By Tim Kalinowski
After the City of Medicine Hat and the Medicine Hat SPCA announced last week they would be ending their long-standing agreement over pound services, it left a lot uncertainty for surrounding municipalities which have also used the Medicine Hat SPCA to provide temporary housing for stray dogs and other animals seized by animal bylaw enforcement officers up until now.
Doug Henderson, acting CAO of Cypress County, said last Thursday as far as he knows nothing has changed between the County’s relationship with the SPCA, despite the organization’s recent falling out with the City of Medicine Hat.
“The indications we have are we are going to be able to continue to use their services, but the final decision is up to their board,” confirmed Henderson. “We might use (the SPCA) on average about one dog a month. It sounds like the County’s situation is a different situation from the City of Medicine Hat. It’s not near as demanding on them for our services and most of the dogs we have get returned to the owners.”
However, Audrey Becker, executive director of the Medicine Hat SPCA, told the Courier last week nothing is certain in terms of what services they might be offering to Cypress County and others in the region down the road.
“We haven’t come to any kind of agreement amongst our board members because our problem is taking in strays, and disease control, and all of that, for the current size of the space we have,” said Becker.
Becker went on to say the SPCA had also made no firm decisions on what relationship it may or may not have with local municipalities after December of this year.
“We have never actually done pound services for Cypress County,” said Becker. “We still have to discuss whether we’ll continue to take dogs from their bylaw officer as we have been doing. And we won’t be taking strays in after December 31.”