Burns Lake to fund animal society 

This is the first time that council approved funding to the organization 

Burns Lake council has approved a $2500 funding request by the Lakes Animal Friendship Society (LAFS) for its spay/neuter programs.

Although the village has provided in-kind support to LAFS in the past, this was the first time that council approved funding to the organization since it was established in 2011. Last year’s request of $7500 was denied.

Lakes Animal Friendship Society director Alistair Schroff said LAFS salutes council’s decision.

“Now there is even more reason for Burns Lake to say it is an active partner in building a community of care,” he said.

According to Schroff, the details for program delivery are still being finalized.

“I can say that for the portion of the program funded by the village, it would be applicable to low-income individuals in the village animal control bylaw enforcement area,” he explained.

The bylaw enforcement area includes the village plus adjacent reserves of the Burns Lake Band and Lake Babine Nation. The funding will be used to spay or neuter dogs only.

“It is expected that the majority of the animals under the village-funded program will be spayed or neutered by our partners at the Burns Lake Veterinary Clinic,” he continued. “Canadian Animal Assistance Team delivered spaying and neutering services on-reserve in our previous five community animal care events; we are still working toward some on-reserve services to help remove barriers for people who need help.”

According to Schroff, LAFS has been saving the village thousands of dollars each year with its programs.

“Average animal control costs for the village were about $10,600 per year from 2006 to 2010,” he said. “Since our programs started in 2011, the animal control costs have dropped to about $2500 per year.”

“So we are talking about over $8000 in annual savings,” he continued. “The accumulated savings to date are about $48,000, which is not a small amount; this money has been made available for other valuable village projects.”

Schroff now hopes the $2500 funding won’t be a one-time commitment.

“We hope that this becomes an ongoing annual commitment because it will help preserve the current benefits,” he said. “Our community is a much better, safer and healthier place and we’d like to keep it that way.”

Schroff added that this funding provides only a portion of what LAFS needs to serve the Burns Lake area.

“The donations and grants we receive from other sources help with our dog bite safety education, dog house project, pet food for the food bank and spay/neuter assistance for animals outside the village.”

If council had chosen not to support LAFS, Schroff said the organization wouldn’t be able to continue providing its programs for much longer, and that the $8000 per year savings would likely be lost within the next three years.

The Lakes Animal Friendship Society is run by volunteers with no paid staff. All funding and donations received are used to help animals in the community.