Montreal is officially getting a brand new animal shelter.
The new facility has been approved by city council and will be built in the east end over the next few years at a cost of nearly $160 million. It will be run by Proanima, a South Shore-based animal shelter.
“We’re really happy that we have Proanima that has decided to grow and to serve the island of Montreal,” said Maja Vodanovic, Montreal Executive Committee member responsible for animal welfare.
Proanima has been awarded a 10-year $158-million contract from the city of Montreal to create and manage the long awaited new shelter in the east end.
It will have space for 7,000 animals.
“The shelter we’re thinking of building is based on the best standards that we’re seeing in North America,” explained Dr. Vincent Paradis, Proanima animal care director.
Vodanovic explained that the city has a legal obligation to manage animals on its territory.
“We cannot have animals that roam on the roads. We have to take care of animals that are abandoned,” she said.
Half of Montreal homes have a pet. About 11,500 animals are abandoned each year and that number is on the rise.
Up until now, much of the responsibility has fallen on the SPCA, which gets a big portion of its funding from donations.
“This is good news, because right now we’re taking care of the responsibility of the city, and we want them to take the ownership of that responsibility and take care of their animals,” said SPCA Montreal director-general Laurence Massé.
With the new Proanima-run shelter taking on the city’s obligations, the SPCA will have much more room in its shelter, and the time to offer other services.
They’ll be able to spend more time on animal neglect cases, for example.
Like the SPCA, the new shelter will euthanize about nine per cent of the animals it takes in.
Proanima says that puts it in the no-kill category, and that it will only euthanize when absolutely necessary.
“The euthanasia that we’re doing is for the welfare of the animal only,” said Paradis.
The city’s ultimate goal is to create a similar new shelter in the west end down the line.
“The west is actually now pretty well served because we’ve always had the SPCA and on the West Island per se, there’s not a lot of abandonment,” said Vodanovic.
The search now begins for a suitable location for the new shelter somewhere in the East End. The new building should be ready by 2026 but won’t be fully operational by at least 2027.