Should cat rescuers be protected from themselves though laws?

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.

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Should cat rescuers be protected from themselves though laws? — 6 Comments

  1. In my city, anyone with 10 or more cats needs to obtain a cattery license. It is not expensive, but you are subject to periodic inspection by animal control officers. You will also be handed information that will let you know what is expected of you & what standards need to be met. IMHO, cat rescuers should not go it alone–they need financial support & some business savvy if their efforts are to be successful in the long run.

  2. I’m all for any law to protect cats! I know most people don’t like more new laws but in the case of protecting animals I think there can’t be too many laws!

  3. If by “laws” you mean like those that already exist to limit the number of cats in a household, I can see how that would be almost impossible to enforce. Cat rescuers who turn into “hoarders” tend to be very isolated by choice and out of fear. They don’t let others into their homes. Often the cats are kept indoors. Under these circumstances how will such laws protect the individual from herself? Given the psychological dynamics my bet is that in reality they would contribute to, not alleviate, her pathology.

    • Thanks for that. What about registration of cat rescuers? They could be subject to annual spot check inspections (without notice). Anyone not registered can’t do cat rescue. The number could be limited to make inspections manageable.

  4. Well I’m not sure, but I guess if it makes the Cats safer which is what most people want. I guess it would be hard to police. I think something needs to be done in light of JW Case and other extreme Hording. I dont know how those people cope with over 10. Myself It starts getting expensive and harder when you have over 6. You need to give each cat individual attention, if you dont have the means for the cats or kittens to be in a good condition.

    • I agree that policing it will be tricky but beyond a certain number of cats there needs to be systems in place and the authorities need to ensure that the person has the ability and facilities to carry out cat rescue to a decent standard. It is too difficulty for the average person but some of them think they can do it.

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