FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Prince, the last cat from the worse hoarding situation the Society had ever seen, is still looking for his forever home yet it is important to understand the financial commitment made when a recovery from a hoard takes place.
A lot of times the SPCA are alerted to an animal hoarding situation by adult protective services or child protective services because of the living conditions for both the humans and animals. The general public will also alert the SPCA shared Candace Buchamer, North Peace Branch Manager, as they can smell the high ammonia smell coming from the house or the resident. Sometimes it can be friends or family, “Thankfully they are willing to step forward and bring that information,” said Buchamer.
Animal hoarding is a lot more common than people would think, Buchamer says she has been the Manager of the SPCA for the last three years and in that time they have removed over 350 animals from four different hoarding situations. It’s a lot more extreme than people know because people don’t talk about it unless you are directly involved in the situation.
For the SPCA to recover the animals is a heavy cost to the Society as the finances involved in a recovery situation of many ill-treated animals is not recouped as there is no additional funding. Costs involved include transportation of the animals and medical costs are the largest financial investment as all animals that have been recovered require a preliminary vet check and then pending on a case by case issue, each animal may have different medical needs from x-rays to medicine. These are the first direct costs to the Society that uses it’s fundraising efforts to be able to continue with recovery programs.
The second part of the cost once medical has been implemented is the rehabilitation of the animal in order to get it to a place it is able to be placed in its new home. When animals are housed in large unnatural numbers, this causes overcrowding and compacting which puts a great deal of stress on an animal when living in a chaotic environment. There are small numbers of animals that remain social, friendly and willing to see people, shares Buchamer yet the greater portion of the animals are scared, withdrawn and unsocialized. This means they will require more time in foster care and extra in the shelter.
The hoarding recovery last year took 287 cats off of the property at a cost of $21,000 to the SPCA, “we have no way to recoup that money,” said Buchamer. The SPCA has never dealt with a case of this magnitude before, “we were removing cats from April to October, every few days removing cats from the property, so we could keep working the numbers down. We started with the most sickly getting them de-stressed and getting medications on board, then collecting the pregnant females so their kittens were not born outside.”
The SPCA needs help with their fundraising efforts and welcomes volunteers that are open to facilitating tasks outside of the shelter such as help transporting animals and supporting fundraising in the community to be able to continue to save these animals lives.
With animals living in conditions where basic needs are not being met, there is the issue of reproduction and the rate of new life being created. It gets to a point where kittens are having kittens shared Buchamer and animals suffering and dying for no reason.
Buchamer wants the public to know these situations can start because someone dumps a pregnant cat on someone’s property or a mother with kittens. The situation can quickly get out of control if a person does not know how to manage the situation or does not ask for help soon enough. Buchamer says there is no judgement from the SPCA this is about helping, sometimes people in the situation feel they are drowning and it takes someone to step up on their behalf.
Prince is 6 months old now and Buchamer watched his birth, he requires a quieter home and does have some special requirements yet Buchamer shares they are manageable and Prince’s temperament makes up for them, especially when you get to see him interact with his favourite ribbon. “He can have a hard time trusting because of the medications and treatments he was given yet if you are willing to take time, he is a sweet boy, he is clean and he is quiet says,” Buchamer.
If you need to talk to the North Peace SPCA;
Call; (250) 785-7722