Outpouring of community support for Haida Gwaii SPCA

  • Fri Nov 14th, 2014 10:00am
  • News

There has been an overwhelming community response to the Haida Gwaii SPCA after a theft last weekend left the organization out thousands of dollars.Individual donations have been coming in since word got out about the robbery, and a couple of local businesses have organized special events to raise money for the group.”I know they’re devastated by it,” said Jackie Wilson of Charlisle Clothiers in Queen Charlotte, who is organizing a loonie-toonie auction. “They need to know they’re supported, even though something horrible has happened.”Ms Wilson is not involved with the SPCA, but said she really appreciates the work the volunteers do. When she heard that all the money they had raised at the Halloween dance Nov. 1 had been snatched by a thief, she wanted to do something to help them out, and so did lots of others. Ms Wilson said she has been accepting donations all week from islanders who wanted to contribute. People have donated auction items as well as cash.People can view the loonie auction items and buy tickets at Charlisle’s for the next couple of weeks. The draws will be made on Nov. 29, with all proceeds going to the SPCA.The one exception is the special fishing charter to the west coast for two people donated by Mike Meegan. Ms Wilson said the tickets for that draw are $2, with the draw set for Dec. 24 to give people a bit more time to enter.In Skidegate, the Kay Bistro will be donating proceeds from its first anniversary celebration Nov. 22 at the Kay Centre, and Port Clements business owner Cari Manz is donating this week’s earnings.”I think it’s just terrible that the money got taken,” Ms Manz said. “Everything I earn this week in my hair cutting business I’m going to donate.”Ms Manz is challenging other local businesses to do the same.Haida Gwaii SPCA branch manager Shane Windatt said she is impressed and grateful at the reaction from the community.”People have been sending me email transfers that I’ve been depositing,” she said. “I’m really amazed at everybody’s generosity and really thankful.”The SPCA needs the money to care for the many cats and dogs that it takes in every year. Most of the money goes for vet care, mainly to spay and neuter animals but also for other things, like caring for sick animals, Ms Windatt said.The SPCA has also been doing a lot of work with feral cats lately. There are many colonies of wild cats on Haida Gwaii, Ms Windatt said. Volunteers trap them, with the adults taken to the vet to get spayed or neutered and vaccinated. They are then released back where they came from and fed regularly by volunteers. Feral kittens can be socialized if they are caught at the right age, and can be adopted into homes as pets.Ms Windatt said there are not nearly enough homes on Haida Gwaii for all the animals that are available, and dogs and cats are regularly sent to Vancouver. Pacific Coastal donates flights if they have room, she said, and the animals can be transferred to shelters where they will be adopted.RCMP Sgt. Scott Hromadnik said police continue to investigate the theft.