CORNER BROOK — A catastrophic bacterial infection left volunteers in Corner Brook with no other option than to destroy the remaining 80 plus cats rescued last May.
Over 200 cats, referred to by workers as the “East Side Cats,” were rescued from a home on McWhirters Lane by the SPCA and Scaredy Cat Rescue.
According to a post on the group’s Facebook page late Monday night, the West NL SPCA said it “no longer realistically (has) any options here.
“It is with heart felt sadness that both organizations made the toughest decision; to euthanize the remaining East Side Cats in accordance to the advice given to our organizations.”
LeeAnn O’Reilly of the Bay of Islands SPCA said the illness had been identified as a bacterial infection that is easily spread among a confined cat population.
She said it is a commonly found bacteria, which cats easily fight off under normal conditions, but that’s not the case for a stressed colony.
“In the cat population the animals are stressed,” she told the Western Star Monday, of the felines being housed in the old fire hall in Curling. “That was inevitable considering we moved them from basically a wild situation, to capturing them and vaccinating them, and in most cases sterilizing them as well.”
O’Reilly said the fast-spreading disease requires each cat to be isolated from any others for 30 days, and treated with antibiotic medication.
Obviously for a group that is stretched to the limit now, producing that kind of arrangement would have been incredibly difficult.
The population, which included the cats from May rescue and additional cats rescued since then, had to be removed from the fire hall by the end of the month anyway, and would not have been able to be moved into the new SPCA location on the north shore of the Bay of Islands until a fire suppression system had been put in place.
“Needless to say, both organizations do not have the 81 foster homes or the financial means to immediately meet these cats needs nor do we have any assurance that the costly treatment for this illness will be effective,” the Facebook post revealed.
O’Reilly described the illness as a “drowning from the inside out,” saying it was traumatic for the cats.
“ ... the only humane answer to this crisis is to end their suffering,” according to West NL SPCA.