Vet­eri­nary stu­dents could hold an­swer to strays

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

IT is dis­ap­point­ing that the RSPCA has been forced once again to raise con­cerns ( TB, 3/ 8/ 17) re­gard­ing the prob­lem of stray and aban­doned cats and dogs in Townsville.

Our coun­cil ap­par­ently ac­cepts the Aus­tralian Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion’s po­si­tion that manda­tory de­sex­ing of cats does not re­duce the num­ber of un­wanted an­i­mals and has no ef­fect on the feral pop­u­la­tion, but does not ap­pear to be fol­low­ing the AVA’s five- point ap­proach to deal­ing prob­lem of un­wanted pets.

The AVA pol­icy guide­lines re­fer to only a small num­ber of stud­ies. The claim that the ma­jor­ity of cats end­ing up in pounds are not owned, be­ing ei­ther stray or feral an­i­mals is based on a Vic­to­rian univer­sity study which found that 80 per cent of cats en­ter­ing three ma­jor Melbourne shel­ters had no own­ers or were semi- owned.

While I can­not speak with for the the RSPCA, I know that many of the cats re­ceived as “strays” in Townsville are friendly, so­cia­ble an­i­mals who give ev­ery ap­pear­ance of hav­ing pre­vi­ously been some­one’s pet. I doubt the rate of de­sexed owned cats in Townsville is any­where near 93 per cent and won­der if the coun­cil has any idea what the per­cent­age might be, and the rea­sons why owned cats are not be­ing de­sexed.

Cost may be a bar­rier which is pre­vent­ing peo­ple both from de­sex­ing ani- mals and re­claim­ing an­i­mals from the shel­ter. The RSPCA has made a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions as to what works in other parts of Queens­land, such as cut- price de­sex­ing and ed­u­ca­tion. Here in Townsville fi­nal year den­tistry stu­dents are able to treat peo­ple in the univer­sity’s dental clinic, so per­haps fi­nal year vet­eri­nary stu­dents could of­fer cut- price de­sex­ing. JENNY BROWN,


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