Cats need to be shown more compassion

Langley Township sets a good example of how to deal with feral and abandoned cats.

Editor: I spoke as a delegation to Mission council seeking empathy for stray and feral cats in Mission.  As a few councillors had not witnessed strays in their neighbourhood, it was felt no problem existed and a few questioned the estimated 3,000 stray and feral cats I suggested live in the District of Mission.

While no scientific proof or means to accurately record the actual numbers exists, the lack of numbers seems to justify to the indifferent and uncaring politician they do not need to do anything, least of all be compassionate to any determined number, small or large. They can just go into denial and bury their heads.

There was astonishment recently, when it was stated that Surrey had a stray/feral cat problem of over 34,000 cats, followed later by Langley claiming 22,000 cats. These are in municipalities with progressive bylaws and no-kill animal shelters.

It does not take a rocket scientist to imagine that 3,000 strays in Mission is a reasonable number, with many more in Abbotsford.

A lack of diligent enforcement or education contribute to a worsening situation, thus appropriate funding becomes crucial to success.

Abbotsford has an SPCA but no local contract to address animal control, which is foolhardy.  Mission pays over $250,000 for a dog pound, but has no cat control, other than $22,000 for the Fraser Valley Humane Society, which lacks volunteers and adequate shelter space.

In 1995, I was told by Mayor Randy Hawes that “Mission has no appetite for your animal welfare bylaws.”  At that time, I had proposed to deal with approximately 300 cats at a cost of $10,000.

Fast forward to the present. There is the same mayor, who is expected to perpetuate the same indifference to the problem.

The major cause and solutions of cat over-population are ignorant, indifferent mayors and councillors; a lack of progressive spay, neuter, tattoo and breeder permit bylaws, with significant fines and a bylaw to reclassify “owners” to more appropriate “guardian” designations.

Veterinarians have the monopoly on medical care, thus there is a failure to respond with frequent low-cost or free spay and neuter clinics. This exacerbates the causes. There is a lack of effective trap, neuter, release (TNR) programs, due largely to under-funding; a lack of foster guardians; a lack of continual public awareness campaigns in the media; and irresponsible guardian who fail to provide a caring home.

The time for compassion and overcoming the ignorance and indifference of leaders has long passed.

There are good examples of shelters in Langley Township and Maple Ridge. There are basic animal care and spay, neuter, breeder permit bylaws adopted across Metro Vancouver. There is no excuse today for such negligent care of companion animals.

George F. Evens,