Local advocate wants an animal shelter in Abbotsford

Local business woman and dog enthusiast Diane Davies is tired of seeing Abbotsford’s stray animals shipped off to Chilliwack

Local business woman and dog enthusiast Diane Davies is tired of seeing Abbotsford’s stray animals shipped off to Chilliwack. And she wants the city to do something about it.

Davies has been an outspoken advocate for dogs and animals for the past two decades. She has appeared before council on several occasions to voice concerns about the lack of a local, city-run animal shelter, the local dog ownership bylaw and other animal issues.

“I would like to see Abbotsford have its own shelter. It’s a growing city. More animals are going to come in,” said Davies.

In February 2011, the city came to an agreement with Chilliwack to house Abbotsford’s animals in the Chilliwack pound on Wolfe Road.

Prior to that, local dogs were kept in Aldergrove, at Mainland Municipal Animal Control Services. That company ended its agreement with the city in early 2011, forcing the city to find a new location.

Davies said it’s “ridiculous” that a city the size of Abbotsford is in this position and can’t take care of its own animals.

“We need acreage and a city-run shelter with someone with compassion on hand to take control.”

While she is complimentary about the Chilliwack facility, saying they take good care of the animals, she still believes a local shelter, other than the SPCA, needs to be built.

“It’s part of the city’s responsibilities,” she said.

But Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman said there is no immediate plan to create an animal shelter.

“We’re very  satisfied with the contract we have in Chilliwack. It’s the best bang for the buck for the taxpayers.”

Abbotsford is paying Chilliwack $62,400 annually ($5,200 per month). The new, five-year deal was signed on April 1, 2012.

Banman said it is great value, compared to building and running a shelter in Abbotsford.

“The mandate (from voters) was clear ­– ‘we don’t want to see an increase in taxes.’ They want us to be frugal with money.”

Banman added the city looked into opening a shelter when he was first elected, “but it turned out to be incredibly expensive. We currently have no plans to make a change.”

He said estimates came in between $500,000 and $1 million to create a shelter, not including the cost of staffing it year-round.