The City of Montreal announced on Aug. 28 that it has allocated $23 million to build an animal centre and an urban farm in Angrignon Park in the Sud-Ouest borough.
The new animal shelter will be up and running by 2016, using an annual budget of $8.8 million to provide public animal control services based on “best practices.”
The animal shelter will be built in the current parking lot next to the Quartier d’hiver building, vacant since the City closed the little Angrignon farm in 2008. The building will also be upgraded and a new urban farm is slated to open in the park by 2017.
The animal centre will provide care and shelter for all stray and abandoned animals. It will help find new homes for unclaimed domestic animals and locate the owners of lost pets.
Animal control services include capturing and transporting abandoned pets, seized animals and wounded wild animals.
Veterinarian services are provided and basic needs are met in terms of water, food and medical treatments. Animals are prepared for adoption and euthanized when necessary.
The shelter’s goals include reducing the number of euthanized and abandoned pets, doubling the number of registered animals in Montreal, increasing the number of pets adopted from animal shelters, and increasing the number of sterilized adult cats in Montreal to reach the 95% average in Quebec.
The management of the facility will be awarded by contract to a non-profit organization through a call for tender process.
Currently, animal control is a decentralized service in Montreal and is contracted out by the boroughs. The CDN-NDG borough has a two-year contract with the not-for-profit Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), renewed last June for $125,880, but 10 boroughs are still dealing with the Berger
Blanc, a private business.
Despite the new facility’s mandate to fight against pet overpopulation through education and increasing animal welfare awareness, the problem of stray cats and abandoned animals will persist.
In an interview before the announcement, Dr. Ingrid Hings, member of the group Action pour un service animalier public, said that there is still much improvement needed at the municipal level.
The City presented a template of regulations and sent it to the boroughs for adoption. The borough doesn’t regulate the number of unsterilized animals one can have.
“The root of the problem is overpopulation - if you don’t control breeding, if you don’t provide access to spay and neuter services, and if you don’t regulate the number of unsterilized animals, you’re just chasing the problem, you’re never going to get on top of it,” she said.
“You need to offer spay and neuter services to low income people. It’s part education, but you also have to provide the service,” she points out.
“This is the third year in the row that Quebec is the worst province for mistreatment of animals based on the rankings done by an international organization based in San Francisco,” she notes.