A family of cats were found abandoned outside the Sooke Region Museum on Monday night, and local animal activist Margarita Dominguez believes “backyard breeders” are to blame.
Museum executive director Lee Boyko said there was an adult cat and four kittens found, one hasn’t been caught.
The cats werehanded over to the Victoria Pet Food Bank and Feral Cat Rehabilitation Society. The cats had not eaten for several days.
Dominguez, spokesperson for the society, said people abandoning cats have become an issue over the past few years, and attributes the problem to social media.
“The new social network sites in Sooke are allowing people to announce free kittens or kittens for $50 or $75. These ‘cheap’ kittens are not spayed, neutered, vaccinated or de-wormed, and after a couple of pregnancies, the people who do not want to run a kitten-mill throw them out like garbage,” Dominguez said.
“People are using kittens to make beer money and our group is the one who has to pick up the poor terrorized animals after.”
Dominguez said the society has been working to keep the feline population under control, but Sooke is “inundated by backyard kitten and puppy breeders.”
Boyko said this is the first time something like this has happened at the museum that he could recall, and couldn’t speculate why someone would abandon them there.
Don Brown, chief bylaw officer for the Capital Regional District’s Animal Care Services, said backyard breeders are an issue in the area, but disagreed that there has been an increase because of social media.
“We actually use social media to our advantage because we are able to re-home animals more efficiently,” said Brown. “Especially if one is really sick or needs surgery, people will often step forward and help with the costs. Or if someone lost their animal it helps us get them home a lot more easily.”
He explained that backyard breeders have always been a problem to look out for, so people just need to be aware of where they are buying their animals.
“You’re best off buying them from a reputable place like a pet store, the SPCA or ourselves, where the animals are well cared for and have all their shots before they are adopted out,” said Brown.
To report an abandoned cat or dog, contact the CRD Animal Shelter at 250-658-5745.