Animatch needs your help


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

After 18 years of coordinating the Animatch dog adoption organization in the town of Les Cèdres, operator Helen Lacroix (above) must find new accommodations by August 1.

Animatch needs a new home. The venerable animal rescue organization that has been finding homes for dogs for over 18 years needs to be out of its current headquarters in Les Cèdres by August 1.

Animatch has become a staple of the rescue community not only in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges area, but also at large. However, despite its track record, reputation, and years of service, Animatch now faces the possibility of not being able to continue its mission if it does not find appropriate installations to carry on its work.

“We take dogs from different situations,” Animatch founder Helen Lacroix says. “People who have allergies, or who had a baby, (or the dog) doesn’t get along with the kids, or they’re moving... so many different things.” Animatch also works with local pounds and veterinarian clinics.

“It gives a dog a second chance,” Lacroix told The Journal, citing the recent arrival of a cocker spaniel as an example. “He’s got allergies. (The veterinarian) didn’t think anybody would take that dog. He’s nine years old, a wonderful dog. We took him in, and we will find him a home.” Animatch finds homes for 350 to 400 dogs every year, according to Lacroix.

“We’re a very unique organization that has a centre. So, the dogs live at my home, which is semi-detached. Half the house is mine, and half is for the dogs,” Lacroix explained. “We’ve now come to a crossroad where we have to move.”

Lacroix said the situation is out of her control. The Town of Les Cèdres will be building its new municipal garage at the location of Lacroix’s house.

“I agreed because I thought it would be a turning point. It’s only me and my husband at home.” While Lacroix feels she and her husband could use a smaller home, she thinks she can find something better for Animatch, not necessarily in terms of available space, but of the facilities required to properly house the dogs. “We are not fully by-lawed by Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) yet. It’s a combination of things. We really had to move.”

Animatch has come to an agreement with Les Cèdres to buy Lacroix’s home. “I probably would have had a problem if I had not agreed,” Lacroix jokes, but she says that the city was being very good with them. “They are helping us trying to relocate. But, of course, their hands are tied also.”

Lacroix says the problem is finding a place where she can keep the dogs while also living on the property. “I will not let the dogs live alone. There are probably places, like in an industrial area, where the dogs can be located, but where you can’t live,” she said. Then there are residential areas where Lacroix can live, but without the dogs. That leaves agricultural zoned areas, which can be more remote, and Lacroix feels that could make work harder for the 100 volunteers that Animatch depends on. She also feels that a remote location would mean a drop in possible adoptions and lead people wanting to surrender their dogs to resort to harsh options.

“People will just dump their dog on the side of the road,” Lacroix said.

Lacroix has been looking for a new home, but feels there is not much land available that fits her needs.

“It can’t be residential or industrial; it has to be agricultural. It has to be away from neighbours. We keep hitting walls. Every place we’ve seen either needed work for the house, or something had to be built for the dogs. It becomes a real money pit. I really didn’t expect so much trouble, which is very sad,” Lacroix said. Her budget is also limited. Whatever proceeds came from the sale of the house to the Town of Les Cèdres were limited since Lacroix still had a mortgage on the property.

“Animatch is a non-profit. They have no funds. They can’t buy anything,” Lacroix stressed. She is now asking for help from the public to find a location and fund the relocation.

Lacroix has been looking for over a month. As of this writing, she is still looking. She and her 15 protégés need to vacate by August 1. Lacroix hopes the deadline can be extended until September. You can help by visiting Animatch’s website at animatch.ca.

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