Surrey SPCA’s Paws for a Cause event, which was scheduled for Sunday, has been cancelled after the branch was closed Thursday due to “an unidentified staff illness.”
On Wednesday, six employees at the Surrey shelter were sent home with an unknown ailment, and the branch was shut down. And without employees to help plan the Paws event, it had to be shelved.
“The news just came down early this afternoon, but yes, we’ve had to cancel,” said SPCA event co-ordinator Andrea Lewis. “We deliberated and tried to find a way to make it work, but in the end, this was just the right decision. It’s very unfortunate.”
Lewis said all participants already signed up for the Surrey event were being contacted, and encouraged to attend one of the SPCA’s other Paws for a Cause events, in Richmond, Vancouver or Port Coquitlam.
The annual event, which in Surrey was to be held at Crescent Park, aims to raise money for homeless and abused animals around the province.
Lewis said the Surrey event was not likely to be rescheduled for this year, but the local branch of the SPCA would not lose any fundraising proceeds, and many have already been collected.
“All of that money will still go to that branch,” Lewis said.
“Where we might lose some (participant and fundraisers) are the people who do the ‘day of’ registration, but hopefully they’ll go out to one of our other (locations).”
As of Thursday afternoon, Fraser Health was investigating the cause of the outbreak at the Surrey SPCA, but no conclusions had yet been made.
– with files from Kevin Diakiw