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Shelter gets a second chance

Following a closure of over two months, Nelson’s Second Chance shelter has a new director and is accepting animals again.
Brianne Stevenson is the new director of the Second Chance animal shelter

Following a closure of over two months, Nelson’s Second Chance shelter has a new director and is accepting animals again.

Board member Andrew Jones says they’re getting over a rough patch that saw the unhappy departure of a former director and the loss of their adoption records.

“In the interim, the shelter was closed,” he says. “It’s sort of fallen off public consciousness.”

Jones, who helped establish the shelter in a building he owns across from Nelson Animal Hospital on Ymir Road, says a new board is in place but the shelter’s finances remain precarious.

“There’s very little money left. They’re at the point of either getting more donations or potentially closing.”

Jones says when the shelter first started, it was one of the few in the province that had the space and means to accept animals for extended periods — however long it took to adopt them.

“The whole mission was that a healthy animal was not going to be euthanized,” he says. Maintaining that philosophy cost a fair bit, although he only charged minimal rent. Adoption fees covered discounted vet bills, but otherwise the shelter relied on donations to pay a director and keep the animals cleaned and fed.

During the closure no new animals were accepted, although volunteers from the clinic next door looked after the nine remaining cats and continue to help out.

Jones says while it’s amazing to have three agencies dealing with animal adoptions in Nelson — the SPCA and Kootenay Animal Assistance Program are the others — it’s surprising and distressing how many animals continue to keep them busy.

New director Brianne Stevenson started at the beginning of February, leaving a corporate job with Shaw Communications in Calgary to come here.

“I was looking to move to this area because I own a house in Kaslo,” she says.

For about the past three years she volunteered with Misty Creek Dog Rescue, co-ordinating foster homes and adoptions, screening applications, and helping maintain the shelter.

Since being hired at Second Chance, she’s been re-establishing information and contacts on animals, donors, and adoptions — all of which vanished. Seven kittens, two cats, and one dog recently arrived, although she has since found homes for four kittens and one cat.

The shelter itself has been cleaned up and painted. “It looks really good now,” she says. “Before it was a bit crowded and smelly. Now it’s quite nice to walk in here.”

Although they have been open for over a month, it’s taking time for word to get out.

“A lot of people were used to the fact we were closed. We’ve been trying to do some advertising. It’s extremely important, especially since we’re in a financial strain. Being closed the last few months, there has been no fundraising. We need to do some catch-up.”

The shelter’s hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. They’re closed Sundays and Mondays. They can be reached at 250-352-2228.