Dump your garbage, not your cats: Clarenville fights against abandoning pets
Abandoned cats and kittens in the landfill in Clarenville have prompted the town to state what seems pretty obvious: don't leave your pets at the dump.
Leaving an animal at the dump is a violation of the Animal Health and Protection Act. It results in a rise in the feline population, and forces cats to find food and shelter in a landfill.
"It's kind of a well-known fact in the community that this is a place where people do bring their cats to abandon them," said Deputy Mayor Ashling Avery.
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The sign was erected recently, after Avery learned of efforts in the community to trap and rescue the abandoned pets.
"It's a regular occurrence," said MacKenzie Dove, a volunteer with the Clarenville area SPCA.
"In the spring, we normally have more kittens and we find them out here …Many of them are very frightened, very nervous around humans. They are also very malnourished, or very poorly nourished so they can be very skinny, timid."
The effort to rehabilitate an animal that has been living outdoors is much harder for volunteers, who have to reintroduce the cats to humans.
"Cats in dumps [are] an increasingly problematic situation, especially for these animals," Dove said.
"With these landfills now closing across the province, it's becoming even worse."
'Times have changed'
The group that's spearheaded a movement to catch them estimates there are very few cats left, and with town hopes the new sign will deter irresponsible owners from adding to the population.
Among other things, Dove believes people bring their cats to the dump because they don't want to pay the relinquish fee at the SPCA. She said that's no excuse.
"If somebody comes to us with a dire situation or explains their situation to us, we would never turn away a cat or kitten because of a relinquish fee," Dove said.
"Times have changed and laws have changed."
If you're caught dumping your animal, you can face a fine or jail time if the case goes to court.