Dumped cats supported

Feline lover and photographer Jody Hushard-Vannorden is tackling the province's feral-cat-colony problem.

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Feline lover and photographer Jody Hushard-Vannorden is tackling the province's feral-cat-colony problem by asking photographers to post images of homeless cats to her Facebook group, "Dumped cats of Nova Scotia."

The Shelburne resident is trying to raise $2,000 for her local animal-welfare organization, PET Projects. Haligonians concerned about this city's feral-cat problem could take a page out of this Shelburne group's book. Pet Projects is a volunteer- and donation-based organization which launched a trap/neuter/release pilot program to humanely control the population of Shelburne's cat-colonies. The pilot, says the group, has proven successful.

Dartmouth councillor Jim Smith is asking that HRM take a look at sponsoring a city-wide trap/neuter/release program. Thanks to the 2007 cat bylaw fiasco, there's much resistance to the city doing anything that has anything to do with cats but, as Shelburne demonstrates, trap/neuter/release programs have a proven track record. Whether HRM can afford such a program is another question.

Cat colonies exist partly because owners don't spay or neuter their cats and later can't be bothered to find homes for their cats when they move. Left to their own devices, domesticated cats often freeze or starve to death.

"These animals are coming out of the comfort of a home, they're thrown out of a car and there's nobody there to feed them," explains Hushard-Vannorden.

The former SPCA worker describes photographing the cat colonies as "kind of disturbing," as this is the worst she's ever seen the cat-dumping problem. To Hushard-Vannorden, the key to solving the feral-cat problem lies in creating mobile spay-and-neuter clinics and increasing government funding to Nova Scotia's SPCAs and animal welfare groups.

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