In sup­port of an­i­mal shel­ter

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

I write in re­sponse to an ar­ti­cle in the March 29 edi­tion of The Com­pass head­lined “ Pro­posed shel­ter get­ting cold shoul­der,” and a letter to the edi­tor writ­ten by Laura-Lee His­cock head­lined “ Set­ting the record straight on cats” that was pub­lished in the pa­per’s April 5 edi­tion.

Did you know in seven years, one fe­male and one male cat and their off­spring can pro­duce 420,000 kit­tens? Cats re­pro­duce at a very high rate, re­sult­ing in the cur­rent over­pop­u­la­tion prob­lem. The longer we try and ig­nore this prob­lem, the larger it be­comes.

What is unique to our cat pop­u­la­tion prob­lem is the weather. With thou­sands of stray cats across the prov­ince, count­less suf­fer and die in the cold. Cats are here be­cause peo­ple brought them. As do­mes­ti­cated and there­fore de­pen­dent on us as our pets, our com­pan­ions, we are re­spon­si­ble for their well-be­ing.

Peo­ple feed strays out of com­pas­sion and due to a lack of other op­tions avail­able. It is cruel to al­low such a sit­u­a­tion to con­tinue un­treated. Could you be the one to go to work ev­ery­day and de­cide which cats will be put down and which ones will get an­other day? This is not just about show­ing sup­port for an­i­mals; it’s about show­ing sup­port for the shel­ter work­ers and vol­un­teers who care for them.

This sit­u­a­tion has a so­lu­tion. It takes a com­mit­ment of a com­mu­nity and its gov­ern­ment, i n v e s tme n t in a spay/ neuter pro­gram and well-funded an­i­mal shel­ters.

The cat over­pop­u­la­tion prob­lem is eas­ily treat­able if suf­fi­cient re­sources are al­lo­cated.

It takes a com­mu­nity and its gov­ern­ment to con­sider this as an ex­am­ple. The pop­u­la­tion of our prov­ince is just over 500,000. If each per­son, on av­er­age, con­trib­uted $ 10 per year and gov­ern­ment matched this dol­lar-for-dol­lar, this could fund 10 shel­ters with vet clin­ics in our prov­ince.

We need only to say the cur­rent way of do­ing things could be im­proved upon and go from there. A well-sup­ported shel­ter can house these cats; a full-time ve­teri­nar­ian can spay/ neuter ev­ery healthy cat that comes through their doors; a funded fos­ter and adop­tion pro­gram can place most in lov­ing homes.

What will in­evitably come with time is a re­duc­tion in the cat pop­u­la­tion. This is a real so­lu­tion to stray cats roam­ing. The sooner we start spay­ing/ neu­ter­ing our pets, the less quickly their num­bers will grow.

Ev­ery day, the prob­lem grows more ex­pen­sive. This is not just a mat­ter of com­pas­sion; it makes eco­nomic sense.

Not only would it nip a prob­lem in the bud sooner rather than later, but shel­ters like the one be­ing pro­posed by Laura-Lee His­cock and the Bac­calieu Trail SPCA would also cre­ate em­ploy­ment in the com­mu­nity.

I re­spect Dwayne Parsons’ ini­tia­tive in spear­head­ing a pe­ti­tion. If the pe­ti­tion was to en­cour­age a sub­si­dized spay/ neuter pro­gram, this would ac­tu­ally help solve the prob­lem.

Tak­ing the “ Not in my back­yard” ap­proach to an an­i­mal shel­ter al­lows the prob­lem to grow — lit­er­ally. If you don’t want stray cats hang­ing around, you should sup­port a shel­ter in your re­gion. Laura-Lee His­cock is try­ing to be part of the so­lu­tion; we should sup­port her in her ef­forts. This is a good thing. Dana English

Pouch Cove

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