SPCA petition circulating, volunteers stepping up

Brodie Thomas
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Push starts for local animal shelter

A Searston woman is taking the first steps towards creating a SPCA for the southwest coast.

Colleen O'Gorman is a dog owner who is also an avid Facebook user. It was Facebook that tipped her off to the need for a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and Facebook that is helping her with her goal.

COlleen O'Gorman is behind the push for a southwest coast SPCA.

A Searston woman is taking the first steps towards creating a SPCA for the southwest coast.

Colleen O'Gorman is a dog owner who is also an avid Facebook user. It was Facebook that tipped her off to the need for a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and Facebook that is helping her with her goal.

"When people's animals go missing, it's all over Facebook and they don't know where to look for their pet," she said. She has also seen ads posted with people looking to find a home for unwanted pets.

Mrs. O'Gorman has launched her own Facebook site - SPCA for Southwestern Newfoundland - and is circulating a petition.

The petition is to show that community support for the project is real. She believes people are taking it seriously because many want to know who is behind the push for a new animal shelter before signing.

The nearest SPCA shelter is in Corner Brook. Stephenville has a no-kill animal shelter that has been under scrutiny for overcrowding. It is privately run and not affiliated with any SPCA or humane society.

Response on her Facebook site has been good, with 23 people putting their name forward as willing volunteers and hundreds saying they would support the creation of a local SPCA.

The Town of Port aux Basques is also throwing its support behind the idea. Councillors agreed to write a letter of support for Mrs. O'Gorman last week.

Mrs. O'Gorman said she has four people willing to serve on a board of directors with her, including Dr. Leslie Jean McGregor, who operates West Coast Veterinary Services in Maidstone, near St. David's.

Dr. McGregor said an SPCA is needed because the problem of unwanted animals exists everywhere in Canada, and the southwest coast is no exception.

As a veterinarian, Dr. McGregor has a lot of knowledge to bring to the table, but she said any future board of directors will need people from all backgrounds.

She said the eventual creation and maintenance of a shelter will take an ongoing effort from the community.

"For an SPCA truly to work, you need a very clean, open shelter. It may start small and grow, but the idea is to create an environment where people want to go in to help," she said.

Both Mrs. O'Gorman and Dr. McGregor say the SPCA will be realistic about how many animals it can accept. Euthanasia will be used as a last resort when necessary.

"Certainly we would prefer to adopt these animals out to loving homes. Our goal is to provide help to as many animals as possible. That does mean at times making decisions for euthanasia," said Dr. McGregor.

Although it is still very early, Mrs. O'Gorman thinks the shelter should probably be somewhere in the Codroy Valley. It is a central location to the south coast and the St. George's area. The valley would also provide more opportunity for a large property with room for dogs to exercise.

Mrs. O'Gorman said she wants this animal to be affiliated with other provincial SPCAs and the Humane Society. She is currently contacting other provincial animal shelters and organizations, and doing research into possible funding.

She admits it will be a very long process, but given that the idea is only a few weeks old, she is optimistic from the response she has received so far.

"The response it better than what I thought. It's a large area to get across to," said Mrs. O'Gorman.

Organizations: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, West Coast Veterinary Services, Humane Society

Geographic location: Searston, Southwestern Newfoundland, Corner Brook Port aux Basques Maidstone Canada Codroy Valley St. George's

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Recent comments

  • stephen
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    Good luck with your effort. both my dogs come from animal shelters.Well said Wayne ,owning a pet or pets is a life long commitment to any family.We care for our dogs like children,from cooking proper food to medical and dental care if needed. All pets need homes however all homes don,t need pets,especially neglectful owners.

  • sandy
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    So glad to see this step - it is long overdue for sure.
    I didn't know how great it was to have a pet, until I got my litttle dog. I really hope this shelter is built.

  • wayne
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    hopefully a SPCA for the area will also bring information to some who have a dozen pets running loose at any given time and not being looked after. having a lot of pets does not make you an animal lover. spaying and neutering not only improves a pets life but allows it to live longer and cuts down on animals that are simply abandoned or killed. i live in a small community where there are no laws about animals let loose and i see the cruelty by so called animal lovers who think the more you have the better it is.

  • Brian
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    my wife is fr codroy valley iam fr PAB it would be great to see that someone is going to take that ex step, all the BEST

  • gregory
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    go getem girl.great job everything sounds awesome.work hard and itll come.

  • Faeterri
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    I rescued a stray cat this past May in Cape Ray and am so glad I did, he is a real joy in my life both in NF and in the States. I hope that a shelter will offer periodic, inexpensive spay/neuter clinics. Thanks for your hard work. My best to you.

  • terry
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    I think a shelter for unwanted or lost animails is a great idea and long overdue. Finally someone is interested in a worthy cause. Nothing could be more heartbreaking then watching inocent animals die or suffer for no reason. Lets all get behind this idea and make it work.

  • April
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    I think that this is the best idea I have heard yet for a long time. I see so many animals left outside by thier owners in minus temperatures and it should not be allowed. How would they feel if they were left outside with their feet frozen from the cold ground underneath them. These people should NOT be allowed to have pets if they dont know how to take care of them properly. I mean it isnt that hard to care for a pet...is it??