ERIN – Ace and his brother Sammy are safe to chase toys around and soak up the rays of sun streaming through the window of a cat adoption room at the Upper Credit Humane Society for years to come, if need be.
The hope, of course, is to see the pair adopted much sooner than that, but thanks to another extension on the humane society’s lease with the Town of Erin, the cats — along with another 41 felines, dogs and rabbits — are safe and sound.
The Upper Credit Humane Society (UCHS) has been searching for another location after a lease on the town’s building at 5383 Trafalgar Road expired in 2021.
The town extended the lease until 2024 to bide time for the society to find somewhere else to go, but UCHS chair Lisa Pietras told the Advertiser staff were unable to find a suitable location with appropriate zoning after a 10-month search.
“We’re still looking for a new location,” Pietras said, adding “we really just need more time.”
Since the society’s 1991 beginnings as a branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the organization has helped save and “re-home” thousands of animals in Wellington County and surrounding municipalities.
It also recently began accepting animals seized by provincial Animal Welfare Services officers.
The UCHS moved into the Trafalgar Road location in 2002, and the recent renewal means it can stay until 2028.
“The agreement between the Town of Erin and UCHS is a reflection of our shared values and commitment to making a positive impact in the community,” Erin Mayor Michael Dehn stated in a press release.
The May 10 release stated the UCHS contributes significantly “to the well-being of countless animals, and [Erin] is proud to support their work.”
The town has been “gracious” and “supportive,” Pietras said, but if UCHS officials cannot scope out a location in the next 12 to 18 months within Erin, they will have to set their sights on Halton Hills.
“In that time we’re hoping to find a piece of property and be able to build a new shelter on it, in the area,” Pietras said.
The UCHS is currently in a 3,000-square-foot building that can shelter 80 cats, eight dogs, and less than 10 smaller animals, but space can be tight and the organization hopes to find a 5,000-square-foot building, or a property where a building that size can be constructed.
“I am optimistic about finding somewhere because we’re going to go more to the community for this now,” Pietras explained.
Officials are calling on anyone in the community with space to spare — especially those with rural land who are willing to sever a parcel and donate it to the society — but are also open to long-term lease agreements.
“People think we’re always going to be there,” Pietras said.
But she wants the community to know that without someone coming forward to donate a building or land, the humane society will have to leave town.
The UCHS has also started a relocation fund so it can move on plans if a new location becomes available. According to Pietras, there’s just under $25,000 in the bank so far.
The charity is looking to raise significantly more, especially if a building needs to be built, and in early October will host a silent auction and dinner fundraiser.
Interested in donating? Visit uppercredit.com/donate/make-a-donation/.