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BARS in danger of closing

If major changes don’t happen before June 30, the Barrhead Animal Rescue Society may have to close its doors to animals in distress. BARS has been rescuing animals and adopting them out to loving homes for more than a year.

If major changes don’t happen before June 30, the Barrhead Animal Rescue Society may have to close its doors to animals in distress.

BARS has been rescuing animals and adopting them out to loving homes for more than a year. Terry Colborne assumed the duties of president since Day 1, and is the person responsible for BARS being a reality.

For years, he had questioned the lack of an animal shelter in the area, and then dove head first into the start-up of what is now a recognized non-profit charitable organization.

Under his guidance, BARS has achieved several significant milestones in its short history. The shelter received its charitable status from the federal government, it developed its own website at www.barrheadanimalrescue.org, and it formed a successful relationship with Paradise Pet Centre in St. Albert. More importantly, the society has helped save about 120 animals, Colborne said.

Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Colborne will no longer be able to tackle the duties as he once did. His term as president ends Sept. 30, and if no candidates step forward by June 30, then Colborne said the area may very well lose its shelter.

“We are having real difficulties,” Colborne said. “Emotionally, this is very tough, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep BARS alive, but it can’t be run the way it is right now. We need to reinvent how we’re doing business; we need to start over.”

In order to secure a future for the society, there are several goals that must be achieved, Colborne said. First, the society needs candidates for the position of president. Second, the society needs to further develop and expand its fostering program. Third, the society needs a clear mandate and vision with achievable short-term goals that will get BARS back to rescuing. Finally, the society needs to increase its funding support through donations, fundraising and grant applications.

Colborne said as president he does about 80 per cent of the work, and that puts the organization into a fragile position. Making something like an animal rescue society successful takes the work and dedication of a group of people. That being said, Colborne said he would like to revise the duties of the president, and the position will be more of an administrative role rather than that of a hands-on animal caregiver.

It’s not just the role of the president that needs to be filled, he said. The society needs one person whose sole responsibility would be co-ordinating and visiting foster homes for dogs and cats. Furthermore, a volunteer is needed to handle marketing for the society. These are only two examples of the work that needs to be done, Colborne said.

“I might be a dreamer, but I still believe that BARS can exist without being dependent on one person,” Colborne said. “There are jobs that have to be done, and we have to find the right people to fill those roles. The tough part is finding those people. Some jobs really require a big time commitment.”

Having a co-ordinator in place would start the society in the right direction, he said, and that will lay the foundation for building a new organization. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the society, but donations are what keep it running. Colborne said he is asking anyone interested to give monthly donations in the form of post-dated cheques, which makes it easier to forecast revenue.

“Any donations at any time are always welcome and greatly appreciated,” he said. “Because of some uncertainty in the coming months, we will not deposit any cheques dated June 2011 or later, unless we feel BARS has a real future.”

Colborne said he is and always will be a part of BARS, but if things don’t fall into place, then it wasn’t meant to be.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the organization can call BARS at 780-307-6590.





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