Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

OPTIMISTIC ABOUT UNION – Dan Moore, the executive director of the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter and Humane Society Yukon, hopes the city will amalgamate the shelter with the city shelter.

Two animal shelters may unite into one as discussions go on

Amalgamating the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter with the city shelter would be a good thing for everybody, says the executive director of the shelter and Humane Society Yukon.

By Chuck Tobin on June 20, 2019

Amalgamating the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter with the city shelter would be a good thing for everybody, says the executive director of the shelter and Humane Society Yukon.

Dan Moore said in an interview Wednesday afternoon he is optimistic the union will happen.

Building the required addition to the Mae Bachur shelter could begin by this time next year, quite realistically, he said.

The Mae Bachur facility on Tlingit Street in the Marwell area opened in November 1998.

There are ongoing discussions with the city regarding funding and operational arrangements but overall, he said, it’s a sound proposal.

They are still waiting for final estimates for the additional 1,400 square feet they expect to need.

It’s likely discussions will get back underway in earnest in September, with a decision by the New Year, he said.

Moore said the initial estimates for the addition were essentially based on regular prices to build a new home at $220 a square foot.

But he’s asked for another assessment, because they won’t be needing any kitchen cabinets, he said.

“I am still waiting for some of those to come in,” Moore said. “That would be part of the discussion for sure.

“The idea here is to have an add-on to our facility that those bylaw officers would have access to any time they have a stray.”

Exactly how the cost of the addition, as well as the ongoing operation and maintenance, will be shared between the humane society and the city is a matter still to be worked out, said the executive director.

Having the stray animals at Mae Bachur ensures there’s always somebody around to look after them, Moore said.

It would also free up the officers to spend more time on enforcement and other duties required of the bylaw department, he pointed out.

Moore said it would also create greater flexibility for pet owners to retrieve their dogs and cats that have been picked up by officers.

Mae Bachur staff and volunteers are very good at their jobs, and know how to deal with animals that show signs of stress or have behavioural issues, he emphasized.

The recommendation that the city should amalgamate its shelter with Mae Bachur came out of an independent review last summer of the bylaw department and the services it provides.

The shelter recommendation was among six that were made. Three of the six have been given priority, including the proposed amalgamation.

Moore said discussions started following last year’s review but took a break because of the October 2018 municipal election, though they’re are back on track.

The administrative report presented to city council Monday evening regarding the recommendation notes the city shelter does not meet national standards for an animal care facility.

“The Mae Bachur Animal Shelter is clearly superior to the city shelter from a design and functional perspective,” says the report.

“It meets/exceeds Canadian Shelter Veterinarians guidelines and benefits from technically qualified staff and a cadre of dedicated volunteers.”

Moore said the city no longer puts down animals that are not claimed within 72 hours, and has not been doing so for many years, as he understands.

If a dog is unclaimed after 72 hours, the city turns over ownership of the animal to Mae Bachur, he points out.

He said animals at Mae Bachur remain there until a new home is found, unless there are health issues that require euthanasia for humane purposes.

One dog was there for a year and a half, Moore pointed out.

Statistics provided by the bylaw department indicate the number of animals officers pick up varies from none to five or six a week.

So far this year, they’ve apprehended 58 animals – 45 dogs and 13 cats.

In 2018, officers picked up a total of 102 animals – 77 dogs and 25 cats.

Comments (5)

Up 2 Down 2

Humble Measure on Jun 25, 2019 at 3:38 pm

I hope this isn't about reducing operational costs by paying HSY-level wages instead of city-level wages to the animal care workers who take care of the impounded animals. There's a pretty big wage gap.

Up 11 Down 13

Shelter Skeltor on Jun 22, 2019 at 7:35 pm

The shelter is so poorly managed and has had a history of poor management; building an addition and then expecting the COW tax payers to fund its operations is another example of the masses paying for the poor choices of a few.

COW and MBAS, start charging irresponsible pet owners who mismanage their pets, larger fines for returning pets, fines for off leash pets and so on, then consider funding the operation of a shelter that is partly paid for by pet owners in general. Don't pass the burden on to those of us who manage our pets well or those of us with no pets at all. For that matter, start charging all pet owners a fee, if you want to have someone pay for the operations, fund it with a pet tax that keeps the cost with the people who may or do use the shelter services.

Up 12 Down 6

My Opinion on Jun 22, 2019 at 2:50 pm

First of all have the ongoing controversies and scandals been cleaned up surrounding this organization? I think not.

Up 14 Down 7

Max Mack on Jun 20, 2019 at 6:32 pm

I smell another round of tax increases coming . . .

Up 37 Down 5

Jesse Hall on Jun 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm

It' s about fricken' time! The previous bylaw manager kept saying no for a new or upgraded animal shelter. The City animal shelter is in very rough shape, especially the area where the animals are kept days at a time. There should be a follow up story about the condition of the city animal shelter.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.