The Fredericton SPCA is no longer at immediate risk of closing.
The shelter’s executive director, Annette James, said after community support, internal cost-reducing and a dog convention called a Pet Pawlooza, the animal shelter is in a better financial situation.
“We’re not out of the woods yet. We’re not out of the fire at all, but it doesn’t feel quite as hot and quite as intense,” she said.
In November 2023 the shelter said it was about $320,000 in debt for that year and without support would likely close its doors in months. As of Monday, the animal shelter has raised $160,000 of its $250,000 short-term fundraising goal. That gave staff time to look into raising money through funds, foundations and contracts.
James said they’re also looking into efficiency programs with New Brunswick Power.
“The whole goal is really for us to keep our doors open, but also develop the right business plan as a not-for-profit, to have financial sustainability and responsibility to our donors,” she said.
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2023 brings financial strain
The Fredericton shelter isn’t the only one that felt a financial pinch in 2023.
Heather Smith is the executive director of the Moncton SPCA branch, called People for Animal Wellbeing. Her animal shelter was never at immediate risk of closing, but she said 2023 was a struggle for a lot of animal shelters, including her own.
“We are all surviving year to year, or even sometimes month by month. We’d like to have a plan for sustainability over the years so we’re not having to go month by month,” she said.
“Costs have been increasing dramatically.”
Her shelter saw more strays coming. Some lacked vet care. At the same time, she said costs have risen 30 to 50 per cent for procedures like spaying and neutering animals.
To stay afloat, her shelter focused on spending money sustainably. The shelter also makes money through animal control contracts, pet aftercare services and selling pet supplies.
“It takes a community, so we can’t do this alone,” she said.
2024 to be a ‘rough year’
As the cost of living continues to rise, Smith said the next year will be a challenge.
“I predict 2024 is going to be a rough year. And we’ll really just be calling on the community support when it comes to the fundraising and events,” she said.
James hopes her shelter never comes this close to shutting its doors again.
“I don’t think any of us want to be in this position again. But part of that strategic plan moving forward is ensuring that we have catch places, that we have supports in place, that we are really focused on providing the optimal care that we can provide at the affordability level that we can provide it,” she said.
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