South Okanagan Similkameen SPCA clawing at a goal

People and pets are once again poised to step up to the plate in support of the BC SPCA through the Scotiabank Paws for the Cause walk.

Ten-year-old Payton Granston of Princeton and her dog Digby take a break at Gyro Park after finishing last year's Paws for a Cause fundraising walk.

People and pets are once again poised to step up to the plate in support of the BC SPCA through the Scotiabank Paws for the Cause walk.

This year’s fundraiser in Penticton for the South Okanagan Similkameen branch has changed from the traditional Sunday to Saturday (Sept. 12).

“By doing it on Saturday we are hoping to get more people through, not just the ones who are taking part,” said branch manager Corinne Ross. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year so it is very important to get as many people out as possible.”

This year’s goal is once again $25,000 which is about what was raised in 2014.

“The money we get from all the events is so critical to allow us to do everything from investigating animal cruelty cases to paying for medical care for injured animals which can be very expensive,” said Ross. “Along with the donations, a lot of the money comes from sponsorships, bake sales and barbecues, so every little bit, no matter how large or small, is so important.”

Last year about 80 people took part in the walk while many others donated online or just dropped off money at Gyro Park where the activities get started at 8 a.m. with registration.

The walk begins at 9 a.m. with the Penticton Fire Rescue mascot, Sparky, as he has in the past, is expected to lead the two and four-legged parade to the SS Sicamous and back.

Also scheduled at the park throughout the day will be music, coffee from Starbucks, competitions, community vendors, face painting and bouncy castle.

As well this year, the Penticton RCMP canine unit (if available) will be on hand to do demonstrations.

Each year over 30 communities throughout the province hold Paws for the Cause events.

The local branch has the largest coverage area in BC running north to Peachland, south to Osoyoos, east to Bridesville and west to Princeton. Annually it investigates about 1,200 complaints and cares for about 1,600 animals.

Through the nonprofit organization there are  also a wide range of programs provided, including kid’s clubs, cruelty prevention and various education services including an in-school curriculum.

The provincial face of this year’s walk and the winner of the SPCA animal courage award is Willow, a Siberian Husky found near death in Maple Ridge last January.

“Initial pictures showed Willow was just emanciated, she could not stand and weighed less than half a dog her age should have,” said Ross about the dog she later met. “She had been eating soil and gravel just to stay alive.”

She has since recovered and has a new home. The previous owner was identified and cruelty charges have been recommended.

For more information on the walk, to register or donate go online, spca.bc.ca/branches/south-okanagan-similkameen.

 

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