The Niagara Region is very fortunate to have so many people that truly care about animals, their welfare, their rights, their lives. For the next few days I am going to shed some light on a few of these organizations and their amazing founders.
It is time to meet some people who saw a need, developed a plan, acted and have made an incredible difference.
Port Colborne Feline Initiative (PCFI)
In early 2009, a handful of caring, clever, determined women recognized the need to reduce the “community” and feral cat situation in Port Colborne and surrounding area. Because Port Colborne has a By Law in effect “banning” free roaming cats, Kristi Mallinson Vogel, Wendy Ross and Barbara Butters lobbied the City Council to endorse a Community Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) program. The council wisely did endorse this initiative in writing but as yet have not passed a By Law . This action is on the list for 2013. We will watch and listen and do what ever we can to help make this successful program passed as the norm and not the exception.
So in June of 2009, the trapping began. Since that time five hundred and fifty cats have had the distinction of going through one of three PCFI programs, the TNVR, a subsidized spay neuter for low income households and KitKat, a foster/adoption for kittens born to community cats.
Each cat that goes through the process is spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies. Eartipping is performed to ensure that if trapped again or picked up by well intentioned public or animal shelter they will know the cat is a community cat, has been altered and should let it go on its merry way. If warranted the cat will also receive a treatment of Revolution.
Some think that TNVR is inappropriate because the cats “suffer” from being left in the “wild”. Let’s clear up this fallacy right now. First of all there is huge possibility these cats were born in the wild and as such know no other existence and just like other wildlife will fend for themselves. They will seek shelter, they will forage for food and they will develop a society or colony. Statistically, a community cat has a greater chance (35%) of survival on the street than it does in a shelter. That could not be more true than at LCHS where community cats are slaughtered the moment they arrive. People will bring in a box of community kittens that will then be unceremoniously killed by heartsticking without an attempt to foster or adopt.
There are those that will argue, community cats are nothing but predators that prey on cute little birds. Yes, a cat, any cat may very well bring down a bird, just like they will eat mice and other vermin, but then so do coyotes, larger birds, possum etc. It is more likely that you and I and our abuse of the environment are more responsible for the decline in pretty little birds than community cats. There is actually a wild life rehabber in the Post Colborne area that advocates killing feral cats in order to save wildlife. Her killing method of choice? POISON or SHOOTING! This is one of the saddest cases of speciesism to which I have been exposed.
PCFI, manages a number of colonies in the Port Colborne area. These incredible people feed and build shelters for the colonies. Volunteers are trained according the Cat Protocol of New York City, click here for more information on this program. The cost for a spay neuter with PCFI is comparable to that which is quoted by the OSPCA Low Cost High Volume Clinics.
How do they do it? They work hard, they scrounge for every dollar to support the initiative. They have bottle drives, Christmas bazaars, Pet Portrait events just to name a few. They are a registered Canadian Charity that operates with full transparency and total integrity.
Incredibly, all three of these women and a number of their fellow volunteers have applied for membership at LCHS. Now if I was running a Humane society and I could avail myself of the kind of tenacity, determination and imagination it takes to run an operation like PCFU, I would not only welcome these marvelous people with open arms I would be asking them to work with me to establish a TNVR program. This program would coincide with the low cost, high volume spay neuter clinic schedules to open in a couple of weeks at LCHS. This combines with foster care , innovative and aggressive adoption events, encouraging and counseling pet retention, medical and behavioural programmes, public relations/community development, working with rescue groups, volunteers. Oh hey, that’s the No Kill Equation! Just missing one element, A COMPASSIONATE, STRONG INNOVATIVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS!
Follow PCFI on Facebook. click her for FB link. They have just reached 500 likes, lets get them to 1,000! Support this amazing program and these beautiful people. I do!
Tomorrow the Fantastic Felina O’Feral!