By George F. Evens. The recent Letter by Sherril Guthrie, “Mission’s Cat Crisis”, wherein she admonishes the “Irresponsible Cat Owners” as primary cause of unwanted litters seems to perpetuate, in part, this partial myth and sadly, skirts the real major causes. Two other stories recently published, notably “Upfront” Abbotsford TIMES “Stop littering our community” and similar excellent MISSION RECORD editorial “Just leave the dog at home, please” are symptomatic of (perceived) criminal acts perpetuated by senseless people and sadly, every year many local papers but occasionally Talk Shows, reiterate the same stories year after year, with little to no remedy forthcoming. Thus, my point is, “why not face realities and facts, tell the total story and stop blaming, albeit an equal part of the dilemma, just irresponsible Cat owners”. While there is no justification to absolve these individuals, they may justly argue, “no Bylaws exist to make me spay or neuter, etc., Veterinarians are gouging or at least, charging exorbitant fees I can’t afford, no major education or “’free spay & neuter blitzes” are conducted in my Community and so, we seek to blame the causes, that until facts are public, remedy will be fleeting as presently observed.
Since 1995 The Council Animal Advocacy (CLAW) & myself, oft referred to as “The Catfather” have advocated for Animal rights, Welfare and Respect. Indeed, since our inception we have published the solutions on our web.site www.thecouncilclaw.ca “Our Position On Issues” SECTION 31 “Animal Relations”. We are pleased many Municipalities have sought and then implemented ours and many other Animal Advocates advice.
Unfortunately, the Fraser Valley has perpetuated the ignorance, arrogance, indifference and moribund behavior that has witnessed a growing problem, from not only Dogs but Children left in hot vehicles to suffer. In the broader context, Cats are prolific breeders and as Jodi Dunlop, SPCA Branch Manager illustrated, unaltered Cats having litters and those liters having litters, can produce 420,000 kittens in 7 years. Indeed, for many years the local SPCA annually killed approximately 10,000 unwanted surplus Cats but when (CLAW) started to inform the Public, suddenly SPCA kill statistics became unavailable.
Today, the same dilemma exists unabated, the SPCA and other Animal Welfare/Rescue groups are drastically under-funded and most receive no Municipal or Provincial funding and instead rely upon Volunteers and Donations, Fund-Raisers and generosity of kind residents who actually care about Animals.
The key contributors to the sad and ongoing travesty are first and foremost elected Mayors & Councillors who, so indifferent & ignorant, fail to establish effective basic care & handling, spay & neuter, (crucial) breeder permit & stringent fines bylaws and equally, offer little to no funding of Volunteers, to deal with the issue they have fostered, at their neglect. Next, the Veterinarian, who, often in a blind quest to pay their often excessive operating cost, neglect, being the monopoly in town, to address the needed (blitz) to offer ongoing and periodic spay, neuter & tattoo clinics, free, until the problem is abated. Some are very compassionate and do provide assistance but moreso it is a token 10-15% discount. Compounding the problem , well-meaning Volunteers sell Animals for adoption, at too high a cost, trying to recuperate their costs and at no fault to themselves, unwittingly each time their full & over-crowded shelter refuses to take in additional Cats, they exacerbate inability to attracting volunteers & donations .
The merry-go-round has been perpetuated, at least since 1995 when I became interested, to date, by indifferent leaders and this is both sad & worrisome with no remedy in sight, except perpetuating these same rather innocuous articles understating the problem, but moreso overlooking it’s causes and frankly, until people who can offer remedy step up, we will witness this travesty being perpetuated as history has a tendency to repeat itself when solutions are not acted upon.