One of Atlantic Canada’s largest non-profit animal rescue shelters now has a different name.
The Greater Moncton SPCA has changed its name to People for Animal Wellbeing, or PAW.
According to the organization’s president, Christian Moger, the move was made to reflect an increased focus on community outreach.
“Over the years we’ve really evolved in what we do,” he said. “We are certainly more than just a refuge. We continue to provide all of those shelter services that people know and love, but we have also developed many other community programs.
He said the rebranding process took about two years and the cost to the organization was not made public.
The service was born out of the pandemic
According to Moger, some shows designed to be temporary during the pandemic continue to be in high demand.
With the rebrand, the organization wants to make some of these programs permanent, including pet sitting for people staying in shelters to escape domestic violence.
Moger said the confidential program helps victims who may be delaying their decision to leave an abuser because they can’t take their pets to a shelter.
“It’s a no-questions-asked situation,” he said. “We are arranging some kind of transportation and care for their pets until they are able to find a new situation for themselves.”
Pet Safe Keeping partners with organizations such as Crossroads for Women, which provides shelter and assistance to victims of domestic violence in the Moncton area.
Jamie Olsen, a crisis intake worker at Crossroads, called the program “invaluable”.
She said many abusers use pets to gain control over their partner.
“People don’t realize how connected animal abuse and domestic violence are,” Olsen said. “We have women who, if they know there is no safe place for their pet, will stay because they know something is going to happen to it.”
She said the organization is unable to accommodate most pets at this time due to space restrictions.
Olsen said more victims are asking about the program now that word is spreading.
Helps keep pets, families together
The food bank is a second program born out of the pandemic that PAW will make permanent as part of its rebranding.
It aims to keep animals with their families by providing free pet food to those in need throughout southeastern New Brunswick.
“We don’t want to be your last resort,” Moger said. “We want to be the first place you think of for help, so this is just another example of how we do it.”
He said that with the constant increase in the cost of living, this program will only grow in importance.
PAW also decided to rebrand to help the organization differentiate itself from other SPCAs in the province. Moger said it’s a common misconception that organizations are associated. He said each SPCA works independently, which can create confusion.
“There was the Greater Moncton SPCA, the New Brunswick SPCA, the Fredericton SPCA and the Saint John SPCA, all of whom do great work, but they all do different things and they all exist as independent organizations,” he said. “Rebranding really allows us to be seen as an individual organization.”
Not all SPCAs in the province are willing to change names due to potential confusion. Annette James, executive director of the Fredericton SPCA, acknowledged the challenge, but said the organization has other priorities at this time.
According to James, the Fredericton SPCA has an education plan that is partly intended to differentiate the provincial group as animal abuse law enforcement and the others as independent shelters.
She said partnership is key.
“We lean on each other,” she said. “If they have to make a seizure, it is the shelters that house these animals that come out of these situations.”
The Fredericton SPCA also offers community outreach services. Some of its programs include school education and donations to local food banks.