Cat rescuers often use their hearts not their heads.
Successful and sustainable cat rescue has to be run like a business. There needs to be a business-like approach and this is the difficulty because many kind people who love cats want to help but on some occasions lack the necessary business skills and end up having a hard time coping emotionally .
Good intentions and a kind, tender heart are not enough if a rescue operation involves a largish number of cats.
I can envisage a cat rescuer being emotionally sandwiched between the desire to help unwanted cats and the difficulties of making it work because of financial constraints and the sheer workload.
Ruth Chiasson, the president of Thibodaux-based HOPE for Animals rescue says
“Their hearts are in the right place, but when you commit to rescuing an animal, you have to take care of it financially and physically”
I think she has made a good point and it begs the question whether cat lovers who are would-be cat rescuers sometimes need to be protected from themselves through state laws.
I am not a great fan of imposing laws on anyone least of all cat rescuers but when it goes wrong society has to fall back onto general animal welfare laws concerning animal cruelty when it might be better to have legislation which imposes some standards on cat rescue to ensure it is successful while protecting both cats and person.
We are seeing some unhappy failures in respect of cat rescue. The Westberry saga is the most recent high profile case. She is being prosecuted under animal cruelty laws.
What if there were laws in place which placed restrictions on what she would have been allowed to do? A law to limit the number of rescue cats perhaps and a regulation which stipulates that a cat rescuer needs to be registered. There are other potential conditions that could be obligatory before a person is allowed to register as a cat rescuer such as proving (s)he has a workable business plan and some start up funding.
These thoughts are, in fact, more likely to become a reality in order to put an end to cat rescuers who become hoarders. However, they won’t be successful in protecting cats unless something is also done to reduce the number of unwanted cats being created and that may also require legislation.