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Montreal parts ways with SPCA for animal control, contract handed to Proanima

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The City of Montreal has decided to fade out its animal control contract with the SPCA, opting for a South Shore-based non-profit shelter that plans to build two facilities in the city.

The Humane Society will soon stop picking up stray and abandoned animals, which, it says, is a mutually agreed-upon decision.

"Basically, it was part of our belief that we needed to get closer to our initial mission, that is really to defend and protect the animals," said SPCA director Laurence Masse.

The city has now signed a $158-million contract over 10 years with Boucherville-based Proanima, which provides animal control to 13 South Shore municipalities. That contract means Montreal will pay $17.2 million per year, which is in line with spending for animal control for other Canadian cities.

Proanima has the equivalent of three full-time vets for its entire operation.

Montreal said it's bound by law to provide animal control and felt it was wrong to rely on the SPCA, which runs on donations. 

The city is also facing a 64 per cent increase in animal rescues in recent years.

"We have to take care of animals that are abandoned, that are on the roads, we have to take care of animals that are not sterilized, [and] we have a huge increase of cats. We have to tackle that problem," said Montreal executive committee member Maja Vodanovic.

The move also means that the city's boroughs will sever most of their ties with Berger-Blanc, a for-profit pound that was often criticized by animal rights activists for its high euthanasia rate.

Proanima said its rate is below 10 per cent.

"In the domain, we talk about no-kill shelter at about 90 [per cent] life saving, so that's about what we're doing, or just a little more," said Proanima vet Dr. Vincent Paradis.

Proanima is currently looking for a shelter location in the east of the city. That shelter is expected to open in 2026.

A second shelter will then be built in the city's west end. The SPCA will continue to receive stray or abandoned animals until then. 

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