Editor, The Record:
I attended Mission council Oct. 21 and made my pitch for seven improvements to dog and cat lives, notably to convene an animal relation advisory committee; to review the plan to incorporate dogs and cats into a new shelter; to establish an $85,000 cat control budget to augment the current $300,000 dog control budget; to adopt a no-tethering bylaw; to adopt basic care and handling, breeder permit bylaws; to rescind restriction on dog and cat guardianship and permit guardians to adopt as many as they can afford, thus contributing to reducing of unwanted surplus cats.
Following the presentation Coun. Jenny Stevens went on possibly the most uninformed and insulting rant I have ever encountered in my 18 years of advocating for animal rights and issues. The sad fact that she was totally misinformed didn’t deter her.
I rightly expected a respectful discussion and debate even, on the merits of proposals but some on council presumably had their own agenda to use personal attacks or innuendo instead, epitomized by Mayor Ted Adlem saying, “Don’t make me angry.” Designed to intimidate speakers, I suppose.
I learned that because councillors Jeff Jewell and Dave Hensman did not have any stray cats in their neighbourhood, the claims of up to 3,000 stray, feral and unwanted cats in Mission must be wrong.
Responding to the Fraser Valley Humane Society’s desperate need for financing a one-time $8,000 from contingency fund was granted, which merely places a band-aid on the annual dilemma of inadequate funding by council, but if the silliness espoused by Jewell and Hensman is typical of council ignorance, with the saneness of Councillor Nelson Tilbury excluded, others presumably seem to think no problem exists, so they remain in denial and part of the problem.
While I have no relationship with the FVHS beyond making donations, being a concerned taxpayer and informed animal advocate, its dilemma is beyond its ability to remedy. Council is misguided to believe dog control is a district responsibility and so pay 100 per cent costs to the tune of $300,000 and even purchased a $600,000 shelter solely for dog control and large animals. Yet, they give FVHS a $25,000 fee-for-service grant and believe any cost above is the responsibility of volunteers.
This has placed pressure upon volunteers, which contributes to burn-out and high turnover, constant fear of debts, ongoing fundraising and hoping for generous donors.
The uninformed rhetoric by councillors Tony Luck, Jewell and Hensman exacerbates the undue expectation, and maligns the excellent hands-on work being done by FVHS.
Readers are encouraged to view my delegation to the District of Mission on its website, and view the webcast for an appreciation of how Mission council seeks to disenfranchise residents.
George F. Evens