Celia Durst let out a sigh of relief Monday night as council approved a one-time $8,200 grant to help the Fraser Valley Humane Society (FVHS) keep its doors open for at least another month.
Durst, FVHS executive director, appealed to council for emergency financial assistance last week, noting staff would be laid off and the society would have to close its doors if help didn’t come through.
Operating costs averaged $8,287 in 2013. Presently, there is more than $5,200 in outstanding bills, and only $4,785 in the bank.
“It’s a critical situation now,” said Coun. Jenny Stevens, who proposed the grant from the council contingency fund.
The humane society fundraises all year and this will give them a chance to build up donations to get them through to the end of the year, she added.
While council unanimously supported the grant, many were concerned about the way the FVHS is operating and recommended district staff meet with the society to see if they can help and report back to council on the long-term viability of the organization.
“I know we’re in an emergency situation, but I’m having difficulty wrapping my head around the cost for cats,” said Coun. Dave Hensman, who calculated with only 32 cats currently at the shelter, it’s costing more than $250 a month per cat.
Coun. Tony Luck also pointed out the executive director’s salary is 40 per cent of the FVHS budget.
The average administrative cost for non-profit organizations is usually 15 to 20 per cent of the budget, said Luck, who suggested looking at other agencies to handle animal control in Mission. “I think the spending is out of control. It’s almost irresponsible.”
“If a group can’t meet budget, we can’t keep bailing them out,” said Coun. Jeff Jewell. “We have budgetary responsibilities. I will support this because I love cats and dogs, but this isn’t the way to run an organization.”
In addition to running Mission’s only cat shelter, Stevens explained the FVHS supports a fostering program and assists people in keeping their pets.
Earlier in the evening, The Council Animal Advocacy founder George Evens addressed council as a delegation about the treatment of cats and dogs in the community.
There are a couple fundraisers being planned to raise money for the FVHS:
• Nov. 15 and Nov. 16: Two-day bake sale at Prospera Credit Union, 101-32423 Lougheed Hwy., beginning at 10 a.m. Bakers needed.
• Kickoff to Christmas Shopping Extravaganza, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the library meeting room, 33247 Second Ave. There will be vendors from Avon, Tupperware, Party Lite, and more. Admission is $2 at the door. There will be beverages and appies. For more info contact Trena 604-556-4138.
Other ways to help are:
• bring your bottles, cans and printer cartridges to Changes at the Junction and donate them to the FVHS account #194;
• donate your Canadian Tire money to the centre;
• send the FVHS you Real Canadian Superstore Superbucks;
• transfer your Save On Foods points to the FVHS account #101 at the customer service desk. Save On Foods will match every point donated;
• show your Husky Fuel card with any purchase at Husky gas stations and FVHS will receive two per cent of the sale;
The FVHS is located at 33103 N. Railway Ave. For more information about these events, call 604-820-2977.