More than 18 animals were abandoned in a ten-day period during June in Prince Rupert, with some found tied up in plastic bags and others left in containers along the roadside of the city, BC SPCA stated, in a June 25 press release.
Joe Griffith, manager of the Prince Rupert SPCA told The Northern View a good samaritan found three kittens under five weeks old tied up in a bag near the hospital helipad. She took care of them overnight and delivered them to the SPCA the next morning. Another recent find was by a bottle collector who found a plastic bag of kittens, no more than six weeks old with their mother, tied up in a plastic bag in a dumpster.
The BC SPCA states these ‘unfortunate incidents’ are just two examples of the high intake of abandoned cats and kittens that have been brought to the shelter in recent weeks.
“We can’t keep up,” Griffith said.
“It is a disturbing trend,” Eileen Drever, senior officer of protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA said.
While the organization understands that there are situations where people can no longer care for their pet Drever wants to remind the public that abandoning an animal is illegal.
“There is no excuse for abandoning a helpless animal to fend for themselves against predators, accidents, starvation or disease,” she said.
The BC SPCA in Prince Rupert is urging pet guardians to do the right thing.
Griffith encourages individuals to avoid having unwanted litters by spaying or neutering their pet.
“If people are struggling to rehome their pet, please contact the SPCA or reach out to local rescue groups,” he said.
Griffiths said when an animal is brought into the SPCA a nose-to-tail examination is completed to assess the health status. Animals are immediately taken for medical care if a veterinarian is required. If an animal is healthy and at the appropriate age they will receive vaccinations. From there a foster home will be found for the day-to-day care until it’s time for the animals to be adopted.
The abandonment of animals taxes the resources and staff of the SPCA, Griffith said.
“It does put a strain on our resources because we’re always planning. We only have so much room in the shelter, and we only have so much resources available to us,” the local manager said. “We have a limited amount of capacity for care, and limited staff to care for those animals.”
Griffiths gives the example of a box of eight kittens and the mother being dropped on the doorstep unexpectedly.
“It does put us past our capacity for care and past our ability to care for the animals. So, staff all of a sudden now have to do more, be more, and work faster. It does put more stress on staff and of course, it has.”
Griffiths recommends firstly if people find themselves with unwanted or unplanned animals that they try to rehome them into safe environments in appropriate ways, such as speaking to people they know and trust who will be good pet parents.
“Secondly, they can call us and arrange with us and that way we can plan for it. Maybe we can’t take the animals today or can’t take them tomorrow, but maybe we take them a week from now,” he said.
As well as abandoned animals, the SPCA does accept pet surrenders where an owner can no longer look after a loved pet or circumstances have changed. In these instances, a $50 surrender fee is requested to cover the basic costs the shelter incurs, however, if financial hardship is encountered the fee can be waived.
Griffith said that all people can assist by not ignoring bags and boxes at the side of the road, but checking them for live animals.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to do the right thing,” he said. “No one is going to hate you for trying to save a life or trying to save a kitten. We just want people to be humane and be good humans.”