Humane society aims to shelter livestock

The Yukon Humane Society wants to establish a new shelter for abused and neglected livestock. To get it started is going to require more than $800,000.

The Yukon Humane Society wants to establish a new shelter for abused and neglected livestock.

To get it started is going to require more than $800,000.

That price tag includes $350,000 to build a barn to house the animals and $500,000 a year for operations and maintenance.

To operate the existing Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse only costs $400,000 a year.

Keeping livestock is simply more costly, said Shelley Cuthbert, vice president of the Yukon Humane Society.

“It comes down to the feeding, the vet care, trying to get them re-homed, the operations of the building itself and having staff out there,” said Cuthbert.

The barn the society hopes to build would have 10 stalls for horses, cows, sheep and other livestock. There would also be room for some of the dogs currently kept in isolation at the existing shelter.

“We’ll have an additional 10 kennels to take in some of that overflow that we’ve been experiencing,” said Cuthbert.

It might be costly but there is a demand and a need, she said.

Since August, the Humane Society has received 10 calls from people worried about livestock they said was abused or neglected.

“We believe, based on the amount of calls we received and the information we have, that there is definitely a need for it,” said Cuthbert. “We have not been able to come across any other place in town that will take livestock on a rescue basis and try and re-home them.”

While there are people who will take them for the short term, the society’s goal is to have a more stable environment, she said.

Yukon Horse and Rider Association president Heidi Neufeld said the proposal “seems a little extreme.”

Resources could be better spent setting up temporary shelters or simply sending them south, she said.

It shouldn’t be hard finding a place for needy livestock in the Yukon, Neufeld added.

“If they just paid for the feed, people will take animals in,” she said. “I would. People will step up and help if they’re needed.”

Right now the livestock rescue program is still in the initial stages of development.

The Humane Society is currently negotiating a land deal and looking at options to secure the funding that would be needed.

“We have a very sound proposal,” said Cuthbert “If we believed that we couldn’t maintain this, we would not even start looking at this.”

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

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