The City of Edmonton is located in Alberta, Canada and has a population estimated at 1,429,743. Unfortunately, the city is also home to roughly 65,000 cats. Edmonton made the news today after the city pled guilty relating to the death of three feral cats in 2018.
The city pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of “causing an animal to be in distress” under the Animal Protection Act (APA) They’ve been fined $1,000 while all charges against four city employees were withdrawn.
The incident occurred on May 18, 2018 when feral cats were transported from Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC) to another facility where they were part of a program to provide homes for feral cats. Within one day of being moved from the ACCC three cats were dead.
The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals laid charges. Charges were originally made against the city and four employees but the charges against the four employees were dropped.
David Aitken, branch manager for Community Standards and Neighbourhoods, said in a news release Monday.
“As an organization, we accept full responsibility for this incident and we are seeking ways to strengthen and improve procedures and guidelines related to the feral cat re-homing program that was suspended in 2018. Situations like this deepen our resolve to find a new way to help unadoptable cats find new homes.”
The Blue Collar Cat Pilot Program was started in March 2018 to provide homes in warehouses or storage yards after the cats were spayed/neutered and medically cleared for rehoming. The city reports 800 feral cats are brought to the ACCC yearly. Since these cats aren’t used to humans, most are difficult to rehome as pets due to behavior issues. Many are euthanized if an alternative placement can’t be found.
During the first three months of the program, 33 cats were placed as working cats. The city stated their plans to relaunch the feral TNR program later this year in an interview with the Edmonton Journal once “necessary checks and balances are in place to ensure the safety of feral cats.”
I don’t understand why charges were dropped against the four employees. If anyone has further information on that please post it in the comment section below.
For those not familiar with working cat programs, look for the ear tip. Should you visit a business with an ear-tipped cat, know that the cat is performing a valuable service by keeping the rodent population in check and the business owner is allowing a cat who would otherwise be euthanized to have a chance at a healthy life.