The late Margaret Franey loved cats, always managing to find a homeless or feral cat who needed her help.
That’s why the island resident reserved $50,000 to help animals in her community and to address Salt Spring Island’s most pressing animal issue: cat overpopulation. Margaret’s wish was to help as many animals as possible and to challenge residents to donate to the Salt Spring SPCA Branch. From now through Dec. 31, 2013, the first $50,000 donated will be matched dollar for dollar by Margaret Franey’s commitment.
“There are approximately 1,600 unowned, stray and free roaming cats on the island,” says branch manager Sean Hogan. “Our branch averages an intake and adoption of 125 cats per year, representing only eight per cent of the estimated homeless population in the community. We have already surpassed that average this year with an additional 40 cats and kittens from a colony on Rainbow Road."
Those are the lucky ones, as most homeless cats face untimely deaths full of pain and distress fending for themselves in nature, often leaving behind scores of kittens who repeat the cycle, Hogan notes. “We only see a handful of the animals who are out there. If more cats were spayed and neutered, we would see reduction in the number of stray and feral populations on the island.”
The Salt Spring SPCA sees spaying and neutering as a priority for reducing the number of unwanted litters in the community. “The cat crisis on the island has to be addressed. Continuing with the status quo of an unchecked cat population that is growing every year would be a mistake and risk animal welfare all around.”
According to Hogan, the Salt Spring SPCA receives several calls each week reporting stray, free roaming cats. “Almost every neighbourhood and cul de sac on the island has cats that may be unowned and unwanted. The fate for many of these cats is not a happy one.”
A recent dramatic rescue and eventual death of a stray kitten highlights the cat crisis on Salt Spring, Hogan notes. On Tuesday last week, a starving three-month-old kitten was brought into SPCA care after an employee for North Salt Spring Waterworks found the kitten in a locked equipment shed. The kitten is believed to have been unintentionally shut in the shed without food or water for seven days before being rescued. Although the kitten, named “Lucky,” rallied back to life in the first few hours, she later died from organ failure.
The public’s donations, matched by Franey’s gift, will support aid for cats in immediate distress and also help create the first Spay Neuter Intervention Program (SNIP) fund that will address the root causes of animal distress and eliminate future suffering for cats on the island.
“I know that if she is looking down she will be thrilled to see this money now being spent to achieve her fondest wish of helping solve the stray cat problem on Salt Spring,” says Margaret’s husband Basil Franey, of her legacy.
To help, animal lovers can make donations online, in person at the branch (540 Lower Ganges Road) or by calling 250-537-2123.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.