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REPORTING · 7th September 2011
Walter McFarlane
When the Conservation Officers finished their presentation at Kitimat City Council, Tuesday, September 6, they got up to leave the Council Chambers. However, Mayor Joanne Monaghan got up to reel them back in, requesting they stay for another presentation. After the Rotary Club of Kitimat spoke to the upcoming day of peace, Curzio Miani got up to address Council. It was not Council he addressed however; he turned and addressed the Conservation Officers.

“In all my history here, I’ve never heard or seen wolverines running through our town the way they are now. I’ve personally lost three cats and I think some people are laughing. It’s a big joke. They’re property in the eyes of the law, I realize that, but they mean something to me. We phoned and asked them for help, they’re not going to help. They told my wife, the problems over, it’s ok, fine, we’ve lost two cats since then. Some of our neighbours have been kept awake by the wolverine in our back yard,” said Miani.

“This is not normal. I don’t know why you say they’re not aggressive and there is no report about them being aggressive when I have an aggressive action on part of the wolverine. I have a letter here from Anna Marie Carstens and she’s the one who had the personal experience with the Wolverine,” said Miani.

Sergeant Darryl Struthers stated he had a copy of the letter. Miani accused him of lying to Council on those grounds. Struthers promised to respond when Miani was finished. He said he was trying to keep his cats in. He takes care of them but he does not know what to do as they do not always come in at night.

“You don’t sound concerned on the phone, you are dismissive, it’s a big joke. They are not dangerous according to you. I personally do not believe that. I would like to hear what you want to say about that,” said Miani.

Struthers stated they and the RCMP have interviewed him after the attack happened. “Based on the interviews that we had with Mr. Carstons, and I personally spoke to Mr. Carstons. Based on the interviews we received from him, the wolverine did not act aggressively or threatening towards them,” said Struthers.

Miani asked if it was ok for the Wolverine to kill cats. Struthers pointed out Kitimat is surrounded by greenbelts. A responsible pet owner would not let their animal at large for the cat to prey on wildlife, the wildlife will prey on the cat.

In the background of this discussion, Councillor Gerd Gottschling was asking the Mayor if this should be allowed to proceed. Among the responses was ‘this was on the Council Agenda’.

In the meantime, Miani was saying the wildness was his backyard, the neighbour’s back yard and the park across from his house. “Can I say that then, because you made a statement, if my cat is outside, it is assumed to be hunting. Can I assume that if the wolverine is outside, it is hunting and then the hunter can become the hunted, is this what I am to assume?” asked Miani.

Struthers said he did not say that. Monaghan called for this not to become personal. Miani said he was trying not to be personal but it seemed to be ok for wolverines to run wild. After all, his father was a pioneer in the community and the wolverines have never been in Kitimat in the past.

It was suggested they were controlled by trappers and now the price of Wolverine Fur has dropped, the wolverines are no longer being trapped. The wolverines have moved into the town and they have found an easy food source, just like the bears. Miani pointed out they shoot the bears.

Struthers stated it was due to public safety. Monaghan finally stopped the exchange claiming this was beyond what can happen in Council. Miani apologized as he was upset. He then said he felt as if the community was on their own.

“What we ask the public to do is provide us with accurate and timely information and […] we have received reports that, at first 40 cats have disappeared. Then we heard 70 cats. Then we heard fifty cats had disappeared. Then it went to 80, then it went to 100. So, we do not have the complaints that back up this wolverine predating on cats,” said Struthers.

Sheila Eynon, who was sitting in the audience, stated they have done that.

Struthers explained the green spaces attracted wildlife to the community and some of this wildlife would be predators, foxes, Coyotes, wolverines or bears. “If you allow the potential prey source to go out into the wild, you can, in turn, expect wildlife to prey on that. It sounds pretty simplistic, but it’s really that simple. If you want to be a responsible pet owner, you have to look after your pet. If you are letting your pet wander off for two, three nights at a time and then come home, that pet is at risk. I’m sorry, but that is not my choice, that is the pet owner’s choice,” said Struthers.

Monaghan asked if this meant there was no hope of trapping the wolverines, they will just be allowed to run around. Struthers replied there is no threat to public safety based on the information they have right now. He said he was not a wildlife manager, he was a law enforcement officer with a job to protect the public. The Wolverines do not present a threat to public safety and there is no record of a wolverine attacking a person. It is natural for the Wolverines to occupy the habitat they do around Kitimat.

Councillor Randy Halyk stated the Council meeting did not seem like the right place for this exchange to take place. Monaghan said she had asked for any inquiries. Halyk pointed out this was for inquiries to Council, not to an individual.

“It has always been that way Councillor. I’m sorry, it does not change because you do not want it,” said Monaghan.

In the meantime, Eynon had taken to the podium. She supported what Miani had said. She said she was a part of the Bear Committee as was Monaghan and Maryanne Baumbach. They helped usher through the bylaws. Politics got into the committee and someone charged Monaghan with having a squirrel feeder. Apparently there are lots of squirrel feeders in Kitimat.

“The wolverine was seen on Albatross three times last week. We know we’ve never had trouble with it before. Never. I’ve given you all the details and you have pictures of it disintegrated the front of my cushion and left its trail on my yard. It was like a long piece of intestine,” said Eynon referring to the a damage chair cushion and the excrement the animal left behind.

She said they [the CO’s] were short staffed and they have contacted Victoria trying to get more. Eynon expressed she loved the wildlife, the dear, “the everything”. However, she does not want them killing the cats.

She pointed out the Carsten’s cat was taken right from their front lawn. She pointed out two bears got caught in the trap and were destroyed. She said they did not want the bears killed because of the wolverine. When they caught the young wolverine, the older one came back and kept the neighbourhood up.

She asked for help and said they were willing to help them get more staff. She wanted to know why the wolverine was here in Kitimat after all these years. She also accused people in the community who don’t like cats of: “Jumping on the wolverine bandwagon.”

“It’s a joke to lots of people. It’s not a joke,” said Eynon. “We would like help and if we cannot get it, we should try and help the conservation officers. We should work together to try and get help to get some of the answers.”

Monaghan thanked the Conservation Officers for listening and thanked them for their presentation. Monaghan stated this would let them know how people in the town feel. They want something to be done. She added she has not seen this before. Monaghan invited them to stay and see what happens with their motion.

Halyk put two cents in. “I’m a little concerned about all of this. I don’t think this is something that should have happened in the corner of a Council Chamber. I don’t know. I’ve never seen this before, I’ve only been here for three years but I’ve never seen this before; people arguing in the corner of the Council Chamber. I do understand that this is a really visceral kind of feeling. There are concerns in the community about losing an animal, a pet. We all lose pets now and again and it hurts, but we are in the forest. My neighbour just had a porcupine quill their dog. Do we kill all the porcupines because the dogs are in danger? I don’t think so. I really feel that we need to go beyond looking at this as animals going out there and eating our pets. I think that our pets are important to us, they are to me and I wouldn’t like to lose a pet but at the same time, I don’t want to lose the wildlife in this community. If there was no wildlife, I wouldn’t be there,” said Halyk.

Monaghan said she did not want to see any conflict between the wolverines and a child. She did not want to see it happen in her community. Monaghan also hoped the next time she called the Conservation Officers, they would answer.

Baumbach stated during the meeting there were 103 cats missing but one did return home.
Thank Goodness for some common sense
Comment by Linda McGourty on 11th September 2011
I'm very glad there are others , besides me that practice a little common sense in regards to the cats. I was beginning to think I was the only sensible person in Kitimat. You read it here cat owners. We love cats, but dont want them roaming around loose at night crapping in our gardens and repopulating the animal shelter.
Stop trying to kill the wolverine and start protecting your own pets. Keep them in
who cares .
Comment by Ant on 10th September 2011
First off ,anonymous postings are ok as long as they are respectful or add insight to the discussion. Yes maybe I should put my name to my post but at the moment I feel better keeping it private. As for this article ,the only posting i found ridiculous had the name ,or so called name of the poster. The one by Scott Summers.
This is getting stupid.
Comment by Mike Forward on 9th September 2011
There was a time when this website made a public statement (I believe the article is still on this website) saying that the anonymous comments need to stop. Indeed, "acrimonious" was the punch word used as the main reason that the anonymous comments needed to stop.

They now seem to be back, and in force. I'm not sure I see the point? Or is it simply a case of the Daily allowing anonymous comments that support the ridiculing of some but not others?

As for Mrs. Eynon's comments, I offer my full sympathies to anyone who has lost a pet. But there is really a simple solution to the issue--don't let them outside if there is a predator known to be in our midst. I'll repeat myself in saying that it comes down to being a responsible pet owner. That is the easiest solution that we all have control over to solve this "wolverine issue".
Response to Mrs Eynon
Comment by Scott Summers on 8th September 2011
Mrs Eynon I am from the Xavier Institute & I want to assure you that the Wolverine situation is being taken care of & I know how bad wolverines can be as a wolverine came between me & my girlfriend Jean as she nearly left me because of our differing opinions and feelings about the wolverine.

In fact we ended up taking in the wolverine for a time and we named him Logan.

His behavior got too erratic over time and we had to let him loose and we believe this could be the wolverine now in Kitimat.

Dont worry though...I will keep an eye out and so will my colleagues Kurt Wagner, Peter Rasputin, Henry Mccoy, Jean Grey & Charles Xavier.
Comments on Kitimat Council Meeting 6th Sept.2011
Comment by Sheila Eynon on 8th September 2011
I would like to comment on the above meeting and was has transpired since then.

First of all I did not set out to attack Sgt. Darryl Struthers.

I was asked when I went into the Meeting by Walter McFarlane was I going to present - I said No.

Curzio Miani was going to read a letter given to us by Anna-Maria Carstens because she has to be out of town at the time of the meeting.
This unfortunately did not happen as Mr. Miani became upset. I immediately put my hand up and asked whether I could speak and I was told YES.
I got up to support Mr.Miani because he became emotional
This has been a very emotional time for those of us who have lost cats.

I apologise to anyone because I did'nt follow protocol. I did not know I had to address Council and not Sgt.Struthers.
Mr. Miani and I had been told there would be a time when we could speak to an Agenda item.

Conservation, after their initial presentation, were on the way out of the door when Mayor Monaghan followed them and asked them to stay, which they did.
They sat behind myself and Mr. Miani so when Mr. Miani went to speak he had to turn to the Corner where the C.O's were sitting. No one asked us to move..

This was not a SETUP at all which some people think.

Apparently it has been quoted on Kitimat Daily that the Argument continued outside in the Hall because some people heard voices raised. This was not an argument but a discussion.
Mr. Miani and myself were leaving the Meeting to go home and when we got out in the Hall the C.O.,s were still there.
This morning on speaking to Marianne Baumbach she said Sgt. Struthers has asked to talk to her and thats why they were still there. Mr. Miani and I were not aware of this.
We were all discussing to see how this problem could be solved and we understood where the C.O.,s were coming from and that it was not in their mandate and that was all. We parted on good terms and Sgt. Struthers and the other C.O. went on their way.

Mayor Monaghan is an animal lover and tried to help not for any other reson.

Since this issue has started (April 2011) I have been called a "lazy irresponsible pet owner" and now a "downtrodden pet owner" because I have stood up for my animals and sought some help with the Wolverine issue. It has become a laughing matter to a lot of people out there who are cat haters and who are political.
This has been a very emotional time for those of us who have lost pets.
We have tried to get the Convervation Officers but they are not in the office and you get put through to a Centre in Victoria where there are several people and they, in turn, are suppossed to let the local people know.
We thought it was a good opportunity to ask questions - not an ATTACK.

As I have stated before I will not get involved or in the middle of the politics and what happens in Kitimat other than the issue of the cat/wolverine problem.

To all of you in Kitimat who have lost cats or have sighted the Wolverine I am sorry but please DO NOT call me anymore.'If you lose a cat or sight a wolverine please call 1-877-952-7277(Rapp) for the Wolverine and the Humane Society (250-632-7373) if you lose a cat.

I have always tried to help people especially where animals are concerned but this is got
out of hand and now everyone is jumping on the band wagon and it is sickening.

I suggest everyone puts this aside and concentrate on what the town needs and it is not all this crap.

Again I apologise to Mayor and Council or anyone else for any wrong doing on my part - it was not intended.
Thank you.
Sheila Eynon

P.S. I would suggest you people who are writing on Kitimat Daily give your name - I did - why not you?

Comment by Mike Forward on 8th September 2011
Appearances can be deceiving, but they also don't look good. When people who clearly have past dealings with the Mayor (Mrs. Eynon stated herself that she was on the Bare Care committee with Mayor Monaghan) come in to help her grind an axe with the local Conservation Officers, I become confused as to what the greater problem is--that the Mayor of our town has allowed her own petty personal politics to enter into the public domain, or that she permitted the regular council meeting to degrade into this type of off-topic banter.

It's amsuing that she turned to Councillor Halyk and said this doesn't change simply because you want it to. I seem to recall a time where she shut down Councillor Gottschling (not that I support what he was saying, but that's not the point) because he had some things to say which she did not wish to hear. And as Walter has conveniently provided, we have her own words about not allowing people to stand up and derail Council meetings as further support of that.

So she was charged/fined/whatnot for having a squirrel feeder in her back yard. That's too bad. If it's a bylaw violation, kudos to the CO's or city officials who actually upheld that. Just because you're the Mayor doesn't mean you don't have to play by the same rules as everyone else. The same should go for the Council meetings.
Responsible Pet Ownership
Comment by Linda McGourty on 8th September 2011
We live in an area that is full of wildlife, both predators and prey. Its a natural state of affairs. While I'm very sorry that people have lost their pets, a loving responsible owner wouldn't leave them out roaming around on their own. In some municipalities you can be fined for letting your cat roam.
I own 3 small dogs that could easily become somethings dinner. Theyre not, because I don't let them wander the neighborhood, without supervision, getting into trouble. A cat is no different. Get a litter box and keep them in, don't advocate killing all the indigenous species because of your irresponsible pet ownership. Or blame conservation for not killing every living thing that might eat your cat.
You might as well put your cat or pet out on a dinner plate, with a knife ,fork and a napkin, when you open the door and let them roam on their own.
Shame on you, not conservation or the wolverine.
wolverine problem or is it irresponsible pet owners ?
Comment by Cem on 8th September 2011
Take a look around irresponsible pet owners, Kitimat is just a dot on the map compared to the wilderness that surrounds us. If it was the cuddly bear that was eating the cats, then where would we be with Bear Beware. Nobody wants to see the bears destroyed but it's OK to get rid of the wolverine. Wake-up irresponsible cat owners, and don't let your cat go roaming. They love to dig in flower beds to do their buisness, who wants to weed after they have done that. It is no wonder there are so many cats at the Animal Shelter. It is because of irresponsible cat owners. Cats should be tagged just like dogs. Maybe when the wolverine chokes and coughs up the tag we would then know if it was the wolverine, a fox, coyote or a wolf that took the dearly beloved cat.
In Calgary cats now have to be tagged and on a leash, kudos to an intelligent Calgary council.