October 25, 2018
The City of Edmonton and four employees have been charged with regulatory offences under the Animal Protection Act. The charges were laid by the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Alberta SPCA).
On May 18, 2018, feral cats were transported from the City’s Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC) to another City facility as part of a pilot program to provide homes for feral cats. Unfortunately, three of the cats died within one day of being moved from ACCC.
“The staff at the Animal Care & Control Centre care profoundly about animals and their welfare,” said David Aitken,
Branch Manager of Community Standards and Neighbourhoods
. “Our staff had the best of intentions in looking for a new way to help unadoptable feral cats and provide them with a safe place to live. There was no intent to harm these animals. This incident has been devastating to our employees and we are doing everything we can to support them while taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.”
The City immediately suspended the pilot program, reported it to the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) and conducted a comprehensive internal review into the incident. The matter was referred to the Alberta SPCA to conduct an investigation.
It’s estimated that Edmonton has about 65,000 feral cats. Most live outdoors with little or no human contact. They have not been socialized with humans and often show aggression. About 800 feral cats are brought into the ACCC shelter each year, but because they cannot be easily adopted as pets, the distressing reality is many are euthanized.
A new pilot program was launched in March 2018 to provide feral cats that are brought into the ACCC with suitable homes. After being spayed or neutered and medically cleared for release, the animals were transferred from the ACCC to other City facilities with warehouses or storage yards. The cats are given food, water, and shelter and can live out their lives, including acting as “mousers” to help keep rodent populations under control. Thirty-three cats were successfully placed in City of Edmonton facilities during the program’s first three months.