Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cat hoarding cases put strain on EHS animal shelter

Now faced with their second cat hoarding case in less than a month, the Etobicoke Humane Society (EHS) is in dire need of community assistance. With the removal of 40 cats from two area homes recently - 13 cats and kittens over Canada Day weekend and 27 resulting from a previous investigation in Mimico back on June 17 - EHS's Royal York Road shelter is now bursting at the seams with high needs felines, said shelter manager Pia Lauretti.
"The days of having just one or two cats brought in by our cruelty officers is just so long gone. People call in constantly saying 'my neighbour has 30 cats,' but there's only so many hoarding cases we can take on," she said, noting city bylaws limit the amount of cats per household to six.
EHS's cramped shelter is now functioning at nearly double its capacity, with more than 50 cats - some with high needs - in residence. Volunteers have been working long hours to ensure the cats live in a clean, healthy living space.
"It's a lot of work when you have cats come in - the smell is something to be reckoned with, they're terrified, they want to scratch your eyes out. It takes a lot and these (volunteers) are people that come in for the love of animals to clean," Lauretti said, noting that more hardworking volunteers are always welcome. "Some of them come in before work, that's how dedicated these people are - they're amazing."
Still, more help is needed - especially people willing to foster some of the more high needs cats. Two of those recently brought in are pregnant and a third came in with two newborn kittens. EHS is currently seeking out caring households to bring those cats into their homes, to ensure their kittens a healthy beginning, Lauretti said.
"We don't like keeping them in the shelter because they're not vaccinated and so are susceptible to everything and just really don't do well in a shelter," she said, adding that fosters are also needed for a couple of cats that are "really, really nervous in cages."
An independent, all-volunteer registered charity, EHS is also seeking out financial donations to help towards the heavy vet bill burden brought on by the recent influx of cats and kittens.
"Right now, we're looking at defleaing, ear mite treatments, vaccines, spaying and neutering, and some dental work for some," Lauretti said.
The latest case in Etobicoke, in which 13 cats were surrendered to EHS on July 2, marked "the worst flea infestation" seasoned EHS cruelty agent Jerry Higgins has ever seen.
"Some of the cats have injured themselves because of the intense scratching," he said. "And because of the overcrowding and dirty conditions, there was a very strong odour. These cats lived in a small bedroom - approximately 10-feet by 8-feet."
A lot of the cats recently brought in also require special food because of heart conditions - of which one cat has already passed away.
"We're proud to have volunteer cruelty agents that can investigate and alleviate these conditions. We only hope that the public will recognize the importance of this work and offer their active support," said EHS President William Blain, noting that the recent large cat removals has strained EHS's budget. "As an all-volunteer charity, we really need extra financial support at this time."
Anyone wishing to help can mail their donations, payable to Etobicoke Humane Society, to 1500 Royal York Rd., Suite E, Etobicoke, Ontario M9P 3B6, or donate online at
Adoption, foster and volunteer inquiries can be made at 416-249-6100.

*Taken from InsideToronto

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