One year after the Victoria branch of the SPCA changed its policy around viewing cats, the animals’ rate of disease has dropped by half.
“The cats would get so stressed that when people actually came to adopt, the cats were hiding,” manager Penny Stone said.
The current rule requires anyone wanting to go into the cat room to take the time to begin the adoption process before viewing the animals. “The cats now are so much calmer.”
And with the official start of summer, it’s full-blown kitten season at the Burnside Road SPCA where 195 of 358 adoptable animals are either adult or young cats. The shelter is currently housing one-third more animals than usual.
With less stress to the cats, improved health was inevitable, Stone said. Some of her favourite animals, though, have been slow to be adopted. Kittens with hypoplasia (resulting from distemper during pregnancy), tend to stumble as though they’re intoxicated and deter potential owners, despite otherwise good health, she explained.
Among the 36 dogs available for adoption, Stone has grown attached to a beagle cross known as Loopy Lucy, who also has a unique health issue stalling her adoption. The three-month-old was rescued from Mexico, but brought to the SPCA when her former owner didn’t know how to deal with her periodic seizures, a result of stress. Lucy has been in SPCA care for a month while she underwent testing to determine any underlying ailments. She now has a clean bill of health and is ready for adoption.
Out by Elk Lake, at the Capital Regional District’s Pound, there are also animals ready for adoption. “We deal with all of the stray and abandoned animals and the SPCA deals with all the owner surrenders,” said Kathleen Davis, part-time kennel master. “If you don’t want an animal anymore, it’s taken to the SPCA and it goes up for adoption there. If you find an animal it comes here and goes up for adoption if it’s unclaimed.”
The pound, located at 5401 Pat Bay Hwy., also provides animal control services for municipalities within the CRD except for Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay. Saanich has pound officers connected to its police department while Victoria and Oak Bay contract Victoria Animal Control.
After about a week at the pound, 80 per cent of animals are claimed by owners.
The animals that aren’t claimed go up for adoption. Any animals not adopted will go to a rescue centre. In 2007, the pound was recognized by industry peers for its low rate of euthanasia.
Last year, 445 dogs were returned to owners, 66 were adopted, 13 were transferred to shelters and eight were euthanized (following court or veterinarian order).
Of the eight cats and four dogs currently up for adoption, Lola, a friendly two year-old pit bull has been in care the longest, waiting several months for a new home after she was found scavenging.
Pets in waiting
• Cost: Dogs: $299; $399 toy-sized, purebred or puppy under six months; $499 toy-sized or purebred puppy. Cats: $149; $170 kittens under six months. Rabbits: $65. Guinea pigs: $15. Small animals: $5
• Includes: Spaying and neutering, de-fleaing, de-worming, vaccines, one free veterinarian visit and six weeks of pet insurance
• Requirements: Approval of application to the SPCA, including landlord consent
• Cost: $125 for female cats; $85 for males (price difference due to lower cost of neutering male animals); and $200 for female dogs or $175 for males
• Includes: Spaying and neutering, except in very young animals; vaccines not included
• Requirements: Background check by CRD Pound
Full details on adoption requirements and fees for individual animal rescue organizations are usually available online:
• Victoria Animal Control Services, Ltd.: www.vacs.ca
• Greater Victoria Animal Crusaders: www.animalcrusaders.ca
• Cats Cradle Animal Rescue: www.catscradleanimalrescue.com
• Victoria Cat Rescue Corps Society: www.victoriacatrescue.com
• Dog Bless Rescue Partners: www.dogbless.ca
• Mex-Can Pet Partners: www.mex-can.org
• Victoria Pet Adoption Society: www.victoriapets.ca
• Or search through several databases through Petfinder at www.petfinder.com