Stray dogs in Pitt Meadows will have a home, albeit one that is located outside the city.
The City of Pitt Meadows announced a five-year agreement with the Coquitlam Animal Shelter on Monday that will see the Tri-Cities facility house stray dogs that are found within Pitt Meadows.
“Pets are an important part of [the] family,” stated Mayor Nicole MacDonald in a press release. “Council is pleased that Pitt Meadows animal shelter services will be provided by a well established municipally operated shelter that also services neighbouring communities.”
Pitt Meadows has never had their own animal shelter, said Diane Chamberlain, the city’s director of parks, recreation, and culture.
The city — along with the City of Port Coquitlam — had a deal to send their stray animals to Countryside Kennels in Port Coquitlam. But the owner of Countryside Kennel decided to stop servicing large municipalities last year, ending the contract for both cities in early 2022.
The decision left Pitt Meadows without a kennel for the majority of 2022 and 2023.
After Port Coquitlam agreed to send their stray animals to the Coquitlam Animal Shelter in 2022, Pitt Meadows looked into the possibility of transporting their abandoned pets to Coquitlam too.
“They run a great kennel there,” Chamberlain said. “Their staff are very compassionate and we wanted to work with them.”
The Coquitlam Animal Shelter will officially provide service to Pitt Meadows on Aug. 28.
In the meantime, Chamberlain said, Countryside Kennel has temporarily agreed to house stray pets in Pitt Meadows for the summer. The temporary deal is set to expire at the end of August.
Pitt Meadows sees an average of 10 stray dogs per year, Chamberlain said, and most are reconnected to their owners by residents who use social media apps such as Facebook.
“We’ve got lots of community Facebook pages,” she said. “It’s quite a small community, so people tend to find owners themselves before taking a dog to a kennel.”
However, if a pet is not found by a resident, Pitt Meadows bylaw staff will pick up the dog and transport it to the Coquitlam Animal Shelter.
“They’ve been through dog training, so they can pick up strays and take them to the kennel,” Chamberlain said.
Pitt Meadows will be responsible for the expenses that are related to their animals in the Coquitlam shelter, wrote Coquitlam’s animal services manager Aaron Hilgerdenaar in an email to the Tri-Cities Dispatch.
Residents will also be allowed to take strays in Pitt Meadows to the Coquitlam kennel.
“Often [residents] say, ‘Can I just keep the dog until the owner is found?’” Chamberlain said.
“That’s the best situation, ideally, because the dogs don’t have to go through that stress.”