Help needed to fix stray cats: DeVouge

Matt Veno
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Help needed to fix stray cats: DeVouge

BIBLE HILL - As an animal lover, Lynn DeVouge is heartbroken when she sees stray cats left to fend for themselves.
It's a sight she deals with every day at her Hillcrest Avenue home in Bible Hill and one she says can be fixed.
DeVouge says if laws are introduced and government assistance available to help veterinarians and citizens spay or neuter their cats, or help euthanize strays as a last resort, the problem would be alleviated.
"If they were spayed or neutered it
would keep them from breeding," she said. "And it would help people deal with them humanely."
Dr. Jennifer McKay, a veterinarian at the Central Nova Animal Hospital agreed. She felt making financial options open to owners would help them deal with their pets properly.
"Yeah probably," she said. "They would be more apt to make sure they're looked after."
DeVouge said the problem has been in her neighbourhood for the past several years. Strays that have been left behind and other pets that aren't spayed or neutered have been multiplying. In the past three years a stray she had been feeding has been pregnant five times.
DeVouge, a volunteer at the SPCA, said she was able to find homes for the first litter, but hasn't been as successful with the others since.
"You just run out of people," she said. "A lot of people already have cats or other pets."
After trying unsuccessfully to find homes for a littler of four, and with the Colchester SPCA already full, DeVouge felt she had no other choice but to have them euthanized.
The bill came to $98.76.
DeVouge says that's a cost most people are unable or unwilling to pay, forcing them to either abandon or destroy the animals in other ways.
"That's why so many people shoot them or drown them or hit them over the head," she said. "I hate to see that done."
But now even she says she's at her wits end wondering what to do with strays showing up on her step looking for shelter.
"What do I do next time?" she said. "Do I just turn a blind eye?"
Currently the County of Colchester provides some funding to the SPCA to have cats at the facility spayed and neutered before they are adopted to homes.
As for introducing bylaws to control the situation, Colchester Mayor Bob Taylor said they likely wouldn't do much good.
"It would be very hard to enforce," he said. "If you can't enforce it there's no sense in having one."
DeVouge said the situation in her neighbourhood is unfair.
"A lot of people look after their pets," she said. "So why should we have to look after other people's too?"
DeVouge said she understands veterinary clinics are a business and need to make a profit, but said if vets could possibly reduce costs through assistance, it would help control the stray population.
"I don't know the answer and I wish I did but if cats were spayed or neutered it would probably cut the stray population in half," she said.


Organizations: Central Nova Animal Hospital

Geographic location: Hillcrest Avenue, Bible Hill, Colchester

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Recent comments

  • becky
    January 20, 2013 - 22:26

    I've always heard about New Glasgow being a very inexpensive place to have your pets neutered. Which vet would you recommend?

  • Sarah
    January 18, 2010 - 10:10

    While I agree that this woman looking after the strays is very admirable, something does need to be done on another level as she can not do it all herself.
    For Gilliad, please ask your friends because I guarantee the service is good and the prices lower. Or call the vet yourself and check (you also get a $20 discount on vaccinations if you do more than one pet at once!!)
    For me personally, being from Pictou County, I can spend the day with family and friends so there is no extra cost other than the gas and it still tallies up cheaper.
    I have used the local vets in an emergency and found them to be great. Particularly Central Nova. However, in a non-emergency situation, I go to New Glasgow. And yes, I do have a sligth dislike for the Truro Vet because of a circumstance where my cat was hit by a car and they refused to let me in. I was told to come back tomorrow and I could be fit in!! Since then, my emergencies go to Central Nova, everything else to New Glasgow.
    My four-legged famil members are very well looked after and their health is a top priority but I don't want to feel taken advantage of because of it, by paying rediculous fees.

  • Fred
    January 18, 2010 - 10:07

    Just called a few vets in NS. Seems flea meds are upto 40% cheaper there than Truro.

  • Sarah
    January 18, 2010 - 09:58

    Well I'm from there, so I may be slightly biased, but the price really is cheaper and the service is fantastic!
    I had both my cats vaccinated, 1 neutered, 1 ears cleaned + ear drops and the bill came to $218 tax included for everything!! It's incredible how much difference there is.
    Maybe if enough people start pulling out of the Truro vets and heading to NG, the vets here will get the hint and start charging more reasonably.
    I really am a hugh advocate for spaying/neutering your pets and it really upsets me to see such a lax attitude towards it and to see so many stray/homeless cats around so why can't the vets get together and offer one day a month each, at a significantly reduced rate, where people can bring in their pets and have them fixed?
    Yes they are a business out to make profits but why can't they be proactive and do something like this as a community service?

  • Joan
    January 18, 2010 - 09:53

    I'm not bashing Truro vets, I think we have some of the best vets in NS, just stating a fact, when I need to spay or neuter a cat because, living in the country people think its the best place to drop off an unwanted cat ...I go to New Glasgow, If I need needles or a visit or heaven forbid an emergency I head to central nova.
    and just so you know Gilliad... the service in New Glasgow is perfect, lovely people to deal with, they just don't charge as much for their spays and neuters.

  • Sarah
    January 18, 2010 - 09:50

    I agree about the astronomical vet prices here in Truro. It's rediculous what they charge people. For instance, having a male cat neutered: $129 + tax, $50 for bloodwork prior to the surgery, and another $50 - $60 for a visitation fee.
    A - the bloodwork is totally unnecessary and B - a visitation fee? Seriously? It's no wonder people who could otherwise be wonderful owners can not afford to take their pets to be fixed!!
    I take my pets to New Glasgow Vet for all of their appointments and the price, even with gas included, is still so much cheaper. $60 tax included, no visitation fees, nothing else, to have a male cat fixed!!!
    Why such a difference??!!

  • John R
    January 18, 2010 - 09:49

    I myself would would love to a tabby or a calico or a nice house cat, I love animals and find so much much company for a single senior it would be a wonderful home that I could give, but financial I could not afford to purchase one- trust me. John Blair

  • Krista
    January 18, 2010 - 09:48

    The cost of spaying/neutering is astronomical in Truro. I have five cats, all indoor (had six at one time). All are either spayed or neutered.

    Three cats were done in Truro, each at $300 a piece (1 female/2males).

    Three cats were done in Tatamagouche for $90 total.

    Is there a wonder that strays are so prevelant here? Vets are a business...a gouging business.

  • Charinator
    January 18, 2010 - 09:46

    Don't single out the vets.

    Cars are thousands of dollars cheaper outside of truro area.

    Professional services are cheaper.

    Truro is an old town full of tradition that allows people to ignore a good deal in favor of keeping it local. Proprietors know it and show no mercy.

  • Joan
    January 18, 2010 - 09:45

    same here, and I tell everyone I know or meet that owns cats... head to New Glasgow, I've had 2 females spayed and 1 male neutered in New Glasgow for the price Truro charges for 1 spay!

  • Sassy
    January 18, 2010 - 09:42

    Gilliad: You are a wonderful person and lucky that you can offer and afford to pay vet bills for a stranger's pet.

    When we needed to put our beloved dog down we had to pay an extra after hours emergency fee because there was no vet on duty at the time we needed to end her suffering. Too bad we didn't find the same kind hearted vet in Truro that you did. The one we used charged a special extra fee for the non-office hours help -- the emerg. fee was charged for the vet AND another emerg fee was charged for her assistant to come in. Plus the actual cost of having her put down.

    Vets are expensive. If a quick drive can save some a family money, I say go for it. Who cares where you go, just so long as you make the effort to spay or neuter. :)

  • SPCAajoke
    January 18, 2010 - 09:39

    I agree the vets charge are way too much for getting the animals fixed. Yes you can get a pet from the SPCA that is already fixed for i think 100 bucks but that is if you pass their test. Which most time you don't pass and they wonder why they have so many cats. They won't give you a cat if it is going to be an outside cat. Which is crazy they are an animal who love to roam let them have a freedom especial if they are fixed. And who are these SPCA people to say whether or not you are going to be good or not for the pet they don't know you or how you are around an animal.

  • Gilliad
    January 18, 2010 - 09:38

    Some really interesting comments here, although unfortunately the whole article has turned into a witch hunt aimed at local veterinarians. Quite a switch from the tale of a kind soul taking care of stray cats, don't you think? Of course, the reporter and/or editor had nothing to do with that. Noooooooo!

    I'm a little surprised to see what appears to be a huge difference in fees between Truro and New Glasgow. I have very good friends in New Glasgow who own two cats, and I intend to get their feedback. Not that I doubt what anyone here is saying, but I'd like to know if we're comparing apples to apples or apples to figs.

    However, unless some of you are driving mopeds, I honestly can't see how you can put the gas in the car, drive over there - expending the time required is something you can't put a price on, but there has to be a cost somewhere - get the procedure(s) done, and drive back home for any appreciable difference between paying the higher vet's fees here and being there and back in about 15 minutes.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm not calling any of you liars by ANY stretch of the imagination, but it does flash a red light in my brain.

    We've taken our various pets to the same vet since my wife moved here about 20 years ago. Most of the trips have been strictly for shots, etc., but we also had to have one beloved cat and a greatly loved dog euthanized.

    Without exception, whether it's been a simple shot or pill, minor surgery, or the needle of mercy, we and our four-legged family members have been treated with kindness, respect, and patience. Never once have we felt we were being rushed through any process - and quite frankly, that's worth a few dollars to us.

    And then there was the vet at another Truro area animal hospital who left her family at 10 o'clock at night to attend to a dog which my wife had picked up on the side of College Road. Some cretin had obviously hit her with (probably) a speeding vehicle and kept on going.

    We kept assuring the vet that, although the animal was not ours, and we're certainly not wealthy folks, we would cover any costs. This professional - and make no mistake, they are professionals who paid a lot of money to use the term veterinarian - finally smiled and told us not to worry, if the owner couldn't be found, there would be no cost for the procedures, and they'd work with us in finding a new home for the patient.

    The owners were found and, fortunately, based on where they live, could probably afford the vet's bill which, because there was organ and body structure damage, must have been astronomical.

    The point is, the supposed gouging vet was prepared to give up her time AND her fee for the sake of a suffering dog.

    So, for you folks who want to fight a winter storm or a speeding ticket if, heaven forbid, it's an emergency situation to go to New Glasgow, go for it.

    As for us and our four-legged family members, we'll pay a couple of extra dollars and buy at home .