New SPCA facility breaks ground

Tyler Clarke
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Since 2009, the Prince Albert SPCA’s New Leash on Life Campaign has yielded the construction of the Paw Print Inn Boarding Kennel and an off-leash dog park. 

Since 2009, the Prince Albert SPCA’s New Leash on Life Campaign has yielded the construction of the Paw Print Inn Boarding Kennel and an off-leash dog park.

With these programs filling out phases one and two, the campaign’s third and final stage ceremoniously broke ground on Wednesday.

At its North Industrial Drive property, just east of the first two phases, a brand new Prince Albert SPCA shelter facility’s groundbreaking had the community out to celebrate what’s to come.

At just less than 12,000 square feet, the new Prince Albert SPCA shelter facility will dwarf the current one, which including all of its sheds is about 3,500 square feet.

“This new facility… will allow for a more homelike environment for the pets in our care. It will have dog rooms, cat community centres and habitats, where they’ll live more normally like a home,” Prince Albert SPCA manger Debbie Lehner said.

The new facility won’t have the health hazards present in the current one, Lehner added, noting that it’ll also come with some unique bells and whistles.

“What we’re really excited about is radiant, heated floors so that the animals will no longer shiver and feel desolate on cold winter nights,” she said.

With Prince Albert SPCA board chair Joleen McCullagh noting that the Prince Albert SPCA has been at capacity for the past 15 years, Lehner said that the new facility will increase its capacity.

The current facility has a 29-dog and 50-cat capacity – figures the new facility will almost double, accepting up to about 60 dogs and 90 cats.

“This is a great day for the City of Prince Albert,” Coun. Don Cody said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “It’s a long time coming, but you know, when you wait a long time, good things do happen.”

Rather than talk about the specifics of the building’s construction, Miller Contracting representative Dan Yungwirth commented that the building is more than steel, concrete and glass.

“It’s a place where we as humans can show empathy for the other living animals that we share this planet with,” he said. “It’s a place where families can find joy with a new pet, and a place where people can volunteer their services and make our community a better place.”

Chloe, a unique canine companion, joined in Wednesday’s celebration, joined by her “forever home” human friend Brent Bosker.  

After almost a year between foster homes and the Prince Albert SPCA, Chloe -- an unwanted black dog -- was adopted by Bosker a few years ago.

“She’s certainly a blessing in our life, and we certainly have found that friend and companion for life,” Bosker said.

“They never gave up on her, and I don’t know if Chloe would have received that many chances anywhere else.”

With shovels ceremoniously placed in the ground on Wednesday, delegates marked between nine and 12 months until the first pet is expected to enter the new facility’s doors. 

Although the groundbreaking ceremony was on Wednesday, with crews already on-site digging out and erecting foundation walls during the weeks leading up, the New Leash on Life Campaign remains about $800,000 shy of its fundraising goal.

“While we still have some work to do, we have no doubt that we will continue to rely on support from the community to complete the project,” McCullagh said.

A number of fundraising events will take place throughout the year to close off their goal’s outstanding balance, including the annual Fore for Pets Celebrity Golf Tournament on July 24 and 25.

Daily Herald reporter and former Prince Albert SPCA board member and Dave Leaderhouse is biking to and from LaRonge during the second weekend of June, and is accepting pledges on behalf of the New Leash on Life Campaign.

Leaderhouse can be contacted at 763-3366, or checks can be made out to the SPCA and mailed to 1305 Gillmor Crescent, S6V 6A8. The Daily Herald will keep readers up to date with Leaderhouse’s effort. 

Read Saturday’s Daily Herald for more information on the New Leash on Life Campaign and the effort to get a new Prince Albert SPCA facility. 

Organizations: Paw Print Inn Boarding Kennel, Prince Albert SPCA board, Daily Herald

Geographic location: Prince Albert, LaRonge

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