By Jan Longmore. In response to the recent report of the refusal of the District of Mission to accept the proposal outlined by the Fraser Valley Humane Society for a much needed facility to protect and help the unwanted and neglected animals of Mission, I hereby submit my letter of disgust, disappointment, and anger. The Fraser Valley Humane Society has administered care, medical attention, protection, hope, and compassion to thousands of “disposable” cats over the 14 years that they have been in operation – working on a “shoestring budget” and relying on the kind hearts of the residents of Mission to open their wallets and purses to help these poor unfortunate animals. We, as members of this wonderful organization have not sat idly on our bottoms waiting for our grants and Fee For Service to come in – we have worked long and hard to present various fundraising events yearly to cover as much of the expenses as we can. Whether it be plant sales, garage sales, Santa pictures, Beer and Burger Nights, Block Clean-Ups (disgusting garbage), Bake Sales, Blessing of the Animal events, collecting and returning bottles to recycling, etc just to name a few, we have attempted to show the council that we have done the best we could to be self-reliant but we can only do so much.
I understand that we are not all animal lovers which was quite obvious at the above mentioned council meeting, Councillor Nundal especially. Remember that we not only help all animals we help people also. When you turn your back on their plight, you turn your back on humanity as a whole. We cannot however our biases to compromise major decisions. Yes, we have other issues to deal with which may or may not be more important. Has it been made known how much the shelter has helped our homeless? We have run a food bank for these people who cannot afford to feed their pets – their pets which, by the way, are sometimes the only beautiful possession that they can hold onto and that they live for. When a fire occurred on 1st Avenue and tenants and animals were evacuated, the FVHS was there to help by giving these animals shelter and food with their owners free to visit their beloved pets until they were able to take them home again.
I believe the council, except for a few kind souls who understand and love animals, feel it is better to close their eyes to the issues on hand and let others deal with it. This attitude has been going on far too long. In 1995 you were given the option to open a facility which would eradicate the problems which we are now facing at epidemic proportion. You could have put in place a spay and neuter program (trap, neuter, and release program) which would have alleviated the now “kitten boom” problem which happens on a regular basis and which is crippling our shelters. You could have placed by-laws and enforced them so that animals were protected by law and that their owners were made accountable thus making it illegal for people to drop off boxes, buckets, containers of kittens off at their local shelters and then walking away from all responsibility. However, the council did nothing and so we have the major issues of today. We greatly appreciate the Fee For Service that we receive each year but we are unable to physically continue with rental increases, medical cost increases, utility increases, insurance costs, etc the list goes on. The attitude of our council members and our former MLA speaks volumes, I hear you loud and clear, in your minds animals are not worthy of help. I believe that everyone of the council should be made to attend the shelter and see firsthand what our shelter deals with on a daily basis. Seeing firsthand kittens and a mother suffocated in a bucket left on the shelter doorstep anonymously, cats tortured and left to die, cats shot with pellet guns, eyes missing, tales cut off, legs broken, pelvis`s broken due to abuse, HIV – how many of you could experience that without feeling some emotion? I invite all of you to accept this invitation and see what is truly involved in running a humane shelter.
I am reminded of a lovely quotation “unless you have loved an animal, your soul remains unwoken..”
In closing, I respectfully request that the Mission Council reassess the Fraser Valley Humane Society Proposal and work with the shelter to once and forever address the critical issues at hand.