Dean Orlando visited the policies and priorities committee to discuss that plan.
His vision is a facility that can handle small and large animals that are injured, abandoned or given up for adoption. It would also provide a place for people seeking volunteer opportunities and a space for public education programs.
“There really is no full-time animal shelter in the area. There’s the Red Deer shelter, there’s the Cochrane Humane Society and there’s Calgary. There’s really no animal shelter per se that serves this area,” Orlando said.
He said that building a shelter within two to five years is realistic. If they can secure the land, the society could set up modular buildings and operate while continuing its capital campaign for the permanent shelter.
Orlando has been president for the past year and served as treasurer for two years prior.
He was also the past treasurer for the Cochrane Humane Society and served on the finance committee for the Ottawa Humane Society.
Animals are his passion but he works as an accountant.
“I just love animals. At one point, we had three dogs and you wish they could live as long as you do. My wife has a horse. I grew up with animals, my little daughter loves them and it’s something you learn to appreciate. I came from an agricultural and rural background as well,” he said.
At one point, Orlando considered becoming a veterinarian “but I think I love numbers and taxes a little bit more, as scary as that sounds,” he said, laughing.
As a numbers person, Orlando says animal shelters can be economic engines.
He uses the shelter in Cochrane as an example, which he said created 14 full-time jobs, from in-house vets, to administration and accounting. The proposed shelter would also house a small pet supply store.
The Wild Rose Humane Society was started in Airdrie and incorporated in 2008. Some of its services also include providing subsidies for low-income families to spay and neuter pets as well as public education programs on animal safety.
Orlando said they are seeking volunteers and board members. For more information, visit www.wildrosehumane.ca
“There really is no full-time animal shelter in the area. There’s the Red Deer shelter, there’s the Cochrane Humane Society and there’s Calgary. There’s really no animal shelter per se that serves this area.” DEAN ORLANDO, president