Google “SPCA overcrowding” and it’s obvious the problem of trying to house too many felines is not a problem exclusive to Kamloops, our province or even Canada.
Stories on the Internet show it has been an issue in Penticton, Kelowna and Victoria; in Alberta cities like Calgary and Medicine Hat; in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and even New Zealand.
The videos and stories are predictably heart-breaking; who could not be moved by shots of cute, helpless kittens?
Obviously there are some people immune to the animals’ plight, however, or we wouldn’t hear stories like that of the local hunter finding five kittens abandoned in the bush with only their cat carrier and a wet blanket.
How someone could think that was a reasonable solution to not wanting the kittens is beyond understanding but we can guess at a few possible excuses: They had nowhere to take them as the shelter was full, they had tried to give them away, they couldn’t afford to care for them, were moving . . .
To deal with overcrowding, SPCAs try many strategies like slashing adoption costs for a period of time, asking the public to consider adopting a pet, urging people to try to keep their cats when possible, and reducing spay and neuter fees to encourage owners to stop their pets from having more unwanted offspring.
The public often suggests the solution is to simply build larger shelters to house more unwanted animals.
But like everybody else, SPCAs are under funding constraints and the responsibility cannot fall solely upon the non-profit to find a magic solution. After all, estimates show that one cat and her offspring could produce 420,000 kittens in seven years.
The public can also help by keeping watch for irresponsible pet owners. If your neighbour, for example, is steadily putting out a “Free kittens” sign, consider asking them why they don’t get their cat fixed and give them contact information for the SPCA’s spay-and-neuter clinic in Kamloops. If you spot something that appears suspicious, report it to the SPCA so an officer can investigate.
Ultimately, the mindset that it is up to the SPCA to fix problems with animal overpopulations is wrong. They do as much as they can, but the public can make a difference, too.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.