Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Why the Chilliwack SPCA currently has no animals available for adoption

When BC SPCA deals with large-scale intakes, adoptable pets get moved to make room for vulnerable ones

The Chilliwack SPCA has been fielding a lot of calls recently from people wondering why there are no pets for adoption at the local branch.

“The reality is, especially this branch, we are a cruelty investigation centre,” said Chilliwack SPCA branch manager Chloé MacBeth. “People will often think because there are no animals for adoption we must not be doing anything, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

For the past two weeks, staff at the Chilliwack SPCA have been busy caring for 11 dogs from a large intake where 97 animals were seized from a farm in Princeton. They were transported to several SPCA branches throughout the province, including Chilliwack.

READ MORE: 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

The animals were living in a poor environment with lack of shelter, unsanitary living conditions, overcrowding, poor ventilation and exposure to injurious objects. Many of them have parvovirus enteritis, a highly contagious virus that causes an infectious gastrointestinal illness. Some have even died.

In order for staff in Chilliwack to properly care for those sick animals, all the adoptable pets at the local shelter – from dogs to cats to rats – get transferred to other branches.

It’s like “playing a game of Tetris with these animals” to figure out where they can all go, MacBeth said.

Staffing, space and capacity is what determines that, and each branch has its own niche depending on the staff and the resources it has.

The Chilliwack branch specializes as a cruelty investigation centre, and it’s an exhausting job.

Because the local branch is under quarantine due to the parvovirus enteritis, staff need to wear full personal protective equipment whenever they come in contact with the dogs.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

On Wednesday, MacBeth geared up in a hazmat suit, gloves and hair net just to prepare and distribute treats for the canines. She then had to sanitize the entire area when she was done.

When the SPCA is dealing with a seizure like the one from Princeton, it’s a provincial collaboration. All teams, including the SPCA’s animal transportation program, animal health department, and behaviour and welfare department are just some of the groups working together to care for the neglected animals.

Even volunteers lend a hand in large-scale intakes such as interacting with the animals in shelter or fostering them at their own home. Fosters are “crucial” to the success of any kind of intake, MacBeth said.

“All of the branches pitch in so no one branch is burdened with the care of all of the animals,” she added.

So when animals from an intake come to the local branch, it’s out with the adoptable animals and in with the vulnerable ones.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, gives treats and toys to some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

But why clear out the Chilliwack SPCA cat kennels if they’re only taking in dogs from the seizure?

“It’s a matter of staffing. Our team is devoting all of their resources, all of their time and energy to supporting these animals needs.”

The animals are in need of medical treatment, they have to be shuttled to and from veterinarian appointments, and their behavioural needs need to be met. None of that can be done if they have to care for additional animals, like those up for adoption.

But folks can still adopt animals through the SPCA because while some branches are under quarantine, many are not.

When people find a pet they’d like to adopt through the BC SPCA’s website, they have the option of making an appointment and driving to that branch to adopt the animal, or get it transferred (for a fee) to a branch that’s not under quarantine. Pets cannot be transferred to a branch that’s under quarantine.

And the demand lately for adoptable pets has been high.

The pandemic has resulted in an increase in adoptions, and the average length of stay for an animal in shelter has decreased during COVID-19, MacBeth said.

(Story continues below photo)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, stands in full PPE gear at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 where 11 dogs are in quarantine. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“People are actively looking for adoptable animals rather than supporting backyard breeders.”

The pandemic has also changed how they adopt out animals.

“COVID has done some really incredible things for us. It’s really pushed us into the digital age… adoption applications online is a new thing and it’s been incredible.”

It’s also been overwhelming as there could be hundreds of applications for just one animal.

“People often think the SPCA is just adoptions or just surrenders and the reality is it’s so much more than that,” MacBeth said.

RELATED: Hoarding cats often a mental health issue: Chilliwack SPCA


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Adoptionanimal crueltyBCSPCA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, suits up in full PPE gear to see some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A sign on the door to the dog kennels at the Chilliwack SPCA on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chloé MacBeth, Chilliwack SPCA branch manager, prepares treats in toys for some of the 11 dogs in quarantine at the shelter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

The annual Rotary Christmas Parade won’t be going ahead this year as it did last year, rolling through downtown Chilliwack on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Rotary Christmas Celebration for children will replace downtown Chilliwack parade this year

Parade committee felt it ‘inappropriate’ to host Christmas parade with thousands in the stands

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read