Letters

Not enough compassion for cats

To place the dilemma facing dog and cat control at the District of Mission into context one must understand what compassionate animal relations actually mean. Then, from the perspective of an informed person who actually cares, the public will embrace needed funding, facilities and appreciate the mammoth job facing volunteers.

Mission council has perpetuated the indifference and has played lip service to being compassionate and presumably informed, facts not yet in evidence except by indignant response by council members.

I have stated many times in a serious and genuine heart-felt manner my disgust at the need for pro-active actions, not more idle words, that come cheap by doing nothing much constructive.

Similar to lack of respect afforded seniors over the years, cats fall into the same uncaring realm. In both instances I have recommended council place borrowing initiatives on a referendum next election.

The dog animal control facility receives a $300,000 budget and has one revenue generator, dog licences, which account for approximately $215,000. As well, council spent approximately $250,000 for a dog pound. To augment dog control, a relatively comparable dog licence and control bylaw exists and a provision for “dangerous dogs” and kennel operation.

Whereas, the cat animal control are at the mercy of a moribund council who place little value upon volunteers, let alone the mammoth task of countless strays, feral, lost and unwanted litters, emerging monthly from a very prolific cat population. Simply, there is no fair comparison to the growth of unwanted litters from cats compared to dogs. There is no effective TNR program or veterinarian-led spay and neuter blitzes monthly, to eradicate the excessive population of unwanted cats, instead of eliminating inaction exacerbates and perpetuate more litters.

Coun. Tony Luck seems to dwell upon some ratio of 60 per cent of budget used as wages. By contrast, Coun. Larry Nundal, the former director of licences and bylaws, who was uninformed and inactive then perpetuates this by not championing the important issue facing cats, yet claims to have adopted a cat from the humane society, as his saving gesture presumably. Coun. Jenny Stevens still tries to “ride the white horse” in a vain attempts to award an emergency $8,000 one-time supplement. The only actual visible compassion emanates from Coun. Nelson Tilbury who has tried in vain to impress upon colleagues the needs, but is cast aside.

Today, we witness my proposal to establish an $85,000 annual budget, which is a minimum amount and is equivalent to the net proceeds to dog animal control, after revenues are deducted. Yet I find the grants committee, arbitrarily I expect, recommend a $30,000 budget (FVHS had asked for $60,000). In the end, council unwisely increases the Fraser Valley cat control budget via a fee-for-service fee to $30,000, a mere increase of $5,000 over last year, which if not so serious an oversight, is a laughing matter. Equally as bad, we witness council pontificating about FVHS' need to improve their operations and so forth.

Speaking to the ratio of wages, claimed to be 60 per cent of budget, the realities contradict the logic of Coun. The wage cost to operate a current inadequate 30-cat shelter would be the same to operate a 60-cat shelter, the job is the same, whereas volunteers make up the difference in labour provided. Further, council has been remiss to establish needed bylaws, negates opportunity to create breeder permit revenue, lack of facility space similarly negates many community programs and some revenue-generating activities.

Mayor and council are the primary cause of the unwanted cat dilemma experienced, compounded by often exorbitant veterinarian fees; add to this the irresponsible guardian who fails to tattoo, spay or neuter, and the many who allow cats to roam, instead of moving toward an indoor regime.

In my opinion, FVHS policy to turn away cat surrenders when full, is counter-productive to public relations, to charge too much to adopt, and equally Mission staff's idea to pursue fostering only, or mentioning cat licensing.

This scenario continues and is spawned by a truly inept and uninformed council, lacking compassion and willingness to listen to my sage advice and years of animal Advocacy expertise. Instead, I get critiqued by a silly, unfounded and uninformed rant by Coun. Stevens.

Some are claiming to be compassionate, but by their inaction and failure to consult, these uncaring and ignorant people have no idea of the massive suffering by cats, not only being frozen in this winter environment, but many are meals for Coyotes.

And all I get is being challenged as the potential of 3,000 unwanted cats in Mission must be untrue because councillors Dave Hensman and Jeff Jewell do not seem to witness any strays on their street.

George F. Evens

Mission

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