Veterinary students could hold answer to strays
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,