Cat owners looking to get rid of their pet are being warned to expect up to a $75 drop-off fee at the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society.
Melanie Blanchette, executive director of the animal shelter, says the springtime melt has landed an influx of cats on their doorstep, leaving them beyond capacity.
The no-kill organization, which relies solely on donations for its day-to-day survival, has been forced to keep the excess felines in bathrooms and offices, simply can’t afford to take the animals in for free.
The decision has led to a number of angry confrontations with members of the public hoping to walk away from their animals or turn in strays.
“With the warm weather comes a number of intakes,” Blanchette said.
“I don’t know if it’s the fact strays are more visible or more rampant, but as of this week we are at capacity, where prior to this week we were not.
“So what we would like the public to know is that we have a bring-in fee, a drop-off fee for animals.”
The $100 is only a fraction of the cost it takes to care for each cat, including de-worming, shots, ridding them of ear mites, micro-chipping and spaying or neutering operations.
Then there’s food.
“It allows us to offset some of the cost. When people are bringing in strays from the public, it does cost us a number of fees medically,” Blanchette said.
“That costs us anywhere from $500 to $600, depending on the gender of the cat.”
The fee is lowered to $50 for animals that have been fixed.
Blanchette, who is hoping to adopt out as many of the animals in her care as possible, wanted to remind the public that if they take an animal into their care it becomes their responsibility under the law.
She’s trying to discourage people from covertly dropping animals off in the middle of the night, noting their Rosslyn Road shelter property is equipped with security cameras and if an animal is simply left behind, every effort will be made to track down the owner.
Blanchette said while the TBDHS is back in the black financially, they’re still looking for more donors to help the cause.