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Dogs, cats and 1 rabbit moved from CBRM animal shelter over fears roof could collapse

The Cape Breton SPCA in Sydney, N.S., as it appeared on Tuesday. The organization says there are concerns the roof could collapse under the weight of snow. (Sarah Lyon - image credit)
The Cape Breton SPCA in Sydney, N.S., as it appeared on Tuesday. The organization says there are concerns the roof could collapse under the weight of snow. (Sarah Lyon - image credit)

The Nova Scotia SPCA says its Cape Breton Shelter is in the process of clearing out over concerns its roof could collapse under the weight of the heavy snow that fell during the days-long snowstorm.

"We have staff who are there right now who are prepping the animals and getting them ready for evacuation," Sarah Lyon, director of external relations with the Nova Scotia SPCA, told CBC's Mainstreet Cape Breton in an interview on Wednesday.

The shelter, located on East Broadway in Sydney, currently has 45 animals include 19 dogs (a mix of adults and puppies), 25 cats and one rabbit.

Lyon said staff had stayed with the animals during the recent four-day snowstorm and began hearing creaking sounds coming from the ceiling. She said they then noticed the ceiling was bowing.

"The ceiling is starting to look structurally unreliable," Lyon said.

Lyon said staff from Dartmouth have been sent to Cape Breton in the SPCA's animal transport vehicle and vans to get the animals out. The animals will be placed in other shelters until it is safe to go back to the Cape Breton building.

A contractor will be headed to the 47-year-old building to remove snow and ice from the roof and then test its structural integrity.

There is no estimated date to reopen the Cape Breton shelter and veterinary hospital. It's also not clear how much it will cost to repair the building.

The Nova Scotia SPCA wants the public to avoid coming to the shelter. The veterinary hospital will be re-booking clients when it's safe.

Lyon said there are animals in the group that have adoption papers pending. She said a staff member has opened her home to those animals.

"So those dogs won't be leaving the island. They will be ready for their families," Lyon said.

Kennel space has been secured for any strays found in CBRM, Lyon said.

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