June 12th, 2024

Let’s Chat: TNR update… or lack thereof

By Linda Tooth on June 5, 2024.

I have been asked countless times in the last few months what the status is on the Trap, Neuter, Release, or Return program for the feral cats in Medicine Hat.

You will remember that this began in June 2023 when I posted my tearful and angry video online depicting kittens with their umbilical cords still attached searching for their mother. So began my project of having an existing bylaw amended so we could humanely trap, neuter and then return the feral cats to the only community they know.

Between a city councillor who did not understand what feral meant, to countless meetings at city hall while it went back and forth, to the bylaw finally being amended with restrictions placed on how we were to treat the cats. It is now one year later and we are still waiting on paperwork to be finalized.

To say I am frustrated is putting it mildly.

To add to my frustration, I did inquire about the status of the paperwork and I am paraphrasing when I say I was told to mind my own business. Cats and those who cannot speak for themselves, are my business.

In that year we have lost so many cats to suspected animal cruelty, sickness, multiple births with the mother or kittens not surviving, the list goes on. It is very frustrating and upsetting to play the political game while these pets, through no fault of their own, are suffering.

You may be wondering why I continue to harp on this. Well, the answer is this, I am so tired of irresponsible pet owners not doing the one simple thing that will help the population, shelters and the community.

Have your cat spayed or neutered.

I saw a post on Facebook recently that indicated their pet having a litter was an accident. The only accident is you the owner not doing the responsible thing and having your pet spayed.

Whether you are a pet parent or a parent with a child living at home, would you not do whatever it took to keep them healthy? If they were being sexually active, would you not make sure they have access to birth control?

Realistically, nobody wants their teenage child to be a parent, and kittens who are under a year old should not be a parent either. They do not have the maturity needed to look after their babies. They are babies looking after babies.

Bob Barker said it best with his closing line, “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population – have your pet spayed or neutered” on the Price is Right.

I have slightly amended it to “Help me, help them. Please have your pet spayed or neutered.”

Have a Meowtastic Day!

Linda Tooth is a communications instructor at Medicine Hat College

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