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CHILLIWACKPublic response has been immediate to the SPCA’s proposed plan to close two Fraser Valley animal shelters says the union representing the SPCA employees.

Peter Francis, information officer for CUPE Local 1622, the union that represents employees who work at the shelters, reports that members of the public have been expressing frustration and dismay at the decision to shut these shelters –a decision taken without any public or real member consultation.

Francis is disputing the wisdom of sending animals in need from Langley and Chilliwack to a shelter in Abbotsford. “The SPCA says the functions of the Langley and Chilliwack shelters will be taken over by an expanded Abbotsford shelter but the truth is that every kennel at the Abbotsford shelter already has two or three dogs in it” says Francis. “Every effort should be made to keep the shelters in Langley and Chilliwack open.”

“Homeless animals from Langley and Chilliwack will have nowhere to go within a few months,” said Francis. He adds that “Expanding the Abbotsford shelter might be a long term solution to housing animals in the future but the SPCA’s current timing does not allow for adequate planning of such a proposal.”

The proposed closure of the two Fraser Valley shelters will reduce kennel space by 41 kennels.

“Citizens of Langley and Chilliwack have not even been asked if they would support a shelter in Abbotsford and that does not sit well with them,” said Francis. ” We’re not only talking about inconvenience here,” said Francis, “we’re talking about community ownership of the issue of animal welfare.

The closure announcements came while the SPCA was in the process of filling a number of management positions, including the position of an assistant to the Society’s media liaison person. “They hire bureaucrats to “sell” shelter closures to the public when that money could go a long way toward saving a much needed shelter” charged Francis.

If the public believes that only the Langley and Chilliwack shelters are slated for closures they may soon find out differently. Staff indications are that people are not happy and are willing to speak out on this issue of community animal welfare.

“No one asked the communities and probably no one spoke to the SPCA’s supporting members what they thought of spending money on a brand new SPCA head office at 1245 East 7th to house between 30 and 40 staff.” said Francis. “People who sit in those fancy offices will never come in contact with a needy animal. The cost of that office alone could support 3 or 4 much needed animal shelters. Perhaps the SPCA should be considering animal shelter upgrades instead of luxurious offices for bureaucrats.” says Francis.

“Our members are in the trenches, working directly with animals. We want these shelters to stay open, to serve the animals and to serve local residents. ”


Peter Francis, spokesperson for CUPE Local 1622,
cell: 604-763-4679