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

Neglected horses flourish under loving touch

Brenda McArthur goes where animal welfare agencies won’t — into abusive situations to rescue neglected horses and nurse them back to health.
McArthur operates the Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue on her farm near Hagersville, south of Hamilton, because the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has no horse facilities and relies on volunteers to board and foster farm animals. But many still slip through the cracks.
Armed only with persuasion and persistence, McArthur talks neglectful owners into turning horses over to her, outbids “meat men” for them at auction and takes in horses that people are no longer able to care for.
McArthur and her husband, Dave Thompson, dig into their own pockets to cover the shortfall between donations and the cost of running a farm for equine refugees, about $70,000 over the last two years.
Why does she do it?
“I know it sounds corny, but they whisper to me,” says McArthur. “And because there’s nothing for horses.”
After the euthanization fiasco at the Newmarket OSPCA last spring, we wrote a column saying it was no surprise to us that the OSPCA had been laid bare, based on its negligible enforcement of laws at a Port Perry sheep farm we’d reported on.
Emails arrived from as far away as Thunder Bay about the OSPCA’s failure to enforce laws that apply to farm animals, while seemingly manipulating media to cover puppy mill busts, which tugs at heartstrings and brings in essential donations.
McArthur’s email said she was a former investigator for the Welland Humane Society, a member of its board of directors and was trained at the Newmarket OSPCA, which gave her a hands-on perspective.
“Horses and farm animals are not a priority for the OSPCA,” she said. “Working for the OSPCA and having nowhere to take horses showed me the need for something like this.”
She provided a stunning example: Norfolk County, the former heart of tobacco country on the north shore of Lake Erie, has no humane society or OSPCA investigator, only an animal control contractor who deals with dogs and cats.
We visited and found 42 horses stabled in tidy red barns and romping in paddock areas, which will soon be expanded, thanks to a $25,000 donation from the estate of a Toronto woman who died at age 102.
“Every horse has a story,” said McArthur, who recites the circumstances of their arrival.
Shiloh was emaciated and sick when she bought her for $180 at auction, and would have been fattened up and slaughtered for dog food, had McArthur not rescued her. She has since gained about 100 kilograms and likes to nuzzle visitors.
Thoroughbred race horse Getaway Candidate was rescued by its former owner in Detroit and brought to McArthur. He likes to roll around on his back.
Her most horrific case involved the rescue of 14 horses found in a field near Waterford, sick and starving, including a 29-year-old mare that had been deliberately bred. Several had to be put down, but she has nursed five back to health.
McArthur’s rescue operation is entirely dependent on public donations, which she says have picked up over the past two years, but still do not cover her costs.
Given that the province won’t properly fund the enforcement and investigative arms of the OSPCA and humane societies, it falls to caring people like McArthur to cover the shortfall.
Whispering Hearts is holding its annual fundraiser this Saturday at McArthur’s farm, at 1652 Concession 10, about five kilometres east of Hagersville. Visit their website at

*Taken from the Toronto Star

Pets And Heat

Heat stroke is a fever that is induced by high environmental temperatures. Animals are at risk when exposed to hot and humid temperatures because effective evaporated cooling in cats and dogs cannot occur in these conditions. This results in the body's core temperature rising drastically to above 40 degrees. Once the body exceeds 41,5-42,5 degrees Celsius, cellular function is seriously affected and unconsciousness and even death may follow.
Situations or conditions that can lead to heat stroke.
* Pets left out doors in hot and humid weather with no shade or water .
* Exercising your pet in hot humid weather even if you have water available is putting your pet at risk.
* Leaving your pet in a closed car in direct sun or on a warm day even with cracked open windows can be deadly. Panting a normal physiological means to cool off actually saturates the air with water vapour making the air in the car warmer and consequently even more difficult for an animal to cool down.
* Young and old animals are more sensitive to high temperatures because they cannot acclimatize effectively.
* Heavy coated dogs (Husky ,German Shepherd, Chow Chow)
* Animals with medical problems. History of seizures , heart or lung disease should never be exposed to hot humid temperatures.
* Certain breeds with short snouts such as Shit tzu, Boxers, Pekinese, Bull dogs and Persian cats are particularly susceptible due to their flat faces that make breathing difficult.
Signs of Heat stroke
* Panting
* Sweating
* Salivating
* Difficulty in breathing
* Vomiting
* Bloody diarrhea
* High body temperature (above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit.
* Increased heart and respiratory rate
* Mucous membranes bright red
* Capillary refill time very fast ( less than 1 sec)
* Dehydration
* Depression , lethargic ( acting drunk )
* Shock
* Seizure ,Collapse, or coma
First Aid For Heat stroke
* The objective here is to cool your pet down as fast as possible to bring the body temperature down back to normal .
* If animal is outdoors or in a car get animal out of the car or out of direct heat and bring to a cool shaded area.
* Check for ABC's of CPR and shock ; administer CPR
* Hose down the animal with cool water. Use and find anything you can to wet your animal.
* Place water soaked towels on head, neck, feet chest and abdomen.
* If you have air conditioning in the car place animal in car with air conditioning on high and drive straight to your veterinarian. If animal is in shock and requires CPR have an other person give first aid keep air conditioning on while driving to the veterinarian.
* If incidence occurs at home place pet in bath tub with running shower( cool water).
* Rub alcohol under the toe pads. This helps to cool the body.
* Once you have started cooling your pet take it's temperature every 5 minutes until you reach your veterinarian.When your pet's temperature returns to normal (38.5-39.5degrees Celsius ) stop cooling .
It's important to monitor the temperature so that hypothermia (subnormal body temperature)doesn't occur. Applying first aid is the vital point in saving a pet from heat stroke , however your pet's well being should not stop here. Your pet should seek veterinary attention following a heat stroke incidence as other medical problems ( kidney failure, digestive tract , neurological , cardiopulmonary problems )could arise hours or even days following a heat stroke.

Feral cat explosion

FERAL CATS: Local shelters strained by demands of feral, stray cats


Updated 3 hours ago

They often roam in the periphery, but ask locals where to find the city's packs of feral cats and you'll get a litany of responses.
As the sun sets, the wild felines have been spotted behind many local businesses that serve or sell food.
Unfixed tomcats hunt Stewart, Brock, Hunter and Simcoe streets just west of the downtown core, looking for outdoor females that have been abandoned, lost or simply let outside without being spayed. The shrieks of mating and catfights can be heard throughout the late nights.
Tobin Court resident Margaret Neill told city council Monday about the pack haunting her north-end neighbourhood, chasing people from patios and depositing feces on rooftops, gardens and backyard decks. "We can't use our new deck. We can't have friends over for a barbecue. These cats are just all over the place," Neill said. "I think some of these cats should be put down."
Many frustrated residents would agree with Neill. City staff field many calls about the issue, urging the city to do something.
While euthanasia is often the easiest fix, it does not address the problem of overbreeding in the long-term, local experts say.
It also switches the blame from people to the cats, said Mary Werner, a board member and volunteer at the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society (LAWS).
"The feral cats, it's not their fault. It's the community's problem and the community has to solve it," she said.
City council has been talking about the issue for years. Most recently, council raised the idea to support a spay and neuter clinic to alleviate some of the overpopulation. It asked staff to investigate the possibilities, but a solution has yet to emerge.
Who would be responsible for the clinic and who would fund it remains unclear.
Lines of co-operation between the area's animal welfare organizations have historically been poor, admitted Dr. Kathleen Norman, of the Kawartha Veterinary Association.
"Unfortunately, there has been a history of poor communication," she said.
Meanwhile, the city approved a new eight-month contract Monday with the Peterborough Humane Society that doesn't include a spay and neuter clinic.
The board of the humane society has yet to replace its former general manager Brad Algar who left in February.
As the number of stray and feral cats continues to bulge, placing more strain on the area's shelters, most agree a solution is needed and fast.
Norman makes no distinction between stray cats, former pets that have been socialized, or feral cats, cats born wild or cats that have returned to a wild state.
"To me the problem is one and the same -- it's overpopulation," she said.
That burgeoning population brings with it a host of concerns to the community, including the spread of rabies and parasites, she said.
"As a community we have to worry about spread of disease as well as overpopulation. It's two big categories that we are trying to address," she said.
Working with some dedicated volunteers, LAWS does help trap, neuter/spay and release some of the feral cats into the community. It also works with local farmers willing to house feral cats in warm barns. Those solutions only make small chips in the problem, Werner said.
The LAWS shelter has more than 100 cats but has a waiting list of nearly 400, she said.
"Hundreds of hundreds of babies are being born every spring and being left outside," she said.
Cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Calgary provide programs to trap, neuter, spay and release feral cats.
Those programs or clinics are operated either directly by the municipality, a humane society or a local board of health.
Norman said her agency would entertain the idea of cooperating with a spay and neuter clinic, but said the agency has to first fix its communication issue with the humane society.
The two groups are meeting this week to "throw some ideas around" and work towards some common ground, she said.
"The veterinarians in the Peterborough area are trying very hard to improve communications with the humane society," she said.
Mayor Paul Ayotte has supported the idea of a bylaw that would prohibit owners from allowing their cats to roam free.
The bylaw issue has been before council for many years, but no council has ever passed one.
"I guess councils of the past haven't had the wherewithal to pass the bylaw," he said. "I certainly agree that there should be something done."
Ayotte said he would support a spay and neuter clinic, but warned the costs would be high.
"I'd like to see (a clinic) done, but it's a pretty expensive proposition," Ayotte said. "It's getting serious enough, I think we have to look at it."
While there appears to be some support for a clinic on city council and many community groups are calling for one, until funding and commitment combine in a cohesive plan, the city's cat issue will just continue to grow, Werner said.
"Nobody is taking responsibility," she said.
[email protected]

Durham Region shelter overrun with cats

Cats, kittens — and more cats.
The Humane Society of Durham Region’s shelter is overflowing with felines. There are 112 cats and kittens available for adoption.
“Being the first of the month, we had a lot of landlords contact us with people moving out and abandoning animals, and we received more than we can accommodate,” said Ruby Richards, manager of the shelter on Tauton Rd. in Oshawa.
“Our shelter is just too small to deal with the high numbers — and more coming in every day,” she added. “We only have room for 65 normally and we don’t have enough cages to put them all in, so 25 cats are free just roaming around the warehouse we’re located in.”
Richards said due to a shelter fire in 2008, the humane society’s shelter has been temporarily housed in a warehouse until financing is in place to move to a permanent location.
“We’re asking for help from the public to find homes for these animals,” Richards said.
For more information, go to

*Taken from the Toronto Sun

Death row 'pit bull' won't be killed after all

Last month, Princess, identified as a "pit bull" by Hamilton Animal Control, escaped from her home and, allegedly, "attacked" a smaller terrier.
Princess was then ordered to be killed---not because she was involved in an altercation with another dog---but because a vet at the pound estimated her to be three to four years of age, automatically making her an "illegal pit bull" under the breed-specific sections of the Dog Owners' Liability Act (DOLA)......
*Read more by Anita Robeson & taken from