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.