SPCA in a ‘critical situation’ and seeks more space to expand in Hamilton

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Published April 19, 2023 at 3:25 pm

spca hamilton expand
HBSPCA photo

The Hamilton Burlington SPCA is in desperate need of more space to serve the community.

Founded in 1887, the Hamilton Burlington SPCA has changed immensely over time, John Gerrard, chief executive officer for the HBSPCA, told the City of Hamilton General Issues Committee on April 19.

HBSPCA currently offers a specialized surgery program, an animal hospital — the HBSPCA Companion Animal Hospital (CAH) now in its 11th year, pet adoptions, animal sheltering, emergency short- and long-term foster care, vaccines, rabies, and humane education.

The HBSPCA shares 245 Dartnall Rd. with the City of Hamilton Animal Services.

But the building is no longer meeting the needs of the shelter, Gerrard said. The shelter is out of date and the hospital needs renovations.

“At this point, we are now in a critical situation,” Gerrard said.

The shared building has about 43,000 square feet of useable space and Gerrard says the SPCA needs an additional 40,000 square feet of space.

spca hamilton expand

The HBSPCA shares this building, 245 Dartnall Rd., with the City of Hamilton Animal Services. Photo via Google Maps

“The demand for our services is outpacing our capacity and service,” Gerrard said. “We have anywhere from 400 to 500 animals on our waiting list.”

There is a limited number of animals the hospital can help in the space they have, Gerrard said. They currently treat about 85 per cent cats and 15 per cent dogs. Because dogs are larger, they require more space and time to treat.

And although the HBSPCA has a foster home program, more pets are being surrendered since the COVID lockdowns started to ease.

“I do not see that that slowing down,” Gerrard said. “We have seen a number of animals returned, re-homed and surrendered to us.”

To move ahead with a larger space, Gerrard said the HBSPCA and the City of Hamilton need to resolve a “stalemate” over an outstanding agreement on the building.

He asked what the city’s expectations were for the SPCA’s investment and contribution to compensate the city to relocate Animal Services and provide the SPCA with the necessary space for expansion.

Hamilton Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson said the building was designed and built in 1996 for the HBSPCA. But a few years later the SPCA board wanted to sever ties with the city. After that, the City of Hamilton set up Animal Services to cover “pound” or animal control for the city.

The General Services Committee was slated to discuss an Animal Services Facility Report, related to Gerrard’s delegation, in closed session.

For more information about the HBSPCA, visit the website here.

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