In seven years, one pair of cats and their offspring can produce more than 400,000 kittens. That’s a statistic that Reid Harvey would like to try and change.
As the new president of the Vernon and District Animal Care Society (VDACS), Harvey is continuing to stress the non-profit group’s message of the importance of spaying and neutering while providing financial assistance to low-income pet owners who can’t afford the procedures.
“The message is slowly getting out there about spay/neuter, especially when you think that our group alone has fixed about 10,000 cats,” said Harvey. “We hear lots of different reasons for not fixing those cute kitties, including the ‘I would like my children to see the miracle of birth’ reason. I wonder if they realize the tragic life and eventual death that very often follows when the kittens are not adopted.
“There are so many strays and unwanted, abandoned pets out there that it should be mandatory that everyone has their pet spayed or neutered. We would still not run out of adoptable, available pets for years and years. If that sound harsh, I guess it is, but one just has to get involved in any organization like this to become truly aware of how bad the situation really is.”
The Interior sales rep for a Surrey-based hearth products distributor, Harvey takes over from VDACS founder and outgoing president Heather Pettit, who has retired and moved to the coast.
He and his wife got involved with the group as volunteers about 10 years ago.
“We started talking to Heather and being animal lovers we appreciated what she and VDACS were trying to do. Like so many organizations, they were always short of volunteers, so we started helping.”
Harvey and his family have always had a house full of pets; at one point the menagerie included three dogs, a cat and a rabbit. Currently, they have a tabby cat they adopted through VDACS.
“She had some health issues and allergies which made her hard to adopt out, so we took a chance and she has taken over our lives and our house. Now she is very healthy, and she has us right where she wants us: under her paw.”
Taking over as president in October, Harvey continues to promote the society’s mandate of focusing on the problem of overpopulation and providing financial assistance to low-income families.
“Often these pets are extremely important to those people and they simply cannot afford to pay full retail for the surgery, yet they really want to do the right thing.”
While the society does not run a shelter, through its website it does try and assist with the adoption process for pet owners needing to re-home their pets. It also operates a lost-and-found cat registry.
“VDACS is 100 per cent local volunteers whose focus is to help prevent feline abandonment and over population, which results in astounding numbers of feral cats.
“While feral cats are truly wild animals and usually cannot be domesticated they do serve to help keep the rodent population down. Unfortunately there are far too many ferals around. We don’t know the figures for Canada but in the U.S. the estimate is over 60 million and climbing.”
There are a number of ways for people to get involved with VDACS.
“New dedicated volunteers are needed to assist with our fund raising events and possibly join the board as current directors ease into retirement. New, fresh ideas and energy are always welcome.”
New members are always welcome to join for an annual membership fee of $25.
“Donations are always needed and much appreciated. Our monthly vet bills are staggering. Non-monetary donations to support our fundraising events such as the bake sale and silent auction are appreciated. Also donation of time, energy and manpower to help with events is needed.”
For information or to get involved with VDACS, please e-mail to vernonanimalcare.com.