Monday, November 19, 2012

Here kitty, kitty!

Depending on where around town one collects their information on the issue of Feral Cats, the situation in Prince Rupert is either an inconvenience to home owners, or a bit of a social disaster for the community which needs immediate action.

The Feral Cat issue has the usual earmarks of an emotional one, the very earnest proponents of feral cat feeding stations and SPCA devotees, on the same side but perhaps with a different interpretation to a degree, as to the steps required to solve the issue.

They all however seem to be on the same page on one item, Prince Rupert has a feral cat problem that only seems to be getting worse, as the feral cats, for the most part traced back to abandoned pets over the years, continue to breed.

The topic became a hot button issue for some recently when the SPCA approached Council for matching funding to start up a program to address the problem, a trap, neuter and and release program.

The SPCA could access a $7,500 grant, if it can come up with community support for another $7,500. Towards that plan, the SPCA appeared in front of City council on September 4th to outline their plans, the requirements of it and if council has it a bit of cash to put towards it as well. (See SPCA presentation :02 minutes to :27 minutes)

The issue came to City Council again this past week, when supporters of a feeding program came forward to offer up their suggestion of a number of feral cat feeding stations around town and seeking the support of council for it.

The presentation ( found at the :21 minutes to :53 minutes on the November 13th Council video recording) provided their thoughts on the topic, offered a few suggestions and asked for Council to become more active in the process.

It will be a debate that perhaps council will tackle again, when they meet next. At least that is the wish of Councillor Ashley who on Tuesday evening, urged council to provide the presenters of the night the courtesy of consideration, suggested council take some time to explore the issues and discuss it at the November 26th meeting.

It will be a touchy issue for Council to look over, strapped for cash as they are, with any number of local groups already finding their funding reduced, the prospect of providing a cash injection to the project could be something that council may have problems moving forward on.

Beyond that, there seems to be a split in the community over the concept of the trap and release project, which returns the feral cats into the community, still exposed to the elements and at risk. A number of people in the community are suggesting a humane euthanizing program might be the best approach to deal with the crisis.

Regardless of their decision, we imagine the topic will remain a popular, if not heated one around town and will come back to council again in the near future.

Some background on the problem can be found below.

Northern View-- Cat lovers ask the City of Prince Rupert to become part of the feral cat solution
Northern View-- SPCA asking City for money to help control feral cat population

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