Sonny enjoys an gentle scratch behind the ear

Education takes centre stage for BC SPCA in Cloverdale

The new BC SPCA Education and Adoption Centre has opened, helping overpopulated and small pets find new homes, and more.

The BC SPCA’s new Surrey Education and Adoption Centre in Cloverdale opened its doors March 1 and already a dozen cats have found new homes, along with two puppies, a couple of hamsters and one guinea pig.

Guinea pigs make great pets for newbie pet owners and families with young kids, according to branch manager Rodney Weleschuk, because they’re active during the day (unlike hamsters), and relatively straight-forward to care for.

Rabbits, on the other hand, may require more patience. He should know – he has four rabbits of his own at home.

To Weleschuk, the adoptions are a welcome sign that the new centre is already having an impact when it comes to reducing the number of unwanted and overpopulated Surrey pets winding up at a shelter – or roaming at large.

Surrey is home to thousands of feral cats – domestic cats that have been abandoned and are able to breed unchecked.

People abandoning their cats in rental accommodations is also a major problem.

“All these poor landlords get stuck with these cats,” he said, explaining a lack of adequate financial resources makes it impossible for people to afford to spay or neuter their pets – or pay a vet’s bill when their pets become unwell.

The BC SPCA’s Surrey branch no longer takes in strays or abandoned pets. After the City of Surrey ended its kenneling contract with the BC SPCA last year, the shelter on 152 Street near 67 Avenue closed down.

The new education and adoption centre is located on 5.5 acres the society purchased at 16748 50 Avenue in Cloverdale. And fortunately for Cloverdale residents, the Surrey Animal Resource Centre at 17944 Colebrook Road, which quietly opened last August, is nearby, making referrals for strays a snap.

Weleschuk said the BC SPCA’s education and adoption centre complements what the city shelter does by fast-tracking the adoption process for overpopulated pets, like cats, rabbits and other small animals.

“The Surrey Resource Centre is our friend,” Weleschuk said. “We’re even going to transfer animals from there to here.” Cloverdale, the BC SPCA will be working on solutions that prevent animals from winding up in shelters in the first place – spearheading public education programs, liaising with animal rescue groups, and launching a spay/neuter sponsorship program for animals waiting to find new homes, bringing the cost of adoptions down.

[Meet Buns – Jennifer Lang photo]

The storefront and adoption centre is already up and running, and the property is home to the society’s cruelty investigations staff.

Future plans include adding a chicken coop, bunny patch and veggie garden, along with paddocks for housing cattle seized during investigations.

This summer, the rural Cloverdale property will host the BC SPCA’s children’s day camps – an important outreach tool for education.

On a recent tour of the education and adoption centre, a bunch of cuddly critters awaited forever homes.

Patches is a mature male tabby who needed oral surgery – an expensive, but compassionate move, paid for through the generosity of a local donor.

Then there’s Sonny, a kitty who is fond of a gentle scratch behind the ears.

Weleschuk said the number of cats will be capped at eight – making the field of feline adoption candidates less daunting to a potential pet owner.

“When you have 40 cats, it’s like going into a superstore,” he said.

Buns is a silky black rabbit who is a bit of an escape artist. And Sam is a friendly, cream-coloured rat who loves to hang out with people. Twinkle and Star are a pair of baby mice looking for new homes, and there are several budgies chirping happily by the front window who are available for adoption.

[Sam likes to hang out with people]

The centre sells everything a new pet-owner will need, from stainless steel food bowls and chew toys to hamster habitats and bedding. “Exhibit A” is a fully-equipped hamster kit, complete with exercise wheel and food pellets.

“The whole idea is to make this a one-stop adoption centre,” Weleschuk said. One less stop on the drive home puts less stress on the animal.

Proceeds from retail sales will go towards helping more animals, he added, explaining the B.C. SPCA receives no significant funding from government.

A team of volunteers will be recruited to help run the centre. Applications are available online. Interested applicants will then be invited to an information session and undergo a criminal record check.

The BC SPCA Surrey Education and Adoption Centre is open noon to 5:30 p.m. daily, and from 2 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jeremiah Salahub, 41, (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Surrey RCMP looking for man reported missing in Newton

Jeremiah Salahub, 41, was last seen 3 p.m. Oct. 21, at 72 Avenue and King George Boulevard

Participants in the annual Ride For Refuge charity event bike in front of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen Oct. 3. The event raised $15,000. (Photo submitted: Beverly Rennicks)
Participants raise more than $15,000 in local Ride for Refuge

Cloverdale Community Kitchen raised $5,000 more than last year

Police investigating multiple stabbing at a Newton townhouse on Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Man charged with murder, aggravated assault in Newton townhouse stabbings

Harpreet Singh is to appear in Surrey provincial court on Oct. 29

(Delta Police Department photo)
Police investigating indecent acts in North Delta park

Police received two separate reports of a man masturbating near the Mackie Library on Oct. 21

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

The Vancouver Canucks and Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen have agreed to a two-year deal with an average annual salary of $2.55 million. (@Canucks Twitter photo)
Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks agree to two-year deal

Two sides avoid arbitration, Virtanen will receive average annual salary of $2.55 million

Most Read