Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Etobicoke Cat Hoarder Faces Charges

Officials who removed 30 ailing cats from an Etobicoke senior’s apartment in the latest of several raids are planning to seize more, an investigator said Tuesday. “Based on what the veterinarian is saying about the health of these cats, we’re trying to go back in to clean up the colony,” Etobicoke Humane Society animal cruelty investigator Jerry Higgins said. Volunteers, accompanied by police and a locksmith, entered the two-storey Islington Ave. strip plaza building after the owner refused to answer her door repeatedly and did not respond to “numerous complaints,” Higgins said. All of the rescued cats have contagious “upper respiratory infection,”  and some have herpes and neurological problems, Higgins said. Two were euthanized after being examined by a veterinarian, 10 remain at his clinic and the remaining 20 cats are being cared for at the humane society’s Royal York Rd. shelter — where they will remain for at least two more weeks before being declared healthy enough to be offered up for adoption, he said. Unlike most cases of feline hoarding, Higgins said the cats had free access to and from the building through a cat door. Identified by tenants as building owner Veronica Kunicki, the accused landlord faces a charge of permitting animals to be in distress. If convicted, she could be fined up to $10,000, be sentenced to five years in prison and get a life ban on owning pets. A city bylaw restricts residents to a total of six cats, dogs or a combination of both.  “The basement is full of cats,” said Brian Chiu, who for 12 years has owned the Asia Garden Restaurant near Kunicki’s front door. “Many times I have complained to animal control,” Chiu said. “The last time they came and took away 35 cats, about 2 1/2 years ago. “The production has increased.” Kunicki was not home when her cats were removed and there was no answer at her door Tuesday evening.
*The Toronto Sun


  1. The problem here is that there is not enough legitimate shelters to care for homeless cats until a permanent home can be found for them. This results in people taking in freezing/starving/stray animals, and in some cases, the numbers accumlate to excess of the allowable city bi-laws. I doubt that there was any intentional cruelty demonstrated by this woman and the illnesses mentioned in this article are all commonly found in most animal shelters. If anything, this woman most likely saved the lives of many of these cats by providing a safe place for them to take refuge. The OSPCA themselves have come under fire recently for being negligent in allowing ringworm to spread, causing distress to the animals in their care. Their solution to this situation was extreme: mass killings to deal with the epidemic they created, which was only haulted by bringing it to the public's attention by organized protest. The OSPCA should be focusing on solutions, not criminally charging citizens for things they themselves are guilty of and have not been charged for.

  2. Ladies and Gentleman

    The problem isnt this lady or that some of the cats were sick they probably arrived to her like that, last year I brought a cat in who was terribly skinny, and she had 3 kittens, I found homes for them, this year I brought a cat in who had been dumped outside from the local Ontario Housing Units accross the street from my house, and now the cat is semi wild. No animal shelters would take this cat, as they are full, no cat rescue agencies would take this cat because they are full, cat has a slight cold( thats what my vet told me) but was treatable.
    I would never let a cat outside, as its not a safe enviorment for them and people can be extremely mean.
    This woman wanted to save them and find them homes, because the shelter are full.We need to stop ads on places like Kiiji kitten free to a good home, the people that take these animals dont always get them fixed and thats a problem.
    There are 250,000 loose cats in the GTA, Toronto Humane Society isnt taking in anymore animals because of the BS OSPCA brought to them(dont figure they are government funded) the only options available are Etobicoke Animal Services who are known as "death row" in the community.Cats they may have a sickness do not get examined by a vetrinarian, but if a worker thinks they arent adoptable friendly they sentence them to death, so the only time a vet sees the animal is to put it to sleep.
    Blame human beings for disregarding these animals, blame governements for not having enough spots open, the blame is on us, for not spaying or nuetering our pets.
    We must show compassion to animals and raise our children to treat animals of every kind with respect, the problem of cats being outside has gotten worse in Toronto as our population grows and peoples incomes are lower, government doesnt view it as a priority, it wont get better until we open more shelters.