Yukon humane society buoyed by donations, response at public meeting

Humane Society Yukon says it's been able to pay some of its outstanding vet bills thanks to donations that keep pouring in from the community.

That includes more than $28,000 raised through an online campaign and an anonymous $19,000 donation from a "gold miner."

"We were very happy," said Kate Dawson, society president, about the surprise donation.  

The humane society held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the future of the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.

Earlier this month, the society announced that the animal shelter it operates in Whitehorse might have to close due to escalating debt and no money to care for animals and staff wages. 

Dawson said a financial review of the society this year revealed their shaky financial footing.

"That's when we had the big surprise — either ignorance or lack of management or too much hope that the fundraisers that we were doing would supply us with the means — but it turned out that ... we were lacking in funds in order to continue." 

Dave Croft/CBC News

Dawson said about 75 people attended Tuesday evening's meeting and 16 people put their names forward to be on the board. 

"That was amazing," she said.

Dawson said the current board welcomes a new board to step forward. 

"No resistance — please come," she said. "We needed to have fresh blood on the board."

Dawson said she hopes there will be a meeting before the end of the year to vote in a new board. 

Shelter expansion proposed

Dawson said one idea that has come forward to assist with the sustainability of the shelter is to expand it in collaboration with the City of Whitehorse. 

The city said in June it was considering shutting down its animal shelter on Quartz Road, where animals are kept after being picked up by bylaw officers. It said its shelter does not conform to Canadian Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines and said it was possible that stray pets could instead be kept at Mae Bachur.

Dave Croft/CBC