Cat shelter gets go ahead with funding from City
The Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society will have a cat shelter up and running by Nov. 1 with funding from the City. File/ Postmedia Network
A local organization will soon have a long-desired location to house runaway kitties.
The Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society received $4,600 for the remainder of the year and allotted $18,400 for 2018 and 2019 by the City of Camrose at the Sept. 20 Regular Council Meeting, to go towards a facility, running a cat licensing program and emergency vet fees. The society has been together for 18 months and have spent a lot of time fundraising to cover costs as they operated out of board member’s houses.
“We’re extremely excited, and very, very pleased,” said society chairperson Linda Neilson. “It’s crucial. We have been fundraising for a while now and, unfortunately, we have not been able to raise enough funds to pay for rent for a place. Thanks to the City we have enough money to rent a place for a shelter.”
The society has not yet signed a lease for a local space, but that should happen shortly. Neilson said they want to be up and running by Nov. 1.
The City did not have a shelter previously, though the city pound did have some space for cats. The City now contracts out dog pound services to Long Lane Boarding Kennels as a cost-saving measure. However, the previous space for cats was not able to keep up with demand either.
In May, the society estimated their annual costs will be about $72,000.
In a report filed with the City by the society, Battle River Area Animal Protection Society said it has provided homes or assistance for 80 to 100 cats annually. Between 2011-16, there was an average of 104 cats per year admitted to the pound. The report also says shelters in the surrounding area have taken in approximately 30 cats from Camrose city limits since November while turning away numerous others. One society volunteer is currently housing 22 cats.
The society estimates that more than 200 stray cats are assisted every year through city operations, BRAAPS, Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society and other shelters.
Depending on the finalized building they end up with, Neilson says they will be able to house 30-50 cats at a time.
“We know we’ll be handling many cats,” she said.
“We’ve also got lots of connections with other rescues and so we’ll be sharing the strays we find with other rescues if they’re able to take them in.”
A big part of the shelter’s plans are public education and cat population control. They are encouraging cat owners to get their cats licensed for free, so that if they end up being picked up by the shelter they can be reunited with their owners. As well the society will be enacting a spay and neutering program to keep the feral cat problems that are becoming a larger issue from turning into an epidemic.
Neilson says she has been quoted by local veterinarians for $80-100 per procedure, but those costs will be recouped through fundraising and the adoption process.
“Our goal is to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the city,” said Neilson. “The bottom line is, people should spay and neuter their pets. If they did that … we wouldn’t have this huge unwanted cat and kitten problem.”
For more information on the society go to the Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society Facebook page.