Animal care & rescue abroad

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2001:


The adamant opposition of bird advocacy organizations to neuter/return stalled feral cat sterilization projects this spring from the Street Cat Rescue Program of Saskatoon to the Bermuda Feline Assist-ance Bureau–with the result that far fewer cats were spayed approaching “kitten season” than could have been, causing more kittens to be born at large. The Saskatoon SPCA, as animal control contractor to the city of Saskatoon, proposed to fine Street Cat Rescue Program president Linda Gubbe about $200 U.S. for each cat found at large with identification markings. Why? Because the act of identifying the animal, according to the Saskatoon animal control bylaw, acknowledges ownership–and makes releasing the animal an act of abandonment.

In Bermuda, environment minister Terry Lister withheld $50,000 in promised funding to the Feline Assistance Bureau after the Bermuda Audubon Society claimed that their feeding and trapping stations were too close to the habitats of some endangered species. The Royal Society of the Protection of Birds and the government of Britain meanwhile put up $800,000 apiece to make yet another attempt among many to eradicate feral cats from Ascension Island, in the South Atlantic. “We killed more than 100 cats last year,” RSPB global programs officer Jim Stevenson told Michael Binyon of the London Times. “We trap the easy ones and kill them with lethal injections. But we have to use drugged bait for the difficult ones, or use a lamp at night and shoot them with a shotgun.”

Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department staff seized 20 pit bull terriers on April 4 and eight more on April 27 in separate raids on a dogfighting arena and nearby kennels in Ngau Keng village, The New Territories. The raids affirmed information ANIMAL PEOPLE received while in Hong Kong during November 2000 that dog fighting was recently introduced in the New Territories as a venue for illegal high-stakes gambling.

Vet Trek 2001, hosted by the Esther Honey Foundation, visited each of the Cook Islands in February and March, sterilizing as many as 43 animals per day. The international volunteer project started in 1991. Six veterinarians and vet techs participated this year, including Penny Wright, DVM, who was to remain in the islands for seven months.

Mayors flexing clout recently closed a dog-and-cat neutering project run by the Lega Pro Animale in Castel Volturno, Italy, and the two-year-old, 440-animal Sociedad Protector de Animales y Medio Ambiente shelter at Gambio, Spain. Lega Pro Animale founder Dorothea Fritz hinted in her 2000 Annual Report that the neutering project may have run afoul of private kennel operators who are paid by cities to house homeless dogs and cats, since population control killing is illegal in Italy, who may view neutering as a threat to their income. A Royal SPCA bulletin indicated that the shelter closure in Spain resulted from “a minor problem with a building license application,” which somehow arose six months after the facility opened.

The Companion Animal Welfare Council, formed in 1998 by the Royal SPCA and College of Animal Welfare, is reportedly drafting standards for the operation of all British shelters, sanctuaries, rescue centers, and pet retirement homes, with the hope of having the standards enacted into law.

While the humane infrastructure of most developing nations is expanding, that of South Africa is collapsing from loss of revenue resulting from an exodus of former supporters from the country, says Cape Town Star reporter Lynne Altenroxel. According to Altenroxel, SPCA facilities in four cities have already closed, four more are in serious financial trouble, the Animal Anti-Cruelty League “is counting on interest earned on investments to survive, the no-kill Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre “is also battling financially,” and Friends of the Cat has asked overseas organizations “for any kind of help they can give us.”

The Rabbit Charity, of Britain, reported at Easter that, “More than 33,000 unwanted pet rabbits were taken to [British] rescue centres last year–an increase of 30% from 1999.” Spokesperson Carolina James told ANIMAL PEOPLE that the data is based on an “annual survey among 200-plus shelters and private fosterers who rehome rabbits.” Rabbit shelter entry has never been formally surveyed in the U.S.

Overwhelmed with 120 baby squirrels caught in attics by homeowners using “humane” traps, the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, announced on April 27 that it will accept no more animals until further notice. Awareness that the facility exists seems to have encouraged people to trap–and thereby orphan– urban wildlife who otherwise might be left alone, Wildlife Centre president Donna DuBreuil told Dave Rogers of the Ottawa Citizen. “Our job is not to care for animals who are orphaned because of people’s stupidity,” DuBreuil added. “The issue here is trapping, and if we cannot stop that,” when unnecessary, “we might as well shut down.”

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