The West Kootenay SPCA branch in Castlegar has changed its operations due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Branch manager Danielle Jackman said one change has been limiting the number of animals being cared for at the facility.
“We’ve tried to keep our overall animal capacity at around 60 per cent,” said Jackman. “If some staff do get sick, that still gives us the ability to manage all our animals.”
Jackman said the branch has closed to the public and is doing adoptions and emergency surrenders by appointment only. Procedures, she said, have also been adjusted for visitors with appointments.
“When people come in, we immediately have them use our hand sanitizer. We also have a taped up area on the floor so people know where to stand until they’re assisted by a staff member,” said Jackman.
“We then implement the social distancing measures of six feet while we walk the person into the individual rooms to see the animals. Once they leave, we wipe down all areas that were exposed from the person.”
Jackman said they have safety protocols posted on their front door, one of which includes the stipulation that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms won’t be allowed in.
Jackman said the branch has also moved its animal care programs online during the crisis.
“Since we’re unable to have our spring and summer camps in-house now, we’ve developed materials for students to be able to do it online from home. We’ve even offered it as a free service,” said Jackman.
“We’ve also reached out to schools in the district to provide students with curriculum to learn at home. It teaches them about animal care and overall humane education.”
You can donate to the branch by dropping money off in a bin outside the facility or by going online.
The West Kootenay SPCA branch is open by appointment only from noon to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The branch’s phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the same days.
The BC SPCA Nelson branch has also temporarily closed to the public and is open by appointment only.