Over the past week, I have expressed some interest in a local non-profit organization that does everything it can for the animals of our community. An organization that provides a safe and temporary shelter for animals who are waiting to be adopted in a loving and caring home.
The Miramichi SPCA is one organization that deserves all the attention it can get and as a community we should stand behind our local non-profits because without the men and women who give up hours of their own time by volunteering and devoting their lives to helping the community then our own community would be a lot more colder.
I recently spoke with Jennifer A. The woman behind the Miramichi SPCA, being apart of the SPCA since 2008, she took on the role of manager in 2014 and has been a unstoppable force and voice for the animals of our community.
Jennifer: “The Miramichi SPCA is an animal shelter. We house abandoned, abused, unwanted and stray animals. We give them a place to temporarily call home until they find a family to love them. We provide a place to sleep, food to eat, toys to play with, medical care and love until a family comes forward.”
The Miramichi SPCA has been in this community for over 18 years and is a no-kill shelter and is directly funded by one small grant through the city and through multiple fundraising in the community. The Miramichi SPCA is in no affiliation with NBSPCA and is a completely stand alone shelter for animals.
Jennifer: ” We want people to know that we are a completely separate organization from the NBSPCA. Although our names sound the same, we do not share the same responsibilities or money. They do not fund our shelter in any way. They strictly do animal cruelty and neglect investigations. They inspect our shelter once a year to give us a license to operate.”
Without recognition or funding from the province, the staff at Miramichi SPCA has to constantly battle the tides of closure by running multiple fundraising events and community awareness.
I was shocked to learn that it cost approximately $7,000 to $10,000 dollars a month to run the Miramichi SPCA which is $120,000 dollars a year for basic necessities such as hydro, food, salaries, etc and over $2,000 to 4,000 dollars a month for veterinarian bills alone which can add up to close to $50,000 dollars in itself. You can now see why it is predominantly important for our community to rally together in order to help our local Miramichi SPCA when fundraising is available.
Jennifer: “Fundraising is an ongoing struggle as well. To find fresh ideas people will respond to but are also budget, time and volunteer friendly is hard. We have our Kitty Kash draw now, but we also do things like BBQ’s at local businesses. Online auctions, bake sales, Pet Pictures with Santa, raffles. We also are fortunate enough to partner with such wonderful people who help us hold fundraisers or even do them on our own. We have several businesses and individuals who come up with creative ways to help us raise money all the time and we are so thankful to everyone! We invite people to watch our Facebook page and website for upcoming events”
(A few selected photos of fundraising over the past years)
Over the past year, The Miramichi SPCA came up with an excellent fundraising idea called “Kitty Kash” a weekly 50/50 draw paid with 2 dollars, half of the proceeds goes to the winner and the other half goes to the Miramichi SPCA to aid in the efforts of raising and housing healthy and adoptable pets for families willing to adopt.
Jennifer: “Kitty Kash is another fundraising effort we are trying. It’s a 50/50 draw. We seen how successful some of the other non profits have been with toonie draws and thought why not give it a try! You register by filling out a registration card, deposit the half with your information into our Kitty Kash box. You keep the other half for your records. You write your registration number on one of the white dots located on the Kitty Kash box, stick the dot on your toonie and put your toonie in the box. You play the same number every week. Deadline to play each week is Wednesday at 3:00 pm. Kitty Kash box locations along with past winners, rules and regulations and how to play can be found on our website at www.spcamiramichi.com
We are very pleased with the Kitty Kash fundraiser and hope we can continue to watch it grow every week. This week the winner received $846!!”
The Miramichi SPCA is currently located at 128 Dan Cripps Street in Miramichi. Although the facility is a decent size, I asked Jennifer if the situation was different and if money wasn’t an issue, would the Miramichi SPCA relocate to a bigger facility?
Jennifer: “We would absolutely love to relocate to a bigger, better building if we had the chance. However a bigger building would mean more animals which would mean bigger bills and more staff to care for the additional animals. Struggling to survive now, we don’t see this ever happening but I try to remain optimistic, you just never know what the future holds!”
While I truly believe that even though the SPCA is struggling to keep its doors open, I strongly believe with not only the optimism of Jennifer and her staff but the generosity of our community and a constant push from those who care about the Miramichi SPCA, that we, as a community can join together in a never ending effort to keep the Miramichi SPCA fully operational.
(Miramichi SPCA house animals from dogs to cats, rabbits and small rodents)
With a facility at full capacity, I asked Jennifer what measures are put into place if there is no more room for new animals.
Jennifer: “We serve a very large area. Our building fills up quickly because we are a no kill shelter. It is impossible to be able to help every animal due to building size restrictions, money limitations, etc. We do our best to offer advice to people when we can not take an animal. We have a waiting list for animals that need to be surrendered. We ask that people try to find homes for the animals through Facebook, Kijiji, etc. Or they may try shelters in other areas such as Bathurst or Moncton.”
In order to make room for new animals, The Miramichi SPCA currently has animals ready to be adopted by loving and caring families or individuals who seek companionship. Jennifer went on to explain the adoption process and how it works.
Jennifer: “Anyone wanting to adopt an animal must complete an adoption application. Some qualifications are: we must speak to the homeowner if you are renting (landlord, family member, etc) Animals already in your home must be spayed/neutered unless there is a valid reason. The animal chosen must suit the family (a very nervous cat will not do well in a loud rambunctious home). We look at past pet ownership. The person must be willing to provide veterinary care for the animal’s life. It’s all common sense stuff. Once the person is approved they must sign a contract and pay the adoption fee for the animal.”
Even though running the Miramichi SPCA can be hard at times, I am inspired by Jennifer and her staffs commitment and dedication and optimism to not only this community but for the animals in our community who cannot speak for themselves. The animals that have been left behind, that have been forgotten or unwanted, that are struggling with illness can be treated and loved by the amazing staff at Miramichi SPCA.
Jennifer: “If there is one thing I have learned in all my years at the shelter it’s to take things day by day. To remain optimistic. We have a very dedicated staff who care for this shelter as if it’s their own family. Our whole group including our board of directors will face each challenge as it comes. In a perfect world we will be bigger, and better and helping even more animals in the future”
Anyone in our community can get involve with the Miramichi SPCA through many things, I asked Jennifer what can the community do besides fundraising to lend a helping hand?
Jennifer: “Want to be involved with the shelter? Come see us. There are so many ways you can become involved. You can adopt, foster, volunteer, fund-raise, or join our board of directors. Stop by the shelter Tuesday to Saturday between 12-4, give us a call at 622-0645, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on Facebook. We’ll be happy tell you how you can become involved. We love meeting new people and telling them what we’re all about!”
The Miramichi SPCA is a one of a kind facility in our community, with a dedicated staff and manager, I believe great things can be done by these kind, caring people and with the constant support of local businesses and members of our community, I feel we can ease the minds of those who are constantly battling to keep Miramichi SPCA afloat. While at times, it may seem like the organization is asking a lot from the community, we have to remember what this organization is doing for our community in return, Providing a temporary safe, friendly and caring shelter for the animals of our community that have no other place to go. Feel free to stop in the SPCA and lend a hand, even if it’s for an afternoon or a few hours of your day. Stop and see all the cute fur faces that fill the Miramichi SPCA and thank your local volunteer groups for putting in the time and effort to keep Miramichi the amazing community it is!