GTHS seeks buy-in for new centre

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The Georgian Triangle Humane Society’s (GTHS) building is bursting at the seams, and they are looking for help from the six municipalities they serve.

Executive director Sonya Reichel told members of Clearview Township council on Oct. 30 that the existing facility, built 25 years ago, was designed to handle about 500 pets per year. Last year they serviced more than 4,000.

Construction of a new $16-million building is slated to begin next spring with completion in late 2025 or early 2026. The GTHS is asking Clearview, along with Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Meaford, Grey Highlands and The Town of the Blue Mountains to contribute $1.5 million of the total cost. Clearview’s share would be $22,500 per year for the next 10 years. The last time the GTHS received any funding from Clearview was in 2020, when the township made a community assistance grant of $1,000 to help with operating costs for the cat program.

The GTHS is a fully accredited companion animal hospital providing basic vaccines, spay/neuter surgeries and microchipping.

Reichel says they open for appointments every three months and all available appointments fill up within the first couple of hours. She says pet owners in our community are really desperate to access veterinary care.

As well, she says, “We work with our communities to help, especially during times of economic hardship to help people keep their pets. So far this year, we have given out 20,000 pet meals, 5,000 more than at this time last year.”

In 2022, the GTHS took in 117 cats and three dogs surrendered from Clearview, as well as 54 stray dogs and cats. Thirty-one Clearview residents accessed support services such as rabies and microchip clinics. Reichel says the Humane Society functions as an augmentation of the municipality’s bylaw enforcement and animal control services.

“With the population of our region increasing rapidly, there are growing demands on our services due to an increase in the number of strays,” according to Reichel.

The current building is 6,000 square feet. The new regional centre will be 19,000 square feet, capable of sheltering twice as many pets and tripling the capacity of the vet clinics. The funding request which Reichel characterizes as a request for partnership on the capital project, will be considered as part of the township’s 2024 budget deliberations which begin this month. Reichel will be making the same presentation to each of the supporting municipalities over the next six weeks.

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