Letter to the editor 2, April 19, 2018

Another open letter to Mayor Jamie Nicholls and Council of Hudson

Dear Mr. Mayor and Council,

Some years ago Hudson showed great initiative by passing a tough animal welfare by-law applauded both by the media and Hudson residents. As you must be aware all pets under the Canada Animal Welfare Act are protected and owners are obliged to provide food and shelter for them. Unfortunately the law stops there.

Many unneutered family cats are permitted to roam freely and on moving day many city dwellers often dump their unwanted cats on rural country roads resulting in an ever increasing population of feral cats forced to live under deplorable conditions.

Across Canada, municipalities both large and small recognize the problem and are replacing their old animal control bylaws with ‘responsible pet ownership’ rules and regulations. The City of Laval has implemented a by-law forcing residents to sterilize all pets over six months of age. Many other municipalities including our neighbors in St Lazare and Rigaud have a Trap/Neuter/Release programme and have funds budgeted for this purpose. Spaying and neutering stray cats keeps the numbers under control and leads to a healthier and happier cat population.

This is not a cat lover’s issue as one of your councillors seemed to indicate. It is an environmental and social issue. Feral cats have been implicated in worrisome public health issues, such as the recent outbreak of raccoon-borne rabies in southern Ontario and the ongoing mortality of our bird population -a federal government report estimated the annual toll of birds killed by cats at nearly 200 million, with the majority killed by ferals.

According to the National Geographic Society some feline experts now estimate 70 million feral cats live in the United States, the consequence of little effort to control the population and of the cat's ability to reproduce quickly.

Your response regarding CASCA’s request to renew last year's mandate concerning abandoned and feral cats in our fair town was, to say the least, disappointing and your reasoning confusing.

The $2000 requested is but a fraction of the overall cost to maintain this environmental program most of which is absorbed by our members.

If we should stop our work tomorrow, the problem would not go away and become much more difficult to control and could end eventually in a widespread euthanasia solution being implemented.

That would be inhumane and tragic.

Because a problem is not staring you in the face doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and ignoring it can often be a very poor choice indeed.

We wish you would reconsider.

Sincerely,

Jocelyne Panchyshyn

Hudson

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