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Coaldale PAWS terms of reference approved

Posted on January 18, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

A local pet wellness committee is moving towards becoming an official society.

During their regular Jan. 8 meeting, Coaldale town council met with a representative from the Coaldale & Regional Pet & Animal Wellness (PAWS) Committee to discuss their Terms of Reference. Coun. Jordan Sailor was absent from the meeting.

The PAWS committee was established by the Animal Wellness Committee of Coaldale in 2023 to develop and maintain the Coaldale & Regional Pet and Animal Wellness (PAW) Society. Their first meeting was held in July 2023, and they had sent documents to register as a society earlier this month, a process that will take a couple of months. A Facebook page has also been created.

Kevin Bandelow, PAWS President, said in the short term they are finalizing their business plan, facilitating events, raising awareness, bringing in volunteers and are looking to fundraise. However, he noted that until their society registration is complete, they can not accept donations. While that does hinder their efforts, they are looking at other avenues such as selling hoodies. In the long term, PAWS is looking for a facility to house and process dogs.

Looking over the Terms of Reference, Coun. Bill Chapman noted that they may want to look into Criminal Record Checks for society members and volunteers. Bandelow said that is a requirement already, and they were “just drafting” their volunteer form and a letter for that form they can take to their local RCMP detachment for a background check.

Chapman asked how they were handling their animals. Bandelow said they were only handling dogs “at this point in time”.

“I understand that there is a challenge with cats – we’ve seen it on the Facebook page – but we really need to focus on the dogs to get up and running at this point,” said Bandelow. “We don’t have any facility at this point in town, at the time. My understanding is if there is a situation where a dog needs to be placed, a lot of the time it’s being fostered… even when we take a look at our region, one of our executives is a peace officer out in Raymond, they’re doing the same thing. We’re reaching out to other facilities.”

The Town of Taber and PAW Society of Taber can sometimes take some, but the City of Lethbridge won’t take in any dogs. While there are other facilities that will, Bandelow said it’s a “challenge right now”.

Council unanimously passed a motion to approve the Terms of References for the Coaldale & Regional PAWS Committee.

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