Sudbury Pet Save director alarmed by number of homeless cats and kittens

Jill Pessot has been running Pet Save in Sudbury for almost 20 years. She says the facility is over capacity by 50 to 60 cats and kittens that need a home.

Spay or neuter your pets is the message from Pet Save director

Jill Pessot, director of Pet Save in Sudbury, with one of the 150 homeless cats the facility is caring for. (Jan Lakes/CBC)

Jill Pessot is alarmed by what she's seeing.

Pessot is the director of Pet Save, an organization in Sudbury that's been rescuing abandoned, abused and neglected cats and dogs for almost 20 years.

According to Pessot, Pet Save is having the worst year in a decade for homeless cats and kittens. The building is overflowing with felines that need foster care and a forever home.

"We even had a call today just a couple of hours ago about a mom and babies under a deck," said Pessot.  "The temperature's going to drop tonight, so this is very serious," she added.

Pessot says the Pet Save facility in Lively is full with almost 150 cats. They've run out of cat intake cages and are setting up dog crates for the overflow.

Two of Pet Save's homeless cats wait for foster care or a permanent home. The facility is overcapacity by 50 to 60 felines. (Jan Lakes/CBC)

Pessot strongly encourages people to have their pets spayed or neutered, and she places a special emphasis on the need to stop female cats from having litters.

"The alarming statistic is one unspayed female cat over three years exponentially equals 7,000," she said. 

"If you don't have the money for a spay or neuter then you might want to reconsider the type of pet you get," said Pessot. "There's lots of pets you can get that are inexpensive and don't require that type of responsibility," she added.
Pessot is worried that her volunteers are getting tired.

"Many of our people have worked straight through days off, days on end, and weeks on end just to be able to meet the workload," she said. 

"When you add 30 per cent higher volume in a building you create the physical work every morning," she explained. Pessot says Pet Save volunteers number around 200 but she could easily use another 50 to 100.

She's also concerned about outbreaks among the cats. 

"You bring one cat in who's a carrier of an upper respiratory viral and suddenly you have five, six, seven animals sick and now you're into big money trying to medicate them and then you have to quarantine them," she explained. 

"All that extra work can be prevented if we just didn't have the numbers in the building.We are literally 50 to 60 cats over where we should be," she said.

Pessot says her organization is not funded by any level of government and relies on fundraising and revenue from its thrift store on Notre Dame Avenue.

"We just watched Wild at Heart close for that exact reason because of the overwhelming numbers, not enough manpower, and not enough funds," she said.

Wild at Heart was a volunteer organization that rescued and rehabilitated wildlife. It closed for good December 2.

Pessot says Pet Save's biggest need right now is volunteers and money.

"If anybody can make a $10 donation . . . or drop by our thrift store and do some shopping," she said.

With files from Jan Lakes


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