May 24th, 2024

Let’s Chat: We cannot PAWS for pets

By Linda Tooth on May 8, 2024.

One good thing about the state of the world today, including Medicine Hat and the surrounding area, is there is never a shortage of things to write about.

I have a list of topics, but due to limited space and only writing once a week, this week’s column is about a recent post shared on Facebook – Medicine Hat Roast and Toast Uncensored.

This post dealt with a complaint regarding Bylaw Enforcement bringing animals into a rescue shelter. The bylaw officers were asked to PAUSE bringing these animals into the local rescue facility due to overworked and underpaid staff. This post came from the manager of that facility. In case you were unaware, this shelter just moved into a new and bigger facility to help accommodate the growing number of animals that bylaw enforcement is receiving calls on.

Now I would love to give you some context into my rant on this and why I feel I am the voice that needs to speak out. First, I was a board member with the Medicine Hat SPCA when the contract came out from the City of Medicine Hat to run pound services.

This service works with bylaw enforcement to offer a facility for those pets (cats and dogs) who escape from their yards or are left stranded due to negligence. In case you are wondering what the difference is between the Medicine Hat SPCA and APARC, the SPCA is a facility that offers services to those people who can no longer care for their pets (in other words, owner surrendered).

The local SPCA applied to take on pound services and help those pets who needed them. The City of Medicine Hat chose not to go with the SPCA and decided to renew the existing contract with APARC.

I understand that APARC receives funding from the city to run pound services. If your staff are overworked, hire more staff. If you feel your staff are underpaid, then pay them more. As a leader, if you do not have the dollars to make that happen then work toward securing more funds so your facility can run efficiently.

For example, tell the city you need more money to offer the services you said you could provide. You cannot take to social media to continuously complain about the environment you have created. If something is broken then you need to fix it. According to BambooHR, bad leadership qualities include refusing to advocate for employees’ compensation and overworked people.

I have been contacted numerous times by the public on the service or lack thereof that people and pets are receiving from APARC, and it is getting to be a lot.

When will somebody finally do something to help the pets and the staff who work with them? Cats leaving APARC that have not been spayed/neutered and no microchips. I was at Cypress View Vet Clinic today with my dog and a lady approached me to voice her concerns regarding the lack of microchipping on animals leaving APARC.

As a concerned advocate for these animals, I am outraged.

Linda Tooth is a communications instructor at Medicine Hat College

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