I last made 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 were in the District of Mission.
You might appreciate the astonishment last week hearing Surrey had a problem of over 34,000 stray/feral cats, followed by Langley claiming 22,000 cats. So, it does not take a rocket scientist to imagine Abbotsford or Mission, with no progressive bylaw with breeder permit conditions nor adequate shelters, that 3,000 strays in Mission is reasonable to expect, with Abbotsford somewhere in between.
Abbotsford has the SPCA, but no local contract to address animal control, which is foolhardy at best.
Mission pays over $250,000 for a dog pound but no cat control, beyond the vastly underfunded – approximately $22,000 – Fraser Valley Humane Society, lacking volunteers and adequate shelter space. In reality, it should be an estimated minimum $ 85,000 fee with a shared facility expanded to accommodate cats.
The major cause and solutions of cat over-population, are an indifferent mayor and councillors, lack of a progressive spay, neuter, tattoo and breeder permit bylaw, with significant fines; a bylaw to reclassify owners to more appropriate guardian designations; and a “legislation supported by education” approach. Veterinarians have a monopoly on medical care, thus the failure to respond with frequent low-cost or free spay and neuter clinics exacerbates the causes.
There is a lack of effective trap, neuter, release programs, due largely to under-funding; lack of foster guardians; and a lack of continual media public awareness campaigns.
There are irresponsible guardians who fail to provide a caring home; instead neglect to have cats spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters, and throw the cat out at night to get pregnant, or worse, provide dinner for coyotes, often in most inclement weather. Out goes the cat to roam around all night or find dogs tethered or incessantly barking.
The time for compassion, and to overcome the ignorance and indifference of leaders, has long past. There is no excuse today for such negligent care of companion animals, so the burning question exists: Why are you permitting this travesty to continue?
I believe these few simple steps will contribute to resolving this predicament:
Each municipality is to adopt bylaws to control breeding and fund a no-kill animal shelter.
Upon adopting bylaws, an amnesty period of six months is to be granted that guardians may attend at a veterinarian to have the operation performed.
Next, any person with a cat or dog in their possession, five months or older, that has not been altered or tattooed is subject to a minimum fine of $300 plus an order to have the operation performed within thirty days.
Any dog not possessing a municipal licence is subject to a $200 fine, plus directive to obtain a current dog licence within 30 days, that if complied with, may render the guardian a $100 refund on the fine.
Guardian must obtain a breeder permit.
Failure to have the cat or dog spayed or neutered by five months of age will result in a $300 fine per animal. If a breeder permit is obtained the guardian may permit the cat or dog to have a litter once per year. All breeding facilities may be subject to Inspection by the BCSPCA.
Any Animal advertised for sale or change of guardianship must have proof of the animal being spayed or neutered or display the breeder permit registration number on all advertising materials or documents. No cats or dogs are to be listed on electronic media, such as Craigslist. Nor are any cats or dogs to be sold in retail stores, flea markets other than a breeders home/office location. Professional show breeders may be excluded from possessing breeder permits.
George F. Evens