Town of Parry Sound seeks municipal support for cat shelter
PARRY SOUND – The town is looking for support from area municipalities to fund an animal shelter for the region.
Last week, council postponed a report and recommendation from bylaw enforcement officer Tammy Purdy that said the town could not financially afford to run such a facility.
Council also postponed its decision to put $3,500 into the animal control budget for the spaying or neutering of feral cats.
Since the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) closed its doors in Parry Sound in 2007, the problem with feral and stray cats in the area has steadily grown.
A volunteer-run cat shelter operated in town for a time, but also had to close, due to a lack of support, in October 2010.
Last year the town opened a regional dog pound building, with four of the area municipalities – McDougall, Whitestone, Seguin and Carling – financially supporting its construction.
The town is hopeful it can get the same financial support to deal with the feral/stray cat issue, that municipal officials say, isn’t just a Town of Parry Sound problem,
“First I’d like to thank Dr. Hilary Turnbull (with Georgian Animal Hospital) for her efforts in terms of what her staff and her clinic do for feral cats that are bought to her and the stray cats,” said Coun. Brad Horne.
Turnbull wrote a letter to each of the area municipal leaders, talking about the escalating issue that needs to be addressed by all municipalities.
“Since the closing of the Parry Sound OSPCA shelter, I usually have at least 10-plus cats or kittens looking for homes,” wrote Turnbull in her November 23, 2012 letter. “These cats are fed, vaccinated, dewormed, flea products applied, medicated, spayed or neutered, euthanized if necessary, all at my expense…So far, in 2012, we have adopted out approximately 100 cats and kittens from all townships. Stray and feral cats are becoming more of a nuisance than stray dogs and it behooves the townships to develop a protocol for dealing with the problem forthwith.”
There was discussion about using the town’s existing temporary impound trailer for housing stray cats, however, it was determined to be unsuitable.
“The new pound commenced operation at the end of August 2012 and the trailer is no longer being used,” Purdy said. “An assessment on the trailer was completed by bylaw staff and it was noted that the trailer has a distinct aroma which permeates most materials – an ammonia smell from urine and bleach. Further, it is being assumed that there is an accumulation (of) urine and possible mould – from an accumulation of water – under the puck board located on the floor. Bylaw staff had to continuously caulk the cages; water and urine did seep under the puck board which may have caused deterioration to the floor.”
Purdy recommended the trailer not be used and that the town disposes of it for scrap metal.
During discussions, Mayor Jamie McGarvey asked Purdy if any of the other municipalities were asked to contribute to a cat shelter.
“We’ve only done that through our pound committee, so it’s been management staff who have given council’s opinion, but there’s been no letters or anything written to the surrounding municipalities,” said Purdy.
McGarvey requested a letter be written to all municipalities requesting financial support. “This is not all the town’s problem, and I think that needs to be addressed and looked at,” McGarvey said.
Council decided to postpone voting on the report and recommendations until after it hears back from area municipalities.
“Stray and feral cats do not come from just within the town boundaries,” wrote town CAO Rob Mens in Purdy’s report. “Area municipal reps have consistently indicated that they are not prepared to assume responsibility yet, the problem seems to be focused within the town.”