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REPORTING · 23rd June 2011
Walter McFarlane
As if to prove a point, the day after the presentation below, a dog was dropped off at the shelter prior to the workers arrival, simply left by it's owner for them to find. The workers had difficulty getting it in as when they would approach, it would bark at them. This photo was taken just before evening.

Maryanne Baumbach stepped up at the City Council Meeting on Monday, June 6th to speak about options to end several of the recent cases of Animal Abandonment and overpopulation in Kitimat.

She requested a grant for $20,000 and explained $35,000, which was donated to the Humane Society through the sale of a house, was being quickly depleted through costs associated with Spay/Neutering and medical Costs.

“We have been trying to get those people who seem to be wanting to reproduce cats, kittens, puppies,” said Baumbach.

Another cost is transferring animals to other communities. This cost $4,500 to take them to Quesnel. They were able to send some cats but most shelters are full of cats already. She moved on to a microchip program to help deal with the animal control problems in the community.

“Our shelter alone took in 1130 animals, and they are all Kitimat Animals,” said Baumbach. “But as the numbers are getting higher and, something I hoped was not going to happen and I thought we were getting a pretty good control of it once we got the newer facility that got more room, well then people were dumping them, locking them up in boxes outside the shelter, there was dogs tied to the door or they were just turning them loose increasing our population.”

They are working hard to place the animals but dogs are easier to place and adoption rates are much higher. They have 140 cats. She explained the cats are the result of wild cats. People do not want to destroy the kittens so they dump them. The kittens then become a larger problems in the community and have to be euthanized.

“The microchip program is the one that I would really like to push forward with now, making sure every animal within our community is micro chipped. This will give us the opportunity to get a hold of who is fixed, who is not fixed, in a database of what exactly what we have in our community and where we need to go from there,” said Baumbach.

Micro-chipped animals will be easier to return to their owners as it is a form of identification. This would solve abandonment issues as they could formally charge people who abandon their pets.

Volunteers will be going door to door to get a list of the animals, letters will be going out to the community. “We would like to make micro-chipping mandatory in the community,” said Baumbach. She added when this is done, Kitimat should push forward a mandatory spay/neuter bylaw.

She suggested making it difficult to own an unfixed pet, by raising the cost of an unfixed dogs license or charging a breeding license and a kennel license for owners with unfixed pets.

”I know it sounds like we’re being very… expecting people to follow through like we’re demanding it but, I think, at this day and age, we should be demanding it because there is no reason why the shelter should be over run and filled like that,” said Baumbach. “If you can’t afford to own a pet, you shouldn’t own it. Owning it is a privilege, not a necessity.”

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know how they were going to put a chip in every pet. Baumbach explained they would be advertising the chipping program so the good owners would come forward. Then they will be going door to door and talking to people about the program.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know what was involved. Baumbach stated this is no different then a vaccination. A chip goes into the needle and it goes into the back of the neck into the loose skin, the animal does not notice it.

Goffinet verified from staff this program would require a bylaw. The answer is it would.

Feldhoff made a motion to begin a micro-chipping program and draft a bylaw to make it mandatory. He expressed this was the highest priority and by passing the motion, they would be able to open other doors. He wanted to look at the licensing program. He wanted to look at the spay neuter program another day.

It was carried.
Not the Best answer
Comment by Kim on 26th June 2011
I don't believe the micro chip program is the answer. Who will enforce it? How much time and money will be spent on chasing people down who won't chip their pets? Cameras are good for people willing to show their face. The cheap spay and neuter program would be the best thing for the community. Will there be support from local vets?
micro chipping
Comment by Tara on 25th June 2011
I compleatly agree, why should the good and responsible pet owners have to put chips in their pets because of the bad ones. The video camera is a great idea, then the people who are caught dropping off animals could be fined. Our pets are our children and we decide what happens to them. A spay and neuter program that would make it more affordable for pet owners to get their pets fixed would be greatly benificial to out small town. There is not alot of jobs here which makes money tight, and it makes it difficult to fix the pets that they choose to get. Just because of lack of money does not mean that you are a bad pet owner. I say put up video cameras, fine the people who drop off pets and for god sake sped some money on a spay and neuter program to make it more affordable. Thanks
re: Micro-Chipping Our Pets
Comment by John Da Costa on 24th June 2011
Boy did my eyes pop when I read that coucil wants to make "Micro-Chipping" our pets mandatory in Kitimat. Whats going on here? I'm sorry people are abandoning pets on the steps of the shelter but now we have to "Chip" our pets because of them? What's next, our budgies, goldfish, turtles? Too many people are flushing them down the drain and causing our sewer systems to back up. If people are abandoning animals at the shelter, couldn't a couple of video cameras reduce this problem? I remember that cameras were a solution to reducing damage to the City Centre are not so long ago. Is Micro Chipping going to be the answer to that as well? How long will it be before council forces us to Chip our kids so we can monitor the good ones and the bad ones, (parents and kids alike). All I can say is that if the pet is mine, then "I" decide if it gets chipped or not. Thank You.
Thank Goodness for Maryanne
Comment by Linda on 23rd June 2011
If you're thinking about letting your pet have a litter , it should be mandatory you go down to a shelter and watch them euthanize all the dumped, unloved and unwanted pets. Then see how you feel about it.
Education on spaying and neutering and lisencing hasn't seemed to work with some people so we have to get a little more proactive. The microchip program sounds like a wonderful way not only to reunite owners with lost pets, but to track people that think pets are disposible toys they can dump on a whim.
If they wont be responsible on their own, make them.
And I would have absolutely no problem microchipping irresponsible owners as well. Lets keep track of them as well. Many of them dump one pet, just to get another shortly after.