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REPORTING · 23rd March 2011
Walter McFarlane
The Kitimat Human Society arrived on one of the coldest mornings in 2011 to find a storage container on their doorstep.

“We’d come in on the coldest snap of the last one that we had and there was a tote sitting in front of our door and I was thinking: Blankets or bottles or food, which is quite common. As we got to the door, there was snow and ice on it, a little tiny hole in the top and you could see eyes,” said Maryann Baumbach Shelter Manager

The cats inside had been traumatized by the experience. There were no blankets or anything inside for their comfort. The box had been there since before 7:00 am although the Humane Society has no idea when it arrived. It was cold enough the cats could have frozen to death.

“[The cats] are doing very good, they were stressed but they are now nurturing with the handling and the food and the warmth so they have come around very good,” said Baumbach.

In addition, there have been deposits at the New Animal Shelter which has not had any animals moved into it. Regardless of this fact, the Humane Society has found cats locked in the outdoor communal cages, a dog tied to the front door and they cannot prove the owners are.

“This is not acceptable. You shouldn’t be leaving the animal tied up and on most of these occasions, it’s through the coldest weather temperatures,” said Baumbach.

The truth of the matter is, the current animal shelter is still full of pets to the point where they can not take more. They try to help people find homes for their pets but the owners still have to hold the animal during this time.

“And as awful as it sounds, if they can’t keep the animal and no shelter can take it, then they should do the kindest thing. If they can’t find that good perfect home for them is to put them to sleep but that should be the owners responsibility, it shouldn’t be us,” said Baumbach.

Overcrowding the animals in the current shelter causes stress and illness on the animals and the shelter has to make the decision to euthanize the animal.

Currently, the shelter has 32 dogs which include four which are out in foster care. They should have no more then 12. The shelter is holding 65 cats which is 35 cats over their limit.

“It doesn’t seem to matter to people. It doesn’t matter what our problems are, they need to unload their problem and they’ll do it one way or the other,” said Baumbach.

Baumbach stated they wish to maintain the same numbers at the new shelter because they do not wish to overcrowd the new facilities. The reasons why people need to abandon their pets is mostly related to not having the money to care for them.

She advised pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered. The two shelters in Terrace Euthanize 700-800 cats a year. Kitimat has only put down 350.

“It’s very sad when you have to end a life because there is no home or they are getting sick or their getting stressed,” said Baumbach. “Pets are a privilege, they are not a necessity and if you don’t have the finances and you don’t have the resources to care for them, right to their fullest, for the lifetime commitment they are required to be given, then you shouldn’t own it.”
animals out in the cold
Comment by vanne hanisch-godoy on 24th March 2011
Some people just DON'T deserve to have pets!!!!
I realize money is short...
Comment by Mike Forward on 23rd March 2011
I realize money is short, but perhaps some simple security cameras could be placed on premises attached to a TV with VCR recording. Catch these terrible people so they can at least be charged with animal cruelty...it's sickening.