Sheilia Doucette of Port Saunders says the SPCA in Corner Brook wouldn’t take two kittens she wanted to drop off in June. — Submitted photo
Sheila Doucette can understand why people abandon animals, especially when they find that help is not as readily available as they thought.
“I actually considered it,” the Port Saunders woman admitted during a phone interview about an experience she had at the NL West SPCA shelter in Corner Brook.
Doucette said after getting turned away at the Curling shelter, she considered leaving her two kittens in the nearby wooded area.
“I didn’t have the heart to do it,” she said. “They’re just defenceless little kittens.”
Doucette contacted the SPCA about taking the kittens early in June. The kittens, now three months old, are from her own cat, although Doucette admitted she tried to pass them off as strays for fear of being chastised for not having her cat spayed.
“They told me they were full, but said, ‘We’re not going to refuse you,’” said Doucette.
Thinking all she had to do was bring the kittens to the shelter, Doucette made the trip to the city just after the middle of June.
When she got to the shelter, a volunteer told her they couldn’t take the kittens.
“She flat out refused me,” said Doucette.
Doucette tried to explain that she had already spoken with someone about taking the kittens, but still the answer was no.
She even offered to provide assistance for the cats, but to no avail. The only suggestion she said she was given was to check with the local pet store. With no luck there, Doucette said she eventually had to take the kittens back home.
When she saw an article in The Western Star about abandoned puppies at Wal-Mart in Corner Brook Tuesday, Doucette said she got upset because her experience contradicted what SPCA board member and volunteer Frances Drover said about taking in animals.
In the article, Drover said there was no excuse for people abandoning animals instead of bringing them to the shelter.
“We’ll do something with them,” Drover said, pointing to foster care and the pound as options when the shelter is full.
“There was nothing said about fostering,” Doucette said of her experience. “There was nothing mentioned about that.”
Doucette posted her story online through Facebook and said she did so to let people know that they can’t simply drop their pets off there.
“They’re not going to take them like that,” she said.
When contacted about Doucette’s story, Drover said the SPCA has a protocol in place for leaving animals.
“On our voice mail and in every bit of information that we have, we tell people that they have to make arrangements to bring animals into the shelter,” said Drover. “You just cannot turn up on the doorstep and assume that we can take them, which is what she did.”
Drover added the shelter keeps a log of people who want to bring in cats or dogs.
“As we get a vacancy, we’ll go through the list and the next person who comes up, we’ll call them.”
Drover said Doucette was on that list, but wasn’t advised to bring in the kittens when she did.
In a later email, Doucette said, “If I was put on a waiting list, I was never informed.
“As far as showing up without notice goes, I never gave them a set time as to when I would be there, and they never asked. I just told them I would make the trip up when I finished work.”
Doucette also said she left messages at the shelter.
“Perhaps if someone had returned my calls I would have been better informed. I would not have driven six hours (round trip) with two kittens if I had known there were certain procedures involved when surrendering a pet.”
Drover said the SPCA is “trying to be all things to all people,” and “there’s a lot of things that we have to deal with with the general public that the general public are not going to like.”
She said a lot of the problem with lack of space to house the animals will be alleviated when the new shelter opens.
“It will be so much larger and we will be able to help everybody,” Drover said.
Meanwhile, Doucette has made arrangements for the Exploits Valley SPCA in Grand Falls-Windsor to take the kittens and is waiting for an opportunity to have them brought there. As for her own cat, she had it spayed when a mobile veterinary clinic recently visited her area.
The Western Star