Abandoned cats need council's help
HER compassion explains the kittens on her veranda, the fact she slows down to avoid wildlife on the road and her determination to see a purpose-built feline facility at the Southern Downs Regional Council’s animal pound.
Helen Johnson is certainly an animal lover; for the past 18 years the Warwick woman has been picking up after irresponsible pet owners.
Or to put it more precisely she has been caring for and re-homing where possible the dozens of dogs and cats people dump along her road each year.
But her kindness is reaching its limits, stretched by the ever-increasing numbers of abandoned kittens that find their way to her Sandy Creek Road home.
Ideally she would like to see people de-sexing their animals to halt the cycle, however in the meantime she said Southern Downs Regional Council had a vital role to play.
“As ratepayers we should be able to ask for council support with this problem,” Mrs Johnson said.
“We need facilities at the council’s Wentworth Street pound so abandoned or feral cats can be left there and dealt with humanely.
“Otherwise these young animals are just left by the road or thrown off a bridge in a bag; they either suffer a cruel death or they become a menace to native wildlife.
“There has to be a better way.”
Mrs Johnson has diligently tried to re-home young animals when she can, but that option also has its limits.
Warwick Animal Welfare Association president Shilo Novley knows too well the dilemma of unwanted pets. Her association was forced to turn away about 10 kittens per week during this year’s summer breeding season.
“People get angry when we can’t take them, but we are foster carers and we’re limited to 10-15 kittens at a time,” Ms Novley said.
“We are basically left to do what pet owners should have done.”
Ms Novley said in the four years since the association started in Warwick they had re-homed 900 animals. At least 75 per cent were cats.
“People need to know that if they find feral or abandoned cats they can get a statutory declaration from their vet and have the animals euthanised, with the cost passed on to the local council,” she said.
An SDRC spokeswoman said currently figures did not reflect an increase in the problem of abandoned cats.
“About five cats are dropped off at the dog pound per month, and approximately five are euthanised per month,” she said.
“The council is in the process of having a new dog and cat impoundment facility designed.
“Council is intending to have the new facility completed prior to December 1 from when cats will be required to be registered.”