Port Saunders woman says SPCA wouldn’t take kittens

Diane Crocker
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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

Organizations: Exploits Valley SPCA, Wal-Mart

Geographic location: Port Saunders, Western Star, Corner Brook Grand Falls-Windsor

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Recent comments

  • Jessie
    July 26, 2013 - 13:14

    Anyone who has an animal should have the decency to get it spayed or neutered.The SPCA is mostly volenteer workers with no government help.They are crammed full with helpless animals that no one wants.When they are babies and so cute, it is fine but when they are mature, people think that they can dump them off at the SPCA.Leave animals where they are if you can't look after them and give them a chance to find a home with someone who will love and care for them.It just kills me to see dogs tied on twenty four hours a day in the heat in the summer and cold in the winter.Start taking responsibility people.

  • Ha
    July 26, 2013 - 11:08

    Let me tell you three things. The SPCA as a whole has a mandate to never turn away a stray. Second the SPCA in corner brook is not an SPCA as I'm sure they will infor the general public at some point. Third the SPCA as a whole can refuse to take an animal if you are the owner of that animal until room becomes available.

  • lulu
    July 26, 2013 - 09:28

    Since when is it your right as an irresponsible pet owner to dump an animal that YOU don't want?.. do you donate to them, do you volunteer there? If you are a pet owner YOU are responsible to provide the necessary care to that said animal which includes spay/neutur/ vet care, food etc If you can't afford the financial responsibility of pet ownership DON'T GET ONE! Time for people to smarten up and stop blaming others for their stupidity.

  • A. Cormier
    July 26, 2013 - 08:39

    This story infuriates me. I have been a volunteer at an animal shelter in New Brunswick for over 8 years. This story reminded me of the lengths that people will go to to avoid responsability for their own actions. Since I have been volunteering, I have heard just about every excuse in the book for people dumping their animals at a shelter. Mrs Doucette, shame on you for trying to make the SPCA look like « the bad guy » in this situation. You CHOSE to get a cat and not get it fixed. You CHOSE not to respect the shelter's policy, and expected them to just bail you out of the bad situation you placed yourself into. Sure, it's better to bring your kittens to a shelter than to drop them off on the side of the road. But to blame the SPCA ? You should point that finger of blame right back at yourself... If it's a no-kill shelter, they are probably bursting at the seams right now because of people just like you who refuse to assume their responsabilities. I don't know what your financial situation is, but if you can't afford to care for a pet, or get it fixed, you shouldn't have one, period. It's not a RIGHT, it's a privilege to own a pet. A shelter should be your last resort. You should try to find a good family for these kittens before dropping them off anywhere. This is so typical of our overconsumption society where people see pets as being "disposable". Sure, they are cute, but they are also a responsability. If you cannot take yours, then don't get pets. Simple as that.You wouldn't do it to your children, so why is it acceptable to do it to your pets ?

  • An animal lover
    July 26, 2013 - 07:28

    This lady is spright SPCA are not willing to take the lil critters if you nned help,if you are willing to have an animal then SPCA should help you spray your cat or dog,my mother had recently bought a cat from the animal shelter an older lady on a pension it cost her 100.00 for an old cat but when she wanted him neutered it cost her almost $200.00 the animal shelter here in St John's wouldnt even help her with it so why would people want to take these animals when within a month it cost so much,now in saying that if someone on social services are in the same position they can get it done for free,me I would have left the kittens on the managers door step.