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Animal advocates call on owners to tag their pets
Lesley Solunac found Lovey licking birdseed off her front porch.
The lost and skin-and-bones cat, then only two pounds, was parked underneath a bird feeder in front of Solunac’s home in the West Burnside Road area, lapping up whatever birds left behind.
Four weeks later, the now four-pound tabby is still there – and very much in need of a permanent home.
“We are just suckers I guess, both my husband and I,” Solunac said. “She was just bones. We kept her here instead of the SPCA because it is less stressful. We are (now) feeding her every few hours.”
Over the years, Solunac and her husband Alex have taken in four dogs and two cats, all of whom somehow ended up on their front steps, badly in need of food and shelter.
Four of them have found their original, or new homes, but the Saanich resident who works with the disabled said there are better ways to help find the owners of animals which end up on Greater Victoria’s streets. All cats, including indoor cats, need to have some kind of identification, on a collar or tagged with a tattoo.
“I hope to have our two extra cats in wonderful ‘furever’ homes and I hope to raise awareness of tagging and IDing cats,” she said. “They should be tagged or licensed even if they (live) inside. I didn’t used to think we should, but now we do.”
The SPCA and the Capital Regional District animal shelters have websites where people with lost animals can look through a photograph archive of found pets, but Solunac said tagging is an needed extra step that could potentially help pets stay healthy and reduce the suffering of lost animals.
“I don’t want to be a finger wagger, but this is hard,” she said. “When I have been looking for months at these postings of all these people who have lost their cats, it is heartbreaking. If their cats had some kind of collar or identification they would probably be united. “
Putting identification on pets costs money, but it can provide peace of mind, Solunac said. Collars with identities, unique code tattoos and even microchips under the skin are options for pet owners.
Pamela Saddler, who runs non-profits Victorialostpets.com for lost animals and Broken Promises Rescue Society for rescue animals, is asking owners to have protection for their pets in place.
“Five per cent of animals are actually tagged, so most are untraceable,” Saddler said. “Inside cats still get out. It (may not) be traceable back to you ever. (An ID tag) is the only way for the animal to get back to its owner.”
Saddler said she gets calls and emails every day about people finding lost or injured animals and at least five posts on her websites every day about missing cats.
At worst, she says, it is for closure. If a deceased animal is found owners will at least know what has happened and aren’t left in the dark.
“It is definitely emotional because it is an ongoing thing,” Saddler said. “It is $100 for life. It is for peace of mind.”
See crd.bc.ca/animal/cat_id.htm for information on getting a free cat ID tag.