Thursday, September 16, 2010

Royal York Residents Host Huge Yard Sale To Rescue Feral Cats


Royal York residents host huge yard sale to rescue feral cats. Sue Coules, right, Jackie Gilmore, and Joan Romanik have organized a community yard sale that will take place this weekend to raise money to help provide veterinary services for stray cats living in their neighbourhood. Both Romanik's cat Jacky and Coules' cat Kasha were strays that they adopted. Staff photo/NICK PERRY
A group of Royal York South residents are banding together with local rescue groups this weekend to help save close to 50 feral cats and kittens who have taken up residence in their neighbourhood.
Susan Coules, an Uno Drive resident and volunteer with Helping Homeless Pets, will host a huge yard sale this Saturday, Sept. 18 (rain date Saturday, Sept. 25) at her home to raise funds to spay/neuter the cats, as well as to get them the urgent medical care they need.
"It's heartbreaking to see them - some of the cats have ear mites so bad, they're almost scratching their ears off," she said, noting that the majority of the cats are living under sheds and garages in backyards within six blocks of each other.
"It's terrible the horror stories I'm hearing from my neighbours: kittens dying in the snow last year; cats being eaten by coyotes; others walking around with open wounds because they're fighting, because they're not neutered...we knew we had to do something."
With funds raised from the sale, which will be held at 63 Uno Dr., Coules said Helping Homeless Pets, along with Toronto Pet Rescue and Action Volunteers for Animals will have the cats professionally caught, then divvy them up amongst themselves according to the space available at each rescue. Once safe at their respective rescues, the cats will be spayed or neutered and treated for their medical ailments by local veterinarians.
The kittens will then be fostered and adopted out, while the adult cats, if unadoptable, will be released back to their colony and continually monitored.
If successful in their rescue mission, Helping Homeless Pets is hoping to use the Royal York method as a model for other neighbourhoods dealing with the same overpopulation problems, Coules said.
"It's unbelievable, the cat explosion in GTA right now - it's actually a crisis," she said. "What we'd like to show is that if you come together as a community, you can accomplish a lot. If neighbourhoods will accept responsibility for the cats, it doesn't have to fall all on one person. There's a lot of help out there if you just know where to look."
Anyone wishing to help is encouraged to donate items to sale. Helping Homeless Pets is also looking for foster and permanent homes for cats. Monetary donations to the organization are accepted, with tax receipts for donations $25 and over. Go to www.helpinghomelesspets.com for more information.

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