I definitely think it’s possible, I think we have a common goal and that’s about the animals and I think the important thing is to set aside what’s happened and let’s focus on making sure that the animals have the best chance of success.”
Lotze invites those wishing to join the Prince George Humane Society to visit their Facebook page, which was launched Saturday. She adds “we will be launching our website probably in the course of this month. There you’ll be able to have access to volunteer applications, adoption applications, the adoptable animals. But in the meantime we’re just asking people that if you do join our Facebook page if you want to join as a volunteer or a foster or you’re looking to adopt is just to contact us and we’ll get the paperwork through to you and get it completed and take it from there.”
She says the society may look at offering memberships sometime down the road but “we’re really new, we’re starting off with a really small board so it’s something that we could potentially look at in the future.”
What exactly is the society going to be doing? “Obviously we’re going to be taking in strays or surrenders, that’s a big part of rescue. We’ll be taking in anything that’s homeless. You know the SPCA currently do have a limited intake so not all the animals are going to the SPCA so we would be an alternative for those people. But primarily we really want to be focussing on First Nation communities but joining collaboratively with some other rescue and welfare organizations to implement spay-neuter and vaccination programs.”
At this time animals in society care are being looked after in foster homes. Lotze says “we have a working relationship at the moment with the Victoria Humane Society as well as the BC Humane Society and we have formed a transfer program with them so any animals that we cannot adopt out in the community, because we know that there’s only so many animals that can be adopted out in one community, we’ll be transferring those animals down to other rescue groups.”