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New Richmond animal shelter opens doors to public

Richmond residents will get to check out the BC SPCA's rebuilt facility - called the Richmond Community Animal Shelter - on No. 5 Road this weekend.

Richmondites will finally get to check out the BC SPCA's rebuilt animal shelter on No. 5 Road, south of Steveston Highway, this weekend.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie, local politicians, and community members attended the opening ceremony of the Richmond Community Animal Shelter today, along with their furry companions.

"We know that many animals are more than just pets to people, so it is essential that we have a safe and comforting environment for animals while we seek to rehome them. This new shelter achieves that," said Brodie, as his dog Sophie eagerly tried to join him on stage.

The shelter was previously run by the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS), before BC SPCA took over last year. The city began the $5.6 million rebuild and expansion in 2021.

According to city spokesperson Clay Adams, the total cost of the project was $5.6 million, which came to around 30 per cent under the initial $8 million budget.

The design of the shelter aims to minimize the stress on animals during their temporary stay, and it can house up to 17 dogs, 40 cats, and some small domestic animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. At one point, the Richmond shelter had even hosted a ferret.

The new shelter is 6,180 square feet, which is 1,600 square feet larger than before. It boasts best practice features including isolation areas for sick and injured animals, separate housing areas for animals with behaviour concerns, and an outdoor fenced area for farm animals.

Other highlights of the building include heated floors within kennels, Solatube lighting that ensures sunlight in kennels, and hygienic drain and cleaning systems.

A multipurpose room can also be found in the shelter, and BC SPCA is planning to coordinate community programs starting next year. A public art project is in the works as well, and city council recently reviewed the budget for the project.

The new building also features artwork by students at Westwind Elementary and Burnett Secondary. The theme of the artwork is Furever Home, and speaks to BC SPCA's efforts to "find safe and loving forever homes for dogs, cats and other small domestic animals" living at the shelter, reads the press release.

Members of the community are invited to the shelter's community open house on Saturday, July 23, where they will get to tour the facility (face masks required) and enjoy entertainment and food. A donation of wet food or treats, or new or gently used toys for dogs and cats is encouraged.

The shelter is at 12071 No. 5 Road and the open house will run from noon to 4 p.m.