Dear Editor. The inmates are running the asylum seems an apt description of the ambush I suddenly found myself in at Mission Council Monday night October 21, 2013.
I attended Mission Council meeting and made my pitch for seven improvements to Dog & Cat lives, notably to “Convene an Animal Relation Advisory Committee; To Review plan to incorporate Dogs & Cats into a new shelter; To establish an $ 85,000.00 Cat Control budget to augment the current $ 300,000.00 Dog Control budget; To adopt a no Tethering Bylaw; To adopt a Basic Care & Handling, Breeder Permit Bylaws; to rescind restriction on Dog & Cat Guardianship and permit Guardians to adopt as many as they can afford, thus contributing to reducing of unwanted surplus Cats.
Following the presentation Councillor Stevens went on possibly the most uninformed and insulting rant I have ever encountered in my 18 years of advocating for Animal rights & issues. The sad fact, she was totally misinformed but certainly didn’t let truth or facts detour her.
I rightly expected a respectful discussion and debate even, on the merits of proposals but some on Council presumably had their own agenda to use personal attacks or innuendo instead, epitomized by Mayor Adlem and his now famous quote in these situations, “don’t make me angry”. Designed to intimidate speakers, I suppose.
Learned that because Councillors Jewell & Hensman did not have any stray Cats in their neighbourhood, claims of up to 3000 stray, feral & unwanted Cats in Mission must be wrong.
Responding to the Fraser Valley Humane Society desperate need for financing a one-time $ 8000.00 from contingency fund was granted, which merely places a band-aid on the annual dilemma of inadequate funding by Mission Council but if the silliness espoused by Jewell & Hensman is typical of Council ignorance, with the saneness of Councillor Tilbury excluded, others presumably seem to think no problem exists anyway, so remain in denial and part of the problem.
While I have no relationship with the Fraser Valley Humane Society beyond making donations, being a concerned taxpayer and obviously informed Animal Advocate, their dilemma is beyond their ability to remedy. Simply, Council is misguided to believe Dog Control is a District responsibility so pay 100% costs to the tune of $ 300,0000.00 and even purchased a $ 600,000.00 Shelter solely for Dog Control & large Animals.
Yet, by stark contrast, they give FVHS $ 25,000.00 fee-for-service and ironically believe, any cost above is the responsibility of Volunteers. This has placed an onerous pressure upon Volunteers, contributes to Volunteer “burn-out” and high turnover, constant fear of debts, ongoing fund raising and hoping for generous donors. Like this time, Council get to make an $ 8,000.00 one-time donation and take on the “white knight” persona but in a month the amount is gone and reality sets back in.
The uninformed rhetoric by Councillors Luck, Jewell & Hensman exacerbate the undue expectation and tend to seek to malign the excellent hands-on work being done by FVHS. Really, like in my instance and outlandish statement made about me by Councillor Stevens, similarly FVHS seems to be the brunt of near equally ignorant and big mouth Councillors spouting only “hot air” innuendo about FVHS, as Stevens alludes to me.
I had an enlightening if not somewhat disconcerting evening that I wanted to share with others who have lost confidence in Council leadership as pertains to establishing an inclusive community that is compassionate toward Animals. Readers are encouraged to view my “delegation” to the District of Mission on their web.site and view the October 21, 2013 Web. Cast for an appreciation of how Mission Council seek to disenfranchise residents.
George F. Evens
The Cat Father