July 12th, 2024

Better animal welfare laws needed for cats


By Letter to the Editor on November 25, 2021.

Editor:
Some days I question the nature of  rescue and why we seem to be the refuge for cats that have survived abuse, neglect and have been discarded as though their lives have no value. Their little bodies are malnourished or riddled with disease.
They are deserving of love. All cats deserve love and validation. The lack of compassion that resides in a staggering percentage of humankind begs the use of the term itself.
Human has no concept of ‘humane’ and ‘kind’ is lacking along with it.
Let all the little cats lost, ones we have tried to help, remain to be a testament to the need for change to our animal welfare laws and lack thereof.
There are hundreds out there in Lethbridge alone that will continue to suffer due to nobody helping them. This has to change.
Elizabeth Ginn
Lethbridge

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Southern Albertan

Speaking of cats, us cat people, have one cat which we transitioned from our farm when we retired from farming, another cat who we rescued at our acreage, and another who we adopted from a Lethbridge cat shelter. 🙂

biff

nice!

Seth Anthony

I despise animal cruelty with a passion. I’m not in a position to have a pet, but I donate monthly to animal welfare agencies. My most recent donation addition is The Last Chance Cat Ranch.

biff

good heart, seth! that beautiful group has long been the legacy of ms. ginn. those who donate to animal compassion groups not only serve the critters, they further step up for those that lack enough heart.

Seth Anthony

Good heart with you and Southern Albertan 🙂

biff

a small drop in the bucket for lethbridge, and i would think all communities, would be to have spay/neuter/shots made mandatory, but, to have the community pick up the tab. the province surely could help reduce the financial impact by allowing vets to offer that service without being held to the minimum fee they must bill that veterinarian body imposes on vets. nonetheless, there are so many discarded cats and dogs in lethbridge and surrounding areas, and the painful reality is compounded by people that do not spy/neuter.
we are at 5 cats – 3 taken in over just the last 1.5 years. (this barely is the tip of the iceberg in our neighbourhood, as we have helped place and otherwise fed over 20 cats since we moved into our house here over 15 years ago). all were pets for someone, somewhere, before they showed up here, freezing, hungry, and in need of vet care. not one of them had been spayed/neutered. the two we already had were also taken in by us because they were freezing, hungry, and in need of vet care.
while one agency, noka, was able to help with the spay/neuter/shots for the most recent trio we have (they also had been able to help with the numerous others that eventually were helped to be placed via some wonderful people in pincher creek), every agency in town is beyond capacity to be able help with care and finding homes. i called paws, another great heart of a rescue group, to see if they could help place a dear cat that belonged to a 90+, who took him in a couple years ago…because he was hungry, freezing, and in need of vet care. that dear person took ill, and the cat will soon need a home. paws has no room: i was told that, just since june, they have received over 400 requests to take on cats. astounding.
how we treat sentient creatures, how we treat one another, is the most honest and accurate reflection of where we are at and what we are as a species. notwithstanding some standout, light beings, such a ms ginn and others that work directly to ease the pain of the most distressed animals and people in our society, it is often hard to accept how callous and truly unloving we are a large at present. can we do much better? absolutely. will we? that, unfortunately, still remains to be seen.

Lilpeej

Lethbridge is not known for being a particularly ‘cat friendly’ city. It would be helpful if City council would take positive measures to enact steps that would change this and help animals in general. Perhaps some programs and some funding? And maybe J.Kenney should be called upon to kick-in some long-overdue cash for spay-neuter programs and under-funded rescues as well!!!

Montreal13

Lethbridge is a very cat friendly city. There is simply too many. Many of these rescue groups do not support a cat bylaw. That would help to support more policing. Noka receives funding from the city.
Come on Elizabeth you have been doing this for what 30 years? I was a “crazy cat lady” for many years. It is simply a numbers game that we can’t win under current policies of the city and many rescue groups. You are doing the same thing over and over with poor results. Many people want a change of policy from rescue groups and the city. Many people will no longer donate to groups who will spend city and private donations to the tune of sometimes $4000 for a sick cat,while kittens(who are easier to find homes for) die on the streets as rescue groups and the city pound have no room to take them.
Many people want to see donations spend on spays not on ill cats that should be put down humanely.
The feudal colonies that some of these rescue groups vet and feed from donations still only have a very short lifespan for the cat members. Money and time are spend on them and then they get hit by a car the next day or a coyote or owl gets them.
How many dogs get put down every year at the pound because of illness, housing issues or behavioral issues? Why should it be different for cats?
These practices and policies are simply condemning too many to a slow death on the streets. Put down ill , un adoptable (kept in a cage for too many years at the humane society to the point that they can never transition to a family home) to make room for those with a better chance.
Because no one in this city will make the tough calls,that many other cities do,Elizabeth the second and third will write the same letter to the editor over and over again. Because nothing will change.

biff

thank you – you have raised some points that require some careful consideration. i feel the choices to try and save the lives of even the most distressed cats are well intended; perhaps, the spare no expense approach has its basis in addressing some of the worst some people have to offer with some of best people have to offer.
the question, however, is: given limited money, limited homes, and a very, very many cats and dogs that need homes that are not forthcoming, are the current approaches taken by various agencies the best ways forward?
i am not certain there are any jurisdictions that have discovered a best approach, or even whether there can be a one-size-fits-all solution. however, what must be solved are: 1) how to curtail growing numbers of cats and dogs that become homeless and begin to multiply near exponentially; 2) how do we accommodate the very many in need of loving homes; 3) how do we better educate ourselves with regard to care, responsibility/duty; 4) from where do funds come.
some solutions: mandate spay/neuter; use the public purse to help; remove the minimum fee vets must charge in alberta for spay/neuter; a centralised animal “home” that utilises as many volunteers as possible; brings together the sundry agencies already working for what is a common cause (not necessarily common approaches, however); saves only the most dire case creatures from a pool of private donation money – public money would not be used; use animal care instruction in schools as a way to help people come to understand what is involved when choosing to take on pets… as well, animal education and sensitivity would be excellent should we add the integral component of developing compassion in schools (there is too little to no teaching of compassion in in our education system); earmark public money, encourage private donations as well as volunteerism.

Montreal13

“Compassion should not be measured by intentions, but by outcomes” . Falling into the old emotional traps have gotten us no where.
Rescue groups should unite for more coordination and strength,but they won’t.

biff

btw: it is disgraceful that the city allows trapping of cats for any reason other than reuniting with its owner, or to turn it over to an agency recognised for its ability to help look after the cat. what the city in essence is doing is permitting acts of cruelty in many cases. many “trappers” are in effect getting the city’s blessing to perform what amounts to acts of cruelty: either the trapped animal gets dumped somewhere far from home, where it suffers and possibly multiplies; or, the trapper is a sick fk and hurts the animal. consequently, in sanctioning trapping as is, the city is directly complicit in animal cruelty, and in fomenting the number of homeless/lost pets, and in contributing to the number of cats that will be born into a feral life.

Montreal13

trapping is necessary to catch wild cats that you either want to take to the pound(usually no room) ,they need vetting or to be housed and fed properly.

biff

just to clarify…
i appreciate your point that there needs to be some trapping of cats. however, my point, as stated, made a distinction. trapping to help save an animal is one thing, but the city must not allow trapping such that trappers take the cats and either dump them far away, or otherwise hurt the cat. this has long been happening. do you not see this as an issue?
further, we may disagree on the concept of compassion: i feel intention is the crux upon which everything revolves, and intention really cannot be “measured.” that said, as i wrote in response to your fine entry, we agree that spending thousands of dollars to save one cat is not prudent given the vast number of cats requiring food and shelter that sum would help. thus, i made a distinction. my suggestion is that if a person wishes to make a private donation to save an animal requiring “expensive” intervention, that is their choice; however, if we use public dollars to look after homeless/discarded/lost animals, then expensive interventions are not an acceptable use of public dollars.