Wanting a more "humane" Humane Society
I commend St. Catharines City Councilor Mat Siscoe for being one of the leaders in hopes of getting the Lincoln County Humane Society to lower their "kill rate." He appeared on the show today, along with LCHS Executive Director Kevin Strooband, and both agreed that a lower kill rate would help with donations to the LCHS. Over seventy percent of cats that find themselves there are euthanized. They are not too injured or ill. There is simply not enough space and resources to keep all the cats forever. But, the problem is not the LCHS, or most pet owners. It's the irresponsible few who allow their cats to breed and then can't get rid of the kittens.
Kevin said that 70% of dogs are claimed at the shelter by their owners who have reported them lost. For cats, the answer is 1%! One freaking percent of the two thousand cats taken in, were lost. So, twenty cats were returned to their owners. The rest were just dumped, or abandonned, or were in the wild to begin with. Disposable pets, if you will. The problem is truly that the supply of cats vastly outnumbers the demand. We can't just build more space to keep cats indefinitely. We really to stop cats from coming in.
Cats in Port Colborne are $50 to adopt at their animal shelter. It's only $99 in St. Catharines, and both places include a spay or neutering, shots, flea treament, and microchip identification. Either place is a really good deal when you think of the vet costs alone. But, it's hard to compete against Kijiji, or Craigslist, or the community board at the grocery store where they are FREE. Growing up in my family, we adopted some cats, but we made sure to have them fixed. I believe people who get free kittens or cats often perpetuate the cycle. There is zero entry barrier and they say it's too expensive to have their animal fixed. Forgetting they have to feed them on a daily basis, of course. So, the vast majority of those that don't find a new home are simply turned out by their owners. Often driven out to the country and left to fend for themselves.
To combat the supposed high cost of getting your pet spayed or neutered, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is going to operate a low-cost clinic at the LCHS, starting next month.It should bring the cost to less than one hundred bucks. That's a good start. But even still, there are dummies who will claim that's even too high.
Here's my solution, we should not allow animals to be given away to random strangers via Kijiji or Craigslist. Don't allow signs to be posted on bulletin boards or telephone poles. You have to register as a breeder if you want to sell cats. Plain and simple. Make the fine $150, which would be more than the spaying in the first place. How do you catch these irresponsible cat owners? Easy, they all post their phone numbers or email addresses. Let the Humane Society fine them. They have the power under the law to charge people, so let's just extend it to these owners. Because in the end, what's crueler than dumping unwanted cats in a dumpster or ditch? That's exactly what happens with most unadopted kittens. Just asking the humane society to not kill cats will do nothing if we don't somehow stop the number of cats making their way to the humane society.