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Mae Bachur Animal Shelter

Animal shelter survival is in jeopardy: society

The Mae Bachur Animal Shelter is threatened with closure, the Humane Society Yukon (HSY) is warning Yukoners.

By Whitehorse Star on November 8, 2019

The Mae Bachur Animal Shelter is threatened with closure, the Humane Society Yukon (HSY) is warning Yukoners.

“After 30 years of operating a humane shelter for dogs and cats, HSY is reaching out to the community for direction and support,” the organization said in a statement today.

“The Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse has had a tough year; fundraising events fell short of what was needed, senior staff turned over, and a court case drained resources.

“Right now, there are 10 animals that desperately need vet attention, but the shelter owes thousands in vet bills already.”

The society takes in animals from across the territory. Donations and animal adoption fees provide 75 per cent of the funding.

Fees charged for animal adoptions mostly go to pay the vet bills for neutering/ spaying and vaccinating them, and don’t cover other costs related to feeding, care, and keeping the shelter’s doors open five days a week.

“The shelter provides an essential service in the North, taking in strays from throughout the territory,” the society said.

“Without help to pay the vet bills and keep the doors open for the animals, there will be no choice but to close the shelter.”

To save money, bookkeeping services were replaced by an internal system using Quick Books, and a financial review was waived for a year, which was allowable under the Societies Act.

“ In hindsight, that was a mistake,” the society said.

“The members voted down the request from the board to waive a financial review for 2018-2019.

“A bookkeeper has been engaged now to go back and correct errors made in data entry back to 2017-2018 and an accounting firm has been engaged to perform financial reviews up to and including 2019. Also at great expense.

“The board is exhausted. Membership and the community have clearly indicated that they do not trust the operation and decision-making.

“The board appeals to the community to come together and either close the animal shelter; support the animal shelter; or reform the shelter.”

The board members are willing to step down and be replaced, the society said.

“They have all indicated that they would support any decision the community and the membership make going forward.”

The Yukon government has indicated it will assist with a comprehensive governance, operational and financial audit once the current financial review is complete. It provides about a quarter of the annual budget to operate Tlingit Street shelter, which opened 21 years ago this month.

A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 in the Grey Mountain room at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre.

“This public meeting is not to make any decisions,” the society said.

“It is to put the problem forward to the membership and to the community for guidance and direction and leadership.

“At this moment, HSY is not in good standing with consumer and corporate affairs (a branch of the Yukon government).”

To come into good standing, a special general meeting of the members will need to be held, the society said.

“At that time, the results of the financial review will be put to the membership for approval. The board asks that nominations come from the floor for a new board of directors.

“The current board is not prepared to continue governing the shelter in the adversarial climate that has existed for the last couple of years.”

The society has launched a GoFundMe appeal to the community to help pay the vet bills.

“The dogs and cats and the shelter employees anxiously await your decision,” the society said.

Comments (31)

Up 1 Down 0

Dog_Mom on Nov 19, 2019 at 10:25 pm

$400k for art, $500k for "rebranding", and we can't find a way to successfully run an animal shelter and provide a spay and neuter program to address pet overpopulation in a Territory of less than 50,000 people. Ridiculous! Humans, can we not work together to put important priorities first! Seriously!

Up 5 Down 5

Kruger better go back to school on Nov 13, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Huh! So you're saying if you neuter all males except one, there's still a chance of impregnation? What would happen if you neutered all of them? Just wondering.

Up 15 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Nov 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

As I have stated previously in the Whitehorse Star's comments forum, I have some difficulty with government benefitting from the misfortune of the public in the form of fines paid for violations and the like being put into general revenue. Government should not profit in these situations. Rather I suggest that these monies from fines and penalties be used to support the good work of the many NGO groups working to make our communities better.
The 2017-18 Government budget lists revenue from fines at $483K. I'm sure this money would have a greater net benefit for the many groups who volunteer their time to add value to our communities and the people and animals who live in them.

Up 15 Down 4

CJ on Nov 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

How many non-profits will dissolve under this Liberal government? Many Rivers, Mae Bachur...maybe something about the model doesn't work. I suppose this wouldn't be a popular idea, but couldn't the government take on certain bills, like the veterinarians? It's in the public interest to provide care for animals.
People aren't perfect, you can rail all you like about responsibility and so on, but it doesn't solve the problem. It's not realistic to rely on fundraising to support the whole thing, or on the goodwill of businesses, such as veterinarians, who need to keep their own operations going.

I don't know that the city taking it on is the answer. Everything gets so expensive when the City of Whitehorse takes it on, and Mae Bachur takes in animals from all over the territory, anyway.

I don't have the answers. But it seems to me that first it has to be decided that it's a venture that needs to continue. It's a noble cause. It's very sad to see them in trouble again.

Up 12 Down 3

Costs on Nov 13, 2019 at 9:25 am

@ "My Opinion" - the adoption fees are actually quite low considering you get an animal, a small amount of food (for their transition), first shots, a vet check within the first 2 weeks and they get spayed/neutered. I believe a spay these days runs around $300 and the vet checks are $60. Lots think it's expensive compared to the "free" animal that you can get off Facebook when not considering the extras that the animal incurs in the first year.

What I want to know is how much the paid staff are being paid? Are they being paid like public sector employees or private sector? Seems most NGO's around here want to be paid like public sector aka government.

Up 15 Down 8

Look Up Dunning-Kruger Effect on Nov 11, 2019 at 10:10 pm

To "Hard on realities"

Neutering a male dog most certainly does not mean there will be no litters. You could have ten males and ten females and then could neuter all males except one. Left to their own devices, within 8 months there will very likely be 10 litters of pups. Now turn it around. You can spay all ten females and leave all the males intact and there will NEVER be another litter of pups from those females.

Get it now? I didn't think I had to spell that out. I guess I overestimated the cognitive abilities of a few people.

Up 9 Down 2

drum on Nov 11, 2019 at 8:12 pm

I support the Food Bank with donations every week. There has to be balance. That should include humanity towards animals. I also pay money every month into Charities that help people in other countries. What are you doing Greiko for your fellow man.

Up 14 Down 2

YukonMax on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Fix it any which way you can but please think very hard before asking the Government to get involved. They have some track records on how they run a shelter.

Up 20 Down 12

Hard on realities on Nov 11, 2019 at 9:48 am

Only spay females???? Witaf, neutering the males means no litters as well. Wow. You're special.

Up 21 Down 11

My Opinion on Nov 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The problem is the Label. NON PROFIT. Everyone of these things fails for the same reason, they are not being run like a business. Profit is not a dirty word and profit is not derived from charging too much, but quite the opposite. It is derived from keeping costs under control.

If your goal is to get these animals a good home then quit making them so expensive that no one can afford them. Get good adopters and allow them to make the decision on Spay and Neuter. This would keep Vet costs down, also costs for housing them for months or years while trying to find affluent adopters.

Run it like a business. Quit thinking that as a not for profit it gives you some higher moral standing.

Up 28 Down 16

hard realities on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:28 am

Can the government bookkeepers go in there for a few days and do the books to save the thousands the accounting firm is charging?
Stop neutering male dogs and cats and just focus on the females. A spayed female means no litter.

Stop running to the vet for minor situations and learn some basic home care - talk to the mushers and farmers!
Put down animals with serious health issues, and animals who are seniors. It is a reality in this territory that people are constantly dropping off entire litters plus pets who are no longer wanted. Triage has to happen.

Up 26 Down 8

Heiko Nyland on Nov 10, 2019 at 9:15 am

Some good comments here. Lots of common sense. Unfortunately bleeding hearts will always be involved in animal rescue, and critical thinking is not a prerequisite for administrating this shelter. And what's sadder is many humans will never take responsibility for the animals in their care when it comes to neutering. Can't shoot people, so what's left? I could use a job...just saying.

Up 23 Down 9

Anie on Nov 10, 2019 at 7:53 am

Nucky - Would you work for free? Didn't think so. Why should veterinarians work for free? Perhaps they should add a surcharge to each bill to cover the cost of providing services to the shelter. Would you pay that? Didn't think so. And you are not a "pet parent" you are a pet owner. There is a difference between a child and an animal.

Up 35 Down 7

drum on Nov 9, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Look what we have spent on the Homeless Shelter for a few homeless people and a lot of welfare receivers who spend their welfare on drugs and booze but get three free meals a day and housing! We spend money or putting ART in buildings.
This Territory has a disgusting history of animal abuse and abandonment. We need the Animal Shelter to defend and support the innocent animals that they care for. My taxpayers money that I have paid has gone into stupid projects in the Territory and I had no say but I want a say in this. If the Government or City will not step up and do the right thing then it has to be a Go Fund Me and people who really care about animals will step up!!!!!!!!

Up 20 Down 17

Max Mack on Nov 9, 2019 at 9:45 am

Here is another yet NGO and its backers pleading for government (CoW and GY) intervene to "save" it. However, I can't help but note the very different response of government compared to other NGOs. Many Rivers was essentially forced out of business. I suspect that Mae Bachur will be bankrolled by GY and CoW one way or the other, perhaps with CoW taking over its operations.

Is this a fair use of public resources?
How many other NGOs can mismanage their resources and then expect government intervention? This seems to have worked for both Mount Mac and Sima. How are other NGOs being negatively effected by the diversion of government resources to select causes? What are the tax implications for Whitehorse property and business owners who are ultimately forced to absorb the costs of "saving" preferred NGOs?

Up 13 Down 54

Greiko on Nov 9, 2019 at 8:30 am

All this curfuffle for 10 strays. The food bank is always short on food for lack of donations and people here suggest the taxpayer take over the shelter...out to lunch.

Up 48 Down 2

moose101 on Nov 9, 2019 at 7:17 am

All this talk about no funds but no dollar figures have been mentioned. YTG provides 25%, how much is that ? A court case drained resources, what was the dollar figure there?
Time for the city and YTG to step up and run the shelter - they seem to keep coming up with millions for other projects that always seem to go over budget or accomplish nothing. We need a functioning shelter to care for more than our share of abused pets in the cold unforgiving northern climate.

Up 61 Down 8

Matthew on Nov 9, 2019 at 6:46 am

Sad to hear, this should be addressed right away and recieve public funding. I mean I'm sure 500K would do wonders. Doesn't the city plan on spending 500k on art!? Art!

Up 36 Down 8

Shannon on Nov 9, 2019 at 6:38 am

If I was closer, I would help. I Rescue Cats in Toronto.
Everyone needs to help, including the Government.
The Animals need a Voice for them, do not let them DOWN.

Up 45 Down 3

Darin Sherk on Nov 8, 2019 at 8:24 pm

You know this whole situation is so sad, this has been going on for years. If they followed their own policies and procedures this could have been prevented, quit blaming everyone else, buck up and say it’s your fault. It’s no wonder people don’t donate to you anymore because of this continues bulls**t, sad thing is the animals are the ones that suffer. I hope to god that someone, can step up and save the animals.

Up 43 Down 7

Juniper Jackson on Nov 8, 2019 at 7:06 pm

I totally agree that the City should fund the shelter. That IS how it is done is other communities.. as Dan is so fond of saying.. They do it this way in XX and that way in XX. As for the court case.. the Shelter WON that case.. but the volunteers and staff still had to pay to defend themselves. I only know the person that brought the case against them...jeez..you lost, let it go.. I am sure if I said more about that the Star would decline to print it. That being said.. the City of Whitehorse has always had a kill shelter. That is how Mae Bachur got started, as a no kill. I do trust the people working and volunteering their time, constantly fund raising.. the cost of dog food, vets, maintenance and keeping the place clean and donate directly. My $15 doesn't go very far.. but it goes a little.. everyone that dumps their pets off there should be billed for their care until a home is found. I also know the vets donate considerable time and money. Over 2 million dollars on street drugs and nothing for an old boy or girl that their family didn't want anymore..

Up 18 Down 15

drum on Nov 8, 2019 at 6:46 pm

We need to support this Shelter for abandoned and abused animals in this territory - of which they are many.
We have to start a Go Fund Me to help them.

Up 40 Down 5

Gerry D Steers on Nov 8, 2019 at 6:42 pm

The problems started when the finances were run into the ground by an earlier administrator who operated basically as sole control, with no Board. It was a struggle to gain ground after that.

Up 28 Down 3

A. on Nov 8, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Why haven't they been fundraising? I've seen maybe 2 in the past year. Once again something looks odd. I feel sorry for the animals as they are the ones that are affected. Why internalize the financials? That wasn't a good call. I hope things get worked out but we need a different way of doing things there. HSY clearly isn't doing a good job regardless of who is on the board.

Up 24 Down 16

Victoria on Nov 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Ask the vets to forgive the debts.

Up 41 Down 16

Nicky on Nov 8, 2019 at 6:21 pm

I stopped supporting the shelter after they wasted thousands on the "Trevor the Dog" fiasco. Dogs and cats are not endangered species; the shelter must learn to use it's funds wisely and realize that not every dog or cat needs to be 'saved'.

Nonetheless, the vets in this town charge 'pet parents' outrageous fees and should do shelter animal work pro-bono.

Up 42 Down 12

MITCH HOLDER on Nov 8, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Many Rivers, shutting down. Dog Shelter shutting down. Can't keep a hospital fully operational or staff it. Can't even recycle a f**king pickle jar. Can't do anything but collect parking tickets it would seem, this municipality. So, when are we going to start demanding a competent level of civil service for what we pay for it? Is this why we gave Mayor that lofty raise? Curious, how much does it pay to drive around town and shoot dogs?

Up 31 Down 8

jc on Nov 8, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Tap the carbon tax. For all the good it's doing now.

Up 61 Down 12

Randy O’leary on Nov 8, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Someone better step up to solve this. If the Mae Bachur animal shelter closes, the city shelter won’t have any other place to send the dogs they capture, which means the bylaw department will start killing dogs again. I’m not sure why the city doesn’t just step in to build a new animal shelter and hire staff from Mae Bachur to run the shelter. That’s pretty normal in other Cities.
Both shelters in their current condition are falling apart and in need of some big reno’s. The dogs at the city shelter can be left alone in small “crappy” dog kennels for more then 12 hours at a time.

Up 90 Down 3

Deborah Howe on Nov 8, 2019 at 4:03 pm

I am willing to donate to their account at whichever local vet they use. This way, I am assured that the funds will go to the animals. I will not donate to the GoFundMe campaign because I do not know for sure where the funds will ultimately be applied.
I will attend the November 26 meeting and am willing to step forward to be a new member of the Board.

Up 56 Down 9

Tiby on Nov 8, 2019 at 3:47 pm

I find this very disturbing that the board blames a court case when this could have been prevented if they would have followed their own policies. At the end of the day the BOD did not work with the public and members. They did not make the ED accountable for his decisions, fundraising and lack of communication with staff, members and public. Time for the government or city to take over - enough already

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