Yukon’s dumping ground

There’s a small building in the Marwell area that is well known and strongly supported by Yukoners and many local businesses.

There’s a small building in the Marwell area that is well known and strongly supported by Yukoners and many local businesses. Unfortunately the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse appear to view the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter (MBAS) as just a place where stray and sick animals can be dumped without charge.

The city has an agreement with the MBAS to take unclaimed animals. Many attempts to encourage bylaw to keep their kennels clean have failed. The MBAS is still receiving sick animals. The city does not contribute any funding to the shelter assist in the care of these animals.

Yes, the city reduced the shelter’s taxes and leases land to the shelter. When you compare the cost of vet care for sick animals, the city is definitely getting a bargain. If the shelter does not accept these animals, bylaw’s response is euthanasia.

The Yukon government contributes $79,500 towards the cost of maintaining the shelter yearly. With the implementation of its new animal surrender program, YG places many community dogs at the shelter, some of which are sick or injured. The original agreement was that YG would support additional costs. This was quickly reversed by YG and the shelter is required to absorb vet and maintenance costs. Efforts to increase funding from YG have been brushed aside by the Animal Health Unit. YG’s response to the shelter not being able to accept these dogs is also euthanasia.

Two patterns emerge here. The city and YG derive positive publicity from their association with the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter while providing insufficient funding or none at all. The bulk of the responsibility still falls on the shelter to care for Yukon animals while the YG and the city credit themselves for better animal control.

The second pattern is the city and YG’s strategy if the shelter did not exist. Is euthanasia the only future for Yukon cats and dogs?

Humane Society Yukon is expected to raise over $300,000 yearly to provide animal care. The average wage at the shelter is $13 per hour. To earn this, staff must contend with an ongoing barrage of feces, urine, vomit, and possible animal attacks while maintaining a high standard of care. They may be asked to work long hours and sanitize every corner of the building, inside and out to keep parvo, coccidian, and respiratory infections at bay.

Yukoners and local Yukon businesses are the real heroes when it comes to keeping the shelter alive. However, as building maintenance costs go up, food and vet bills increase and the city and YG refuse to provide or increase funding, the situation becomes more critical each year.

So a heads up to the city and YG. Don’t wait until there is no shelter to realize the impact on Yukon. Euthanasia is not the answer. Start pulling your weight and stop dumping your responsibility on a small non-profit group.

Linda Priestley

Whitehorse

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