Staff at small animal shelter 'blown away' by $275,000 gift
A very small B.C. animal shelter is getting a very big financial boost thanks to the generosity of a teacher with no connection whatsoever to the facility.
Although the facility does have funding from the municipality, it is constrained by a small budget, and a "no kill" mandate that means animals in their care will not be euthanized even if they require extensive medical care.
Animal control officer Margie Fox said shelter staff were "flabbergasted" to learn from the will's executors that they would receive the cash. The city was presented with a cheque earlier this month.
"We are totally blown away. A thousand dollars is a really big donation for us, so to hear that amount was unbelievable," she told CTV Vancouver.
Mutz didn't live in New Westminster, but he had a friend that did, and she was the one who suggested the shelter as a place that would be worthy of a financial boost. Mutz wasn’t really a cat person, but did have a dog, Fox said.
The cash came with several stipulations, all of which the shelter says it's happy to abide by. Mutz requested a portion of the money, $55,000, be used to help animals that come in needing "excessive" veterinary care, including things like treating broken bones and pricey dental surgeries.
There is also a $115,000 animal enrichment fund set aside for things like toys and treats, special behavioural training sessions and dog agility equipment – to exercise dogs' minds, as well as their bodies, and gain confidence.
"We would love to keep a legacy for this gentleman. I think he must have been an amazing man," said Fox, adding that the funds will be used over at least five years.
For longer-term shelter residents like Fred and Ginger, 12-year-old German shepherds, the legacy funds will be used to get them hydrotherapy to ease their aging joints and arthritis.
A total of $55,000 will be used to help low income pet owners with veterinary care, and a trap-neuter-release program to lower the feral cat population in the community.
The shelter isn't the only beneficiary: The Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C., the Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund and Covenant House will also receive a portion of the estate.
Mutz was born in Alberta but moved to B.C. as a young child, according to his obituary. He didn't have any children, but is remembered fondly by his brother in California, extended family, and many friends.