Fundraising superstar Annie Wile and SPCA manager Candace Buchamer. The funds will go towards helping the 31 animals in care.Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 09:44 Jun 05, 2022

By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The North Peace SPCA got a $12,100 boost in donations this week, thanks to the generosity of the community and the determination of a concerned citizen.  

Annie Wile, a long-time Fort St. John resident met with SPCA manager Candace Buchamer yesterday afternoon to deliver the good news in person. Wile started fundraising in April and was blown away by the community support.   

“It’s all because of the community. What they worry about most are the animals,” said Wile.  

It’s the fourth time that Wile’s spearheaded fundraising for the SPCA, collecting funds three prior times for the non-profit, totaling $38,000 over the years.   

“It shows the power that one person can have, when there’s emotion and dedication behind something. It has more effect than just a mail-out coming from a provincial office something, so this is absolutely outstanding,” said Buchamer. 

Buchamer said the donation came at a critical time – their shelter and main office has been closed for four months and counting, after the discovery of structural integrity issues forced them to shutter their doors.  

“It’s not been easy for the staff or myself to not be there,” she said. “It was something that started with annual inspections, we do inspections to make sure that we’re meeting standards for animal care, as well as being able to ensure the safety of people, the volunteers.”  

“We had to move out all of the animals that were in our care, and I was there until 11 o’clock the day we got the news, prepping the animals, finding homes,” added Buchamer. “We don’t want to have animals in there at risk, if something does happen and the building fails.” 

That hasn’t meant that the SPCA has stopped their work, they continue to operate out of homes in the community, relying on fosters to take in litters of kittens, pups, and other animals in need. 31 animals remain in care.  

It’s been a difficult time, said Buchamer, who’s looking for an alternative space to lease while the building issues are sorted out – a search which has yet to yield any results, as few places fit the bill for their needs and zoning requirements.  

“I know the public obviously has concerns as well, and I know it’s confusing for them,” added Buchamer, who says it’s been heartbreaking to answer calls from residents with animals in need, and not be able to help them.  

She’s also been pulling double duty, taking on the role as the manager for the South Peace SPCA in addition to her responsibilities here. This often results in 13-hour days, and a lot of driving back and forth to Dawson Creek.  

An avid animal lover, Wile saw the struggles of the SPCA and wanted help anyway she could. Over 80 community members donated to the cause, following a hot dog sale fundraiser at Bert Ambrose Elementary.  

Buchamer said help of any kind goes a long way, and fosters are still needed, especially for cats. Donations of food, litter, and other items are also welcome.  

“It’s very heartwarming to have people like Annie, and the very many people who came forward to get this amount, who still believe in what we’re doing and know that we’re still there doing stuff for the animals,” she said.  

Buchamer added that anyone looking to get in touch with the SPCA should be patient, as they’re too busy to be able to monitor their phone, but if you leave a message, staff and volunteers will return any calls. You can give them a call at 250-785-7722 or find them on social media. 

This item reprinted with permission from Alaska Highway News, Fort St. John, British Columbia