Employees at the BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot branch were surprised when they arrived at the shelter on Wednesday (July 6) morning to discover a tent had been left outside the entrance.
They were dismayed when they discovered the tent contained a mother cat and her four kittens, who had been left outside of the branch in the rain overnight with no food, water or litter box.
Deb Thierstein of the SPCA says this is extremely dangerous, as there are often wild animals living around the SPCA grounds on Broughton Street.
“Or they could have escaped,” she added, which could have led to a wild colony of cats forming around the grounds.
Luckily, the cats were relatively unharmed and are now being held at the SPCA branch until a foster family can be found for them.
Looking over the camera footage from the previous night, SPCA branch manager Sam Sattar said that the tent had been left outside at around 9:30 p.m. What’s worse, the perpetrators dropped off the cats and then helped themselves to some donated bottles and cans that had been sitting outside of the branch.
“The bottles and cans were a donation to the SPCA,” explained Thierstein. A portion of the funds raised by bottle returns goes towards the branch’s spay and neuter program, which helps low-income families spay and neuter their cats.
Sattar said this isn’t the first time the branch has had donations stolen over the past few years. People often leave the donations outside of the branch after hours, which unfortunately leaves them unguarded.
“We greatly appreciate those donations that are coming in from the public,” said Sattar. “But sadly, sometimes they do get taken away.”
Although the branch does have a video surveillance system, Sattar says they are planning to add a fence around the area for increased security.
“As a non-profit, it’s so hard for us to keep up with it,” said Sattar.
The SPCA branch is encouraging people to drop off animals during regular hours and to always call ahead to make sure the branch has space.
“People mean well, but right now we’re overpopulated by cats,” said Thierstein.
“It’s not that we won’t take them,” added Sattar. “But we only have so much space. Sometimes you have to wait your turn.”
People are also encouraged to leave their donations during business hours so they can be put away safely. The Alberni-Clayoquot branch is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The branch also has a drop-off program at the local Bottle Depot.