Hefty fines may stop people from abandoning cats, says Hilden woman

Harry Sullivan
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HILDEN - Enough is enough, already.
So says Sherry Belanger of pet owners who treat their animals like disposable possessions by dropping them off at a strange location for others to deal with.
"It hurts me," the Hilden resident said, "because these animals don't understand why they are being abandoned."
Belanger currently has a stray cat that recently began appearing around her house and which is fighting with the cats she already has. With a dog and three cats already taking up residence in her home - two of which were strays - Belanger doesn't need another mouth to feed.
And she said many of her friends and neighbours are faced with the same dilemma.
"The majority of people in the area has at least one stray cat as a pet," she said.
Belanger believes the cats are being dropped off at a nearby farm with the expectation they will be well received there.
"They see a farm, they say
'oh, they'll be taken care of and they'll have a nice place out of the weather.'"
But not all cats remain at the farm, she said, and they end up wandering off in search of a free meal and a warm bed somewhere else.
"To me, it would be the same as a child, their parent takes them out on a back road and just drops them off and says, 'here, fend for yourself.' Think of how a child would feel. How would you feel if you were a child and your parents did that to you?
"And that's what it is. You're the parent. An animal is a commitment, it's a lifelong commitment to the animal as long as that animal is alive."
If you can't make that commitment, Belanger said, "don't take on the job."
She believes hefty fines should be in place for anyone caught and convicted of abandoning a pet by disposing of it the way they would a candy wrapper.
And she has equal disdain for pet owners who do not have their animals spayed or neutered to help prevent unwanted young. For people who believe they can't afford such an expense, Belanger said all local veterinary clinics offer a service where people can set up an account by making weekly payments until the total is accumulated before the operation takes place.
At the very least, she said, don't make your pet someone else's problem simply because you are tired of it.
"Sometimes, you've got to say enough is enough."

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Recent comments

  • Larry
    January 18, 2010 - 10:13

    Misty, Michelle, and anonymous,
    I don't believe that any member of the SPCA would tell you to dump an animal back outside. I know a few people involved in the Colchester SPCA and as far as I know the whole group are all volunteers. I would say to be a volunteer for animals you would have to love animals. So consequently, I don't believe you. You should try volunteering there yourselves before you criticize so harshly.

  • anonymous
    January 18, 2010 - 10:03

    There is no excuse for abandoning animals on the streets, but maybe if the S.P.C.A eased up on their adoption process (just a little) there would be more room for them to take in the animals that people feel they cant take care of....

  • Michelle
    January 18, 2010 - 09:56

    I really think that the Daily News should do a story on the SPCA!! People are dumping these helpless animals and shouldnt be, but when people like me try to help and call the SPCA THEY WONT AND CANT HELP!! NEVER!! I actually had someone rescue a kitten from under the wheel well of a car and when we called SPCA they told us just to dump it back outside as they couldnt help! Can you imagine DUMP IT BACK OUTSIDE !?!?! We wonder why people dump animals :-( Its a shame and people caught should be fined but lets also look at the SPCA!!

  • Tanya
    January 18, 2010 - 09:55

    Well, Mr Larry from Alberta...I have had the exact same response from this SPCA. We had a stray cat hanging around our house, we called the SPCA. Their response was to stop feeding it and it will go away It was late fall at the time, and I just could not do that to any animal. We really couldn't take on another animal, but we did. He is a beautiful cat. But I'll tell you, I have not heard very good things about this branch. We also have another stray, who has by my estimation, has never had a home.(extremely timid) He now lives in our garage, with his own little door and heated space. But I guarantee you, I will never call on the SPCA to help again. And these people who dump their pets...shame on you. How heartless can you be.??

  • anonymous
    January 18, 2010 - 09:55

    I agree that ditching your animals is cruel and unfair. We had several strays in our neighbourhood this year, including babies. I called the SPCA and they of course were no help! I had to scrap a baby off the end of my driveway one morning before heading to take the kids to school and me to work. It was the saddest thing I have seen. One of the older cats started making his residence on my step under my barbeque. I have two cats of my own and could not have another, I was in the midst of packing to move as it was. I again called the SPCA in hopes that they would find him a home or take him in, I even showed up there with him. There response was take him back to the neighbourhood and throw him back out! A place an ad on Kiji and a woman from Yarmouth started trying to help and in the end she found someone from Halifax to drive to Truro and pick the cat up. She then drove all the way from Yarmouth to Halifax to pick him up. She found him a home and took him to the vet out of her own expense, all this and we found out he had a serious upper respitory infection and Leukemia and was put to sleep!! Imagine if no-one helped him, he would still be suffering. Before you decide to ditch your animal think of what could happen to it. Also maybe the SPCA should try actually helping these poor strays!!! I saw empty cages when I was there!!

  • John R
    January 18, 2010 - 09:53

    I really think this is cruel I would love to have a nice cat being a senior it would be such good company for me

    call me John Blair

  • Sarah
    January 18, 2010 - 09:50

    The SPCA does have a few paid employees there! And yes, it's hard to get them to take in an animal. It seems they don't ever seem intersted or in making you feel they care about the strays.
    If I could take them all in, I surely would!
    But one of the worst dumping grounds around seems to be the Race track in Bible Hill and those people make me sick!

  • Sam
    January 18, 2010 - 09:43

    Some would argue, but I believe animals [cats] are not much different that children. They are unable to care for themselves and have no concept of abandonment.

    There should be HEFTY fines for people who abandon their pets. Taking one step back, cats should be licensed. Incentives for spaying and neutring cats should also be offered. There has been little to no effort done in this area and we are seeing the consequences.

    Hearing stories like this makes me want to give our three indoor cats some attention - think I'll do that now.

    PS Mr Blair - you will love having a cat as a companion! If you call the Colchester SPCA I am sure they could connect you with a furry little bundle of fun!

  • misty
    January 18, 2010 - 09:39

    i would never think of dumping a pet,,,but HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO GET THE SPCA TO HELP OUT BY TAKING A CAT ,,,
    we lost our home in a fire a few years ago,,,our insurance would pay for us to stay at the STONEHOUSE MOTEL IN TRURO,,,where they have a policy of one cat and one dog per room...we had a 6 month old kitten and a momma cat and 3 newborn kittens,,plus a med size dog...
    we had to unwillingly part with the momma and her babbies or not have a roof over our heads...

    WE called SPCA and asked them to help us but they were too full up....i know they do have FOSTER HOMES for the kitties..i had no-one who would help us,,,so i DID TELL THEM THE MEDIA WOULD BE COMING UP TO THEIR BUILDING WHEN I BROUGHT UP THE CATS,,,,what was i to do,,,DUMP THEM,,or they WOULD find room for them....all of a sudden they started to co-operate and found space...