I am just trying to get my message out their. I want to warn people about the SPCA... Especially the Moncton SPCA. I am posting this letter everywhere's. I don't want anyone's animal put down for no reason... just for trusting the person answering the phone at the local shelter. I recently had a very disturbing experience with the SPCA, which made me realize that my previous beliefs about how that organization works were mistaken. I wanted to tell my story as a cautionary note to other people.
My cat disappeared last week. She had all of her vaccines, tags, and a collar. A neighbor lost her cat at the same time. As part of our frantic search for our cats, she called the local SPCA with a description of her cat, and other relevant information such as when the cat went missing, her contact information, etc. The people at the SPCA told her that the cat was not there.
We later learned from our neighbors that there is somebody in our area, who picks up cats that he finds, and either dumps them at the SPCA, or abandons them in the middle of nowhere. Alarmed, my friend went to the SPCA, in spite of having been told her cat was not there. She was stunned to find that, indeed, her cat was there. Based on the dates, she learned that her cat was, in fact, brought in earlier on the day that she had called. Moreover, the location of where the cat was found matched her description of where the cat was lost. It is painfully obvious that, when workers there told her that her cat was not there, they really just never bothered to look. Considering that unclaimed strays are euthanized, it is stunning that they would do something like this.
There are approximately 20 cats at this shelter at any given time, and my friend’s cat was the only one that clearly matched the description she had given. Because she was told her cat was not there, the poor thing sat at the shelter for four days, while she continued to frantically look for her.
It is fortunate that my friend did not accept as truth what the SPCA workers told her. I wonder, however, what happens to other beloved pets that end up there. The shelter is in the middle of nowhere, so those without easy access to a car may very well have to rely on the truthfulness of what they are told when they call. I find this chilling.
When she visited the shelter, my friend also brought in a picture of my missing cat. They told her there was no cat that matched that description. When I went in and looked, however, I saw a cat that did, indeed, seem to match the description I gave on the phone and the picture my friend gave them of my cat. Sadly, it was not my cat, but the point is that she had been told that no such cat was there. They then told my friend that another cat, who matched this description, was euthanized earlier, because it was ill. Like my friend, I had called the SPCA, looking for my missing cat. When I called, I was told there was no cat there matching that description. It is apparent that there were, in fact, two cats who matched my description. One of them was euthanized. You can imagine my distress at thinking that the cat they euthanized could have been my own beloved pet.
This experience was especially distressing for me, because it is not the first time this has happened to me. In 1999, I lost my cat, and called the SPCA with all of the relevant information. I continued to call on a daily basis. The following week, when I called, they said they had, in fact, had a cat matching the description, but that they had euthanized it, because it was ill. I had called repeatedly, obviously distressed that my cat was missing, and had given them a detailed description. When a cat matching my description was brought in, they euthanized the cat without ever contacting me. Again, it is clear that they never bothered to check in response to my phone call. I believe the cat they euthanized was, in fact, my beloved pet.
I need to be clear that, to me, my pets are not just animals. They are members of my family. I am very careful with them, and I do not allow them to wander. Sometimes, however, accidents happen. The SPCA is supposed to be set up to provide a resource for reuniting lost pets with their people. I am dumbfounded at the level of callousness that is necessary for somebody working there to tell a distraught pet owner that they do not have their pet, when they really might have the pet there. I do not know why this happens. Is it laziness? Is walking a few feet to the cage more than the people answering the phone wish to do? And if they work at an animal shelter, shouldn’t they be committed to animal welfare? And yet they would allow a beloved animal to be euthanized, rather than making the token effort of checking when somebody calls, to see if the animal is there.
My story has a happy ending. After two weeks missing, my cat suddenly reappeared. I do not know where she was, but my gratitude at finding her is immense. I have spent the last few days believing that the cat euthanized at the SPCA was, indeed, my cat, and I cannot tell you how upsetting this was.
When we lose our pets, there are many hazards to give us fear. They could starve, or be attacked by other animals, or be hit by a car, or be hurt by humans. The SPCA is supposed to be a resource to help us. What I have learned, however, is that the SPCA in my area may be the greatest hazard of all for a missing animal.