LETTER: Perception as a prehistoric community which doesn’t care about pets

Mission is in a time warp of no effective facilities

Companion animals are loved and treasured members  of companion animal guardian’s families.  We treat our dogs and cats, as domesticated sentient-beings dependent upon us for their survival, protection, nourishment and shelter.  It is a deep conviction we must all share to meet this undertaking and responsible pet guardianship.

The days of being “owner,” as treating these pets as property implies and thus lack of responsibility to be accountable for their well-being has long past.  We expect our elected municipal councils to govern our communities and in doing so, reflect a mandate of the caring and respect toward our pets we each feel.

We have motivation, moral conviction and wisdom to treat animals with respect as Mohandas Gandhi clearly stated, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated”.

Sadly, Mission gets a poor and failure mark on most tests to date, at least since 1995 when I first became involved and accepted the monicker “Cat Father.”

Since 1995 when then Mayor R. Hawes informed me “Mission does not have an appetite for (your) proposed Animal Welfare Bylaws,” Mission has steadily gone down hill.  At the time approximately 300 cats and a remedial cost of $10,000 was needed to address the growing stray and unwanted cat dilemma.  Neglect and indifference, by successive councils since witnessed during 2004 an estimated 3,000 cats and corresponding $ 265,000 cost to remedy. Cats are prolific breeders so today, the problem has steadily worsened and we witness Animal caring rescuers frantically fighting overwhelming odds. Shelters are frequently too full, neighbourhoods are frequented by countless stray cats wandering around in search of food.  Sadly, many cats themselves becoming the source of being eaten by an influx of coyotes sensing easy prey.  Many of these poor little animals are your missing family members.

Mission council is currently reviewing two important bylaw amendments that if adopted could start to develop a more caring community, as the way we treat our animals.

First, council has been asked to eliminate tethering dogs, which is only reasonable on all counts.  Dogs are meant to run and play, to enjoy social engagement with fellow dogs and humans alike, not be chained for 24 hours outside in all forms of weather.  Irresponsible pet guardians have no caring and will argue they have a right to chain, as dogs are used for protection, which is stupidity personified, as a chained dog outside is not going to protect families indoors.  Further, barking dogs often are scared, suffering some discomfort, are in harm’s way to predators and certainly awaken neighbours at all hours, while they bark incessantly unattended.  This provision to remove chain and tethering all together must accompany provision of a proper pen & run or conversely a properly fenced yard to roam unfettered.  Simply, unchaining dogs to roam at-large is not the solution, either.

Second, from the outset, there ought to have been a no-kill animal shelter for dogs and cats, with one entity responsible for animal protection and control.  Currently, over $300,000 is spent just for dog animal control, in a $ 600,000 facility, the old dog pound, bought for dog control.  Whereas, by contrast to deal with thousands of cats, a mere $25,000 fee-for-service grant is awarded to FVHS.  Such absolute folly and plain stupidity given the demands upon volunteers caring about cats is beyond any reasonable expectation and sheer neglect by municipal council.

Yet, “the mumble and neglect approach” by Councillor L. Nundal, seeks to perpetuate the “do nothing,” and blame council ineptness, being remiss to undertake remedy for homeless, lack of police, fire and inaction for seniors,” so why bother with animals?  Sadly, Councillor Nundal was part of the problem, as director bylaw and animal control back in 1995 and now perpetuates his ignorance as a councillor, but he should know better.  Sadly, some novice councillors, except Councillor N. Tilbury who supported the motion, denied staff the opportunity to review and make recommendations on a long-term plan to consolidate animal control into a joint cat and dog no-kill, facility.  While Langley Township and more recently Maple-Ridge have established state of the art facilities and others adopted effective bylaws, Mission is in a time warp of no effective facilities, no effective bylaws, inadequate funding, volunteers “burning out,” many devoting countless hours and money from pensions to try and deal with the overwhelming unwanted cat dilemma, our uncaring and frankly, ignorant council bury their heads in the sand and hope ignoring the problem it will just go away thus perpetuating the indifference that has prevailed since 1995.

The overall solution is explained, in part, on our web.site www.thecouncilclaw.ca, under “Our Position On Issues” Section 31, Animal Relations that will give guidance to authorities on what to do.  Yes, our fine municipality is held hostage as an uncaring and perceived prehistoric community who does not care about our pets, such shame our elected council brings upon us.

George F. Evens