Cat lovers made a passionate plea to Prince Rupert city council on Nov. 13: Become part of the feral cat solution before the problem in the city gets any worse.
Alice Kruta of the Cannery Row Animal Shelter was joined by Kim St. Pierre in asking council to reconsider a request by Prince Rupert SPCA manager Anna Terebka to provide $7,500 for a trap, neuter release program, but also asked council to allow the group to construct feeding stations at various points around town.
“Anna was right when she said that we are in crisis mode… If we don’t do something about this Prince Rupert will have cats that are like rats. Prince Rupert will be overrun with cats,” said Kruta, adding that diseases carried by the cats is a major concern.
“If we don’t do something to address the population, we’re going to have cats dying of disease. Kids will come across the dead cats and be curious, so you will have kids handling dead bodies,” added St. Pierre.
Kruta said that the SPCA, the Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter and the Cannery Row Shelter Association are united in their desire to have this addressed, and they feel the community as a whole is largely behind them.
“A lot of residents in Prince Rupert are digging deep into their pockets to help solve this problem,” said St. Pierre, who says she has spent thousand of dollars of her own money spaying and neutering cats and helping them find new homes.
“I have elders saying they can’t pay their mortgage and that they went to the bank again because they can’t pay their mortgage but they also can’t let the cats they’re feeding starve… I have had so much support from people and from businesses. The only place the support hasn’t come from is from the governments, which is sad when you look at what other districts are doing,” said Kruta, pointing to a $2.8 million animal shelter built earlier this year in Delta.
And while council will discuss the impassioned request at the next meeting, some councillors expressed concern about supporting it.
“We have social issues in this town, we’re losing money because we’re losing industry and there is not a lot of money left. We’re stretched thin…We don’t have the resources to do anything about this. That $7,500 may seem small, but it is still $7,500. That $7,500 is money that might not go to a group that is doing things for children in town, and I put children above cats at this point,” said councillor Gina Garon.
“I see inhumanity in trap, neuter, release. What I see with feral cats is starving cats, diseased cats, cats freezing and with feeding stations I imagine sanitation concerns… As much as I hate to say euthanizing, I hate to see cats suffering and with trap, neuter, release I see cats suffering,” added councillor Anna Ashley.