Fuzz balls move into the new Prince Albert SPCA

Tyler Clarke
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Years in the making, the arrival of more than 50 cats and dogs at the Prince Albert SPCA’s new building on North Industrial Drive marked its grand opening.


“The transition has been ongoing, but it’s been exciting, and everybody’s been so upbeat and so positive,” manager Debbie Lehner said after a team of volunteers were done unloading the pets from their previous location at Exhibition Drive.

“We are technically 95 per cent moved in here right now. There are some finishing things that the sub-contractors will have to finish up with, but we plan to be in operation, here, Tuesday morning at 11 a.m.”

Touring a group of volunteers through the 12,000-square-foot building, it’s easy to see how the new shelter dwarfs the previous 3,500-square-foot facility, in both size and operations.

At the previous location, more than seven functions were squeezed into a laundry room, Lehner pointed out.

The new facility boasts not only a vastly larger laundry room with more up-to-date equipment, but six additional rooms to cover the operations that until now functioned in the same small space.

A volunteer room, separate facilities for different segments of the pet population including new, adoptable, sick and under watch, as well as a pet store and crematorium have been included.

Staff offices are included at the facility alongside a staff break room, with various other useful items filling the balance of the building.

Lehner has joined operations manager Leanne Roberts in visiting the facility almost daily since it broke ground a year ago -- sometimes several times per day, she noted.

“We would see ‘that’s not going to work,’ or, ‘that room’s not big enough,’ so we took out a couple walls that weren’t permanent walls at that time and we made adjustments as we went along,” Lehner said.

The transition has been ongoing, but it’s been exciting, and everybody’s been so upbeat and so positive Debbie Lehner

Although things will never be 100 per cent, Lehner said that she’s overwhelmingly happy about how things turned out.

The new facility’s 11 a.m. opening to the public on Tuesday will mark the beginning of a new era for the Prince Albert SPCA, she said.

“We hear comments daily that people don’t want to come to the former shelter where we were at, because they find it depressing,” Lehner said. “It is old and dilapidated and it has served its purpose.

“Now, when they come in, I think we’ve set a really warm environment -- friendly, open and bright for volunteers and donors, staff to work at and just the general public to come in and view the place.”

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