As you may know, the Douro Street animal shelter had to close for a week or so recently because of a suspected case of ringworm. In one specific jurisdiction within recent memory, before test results had been returned and ringworm confirmed, several dozen cats were euthanized to rid the shelter of the problem before the local citizenry stepped in to bring a halt to the deadly process.
In our case, the manager, Sarah Tickner, and her staff took a different tack. Samples were taken and sent to a lab for analysis and, while they waited for the results, they donned safety gear and bathed all the cats in the shelter, about 50 of them, in a chemical solution to reduce the chances of contracting and spreading the disease through their numbers. Have you ever tried to bathe a cat let alone 50, one at a time, in a foul smelling (sulphurous) liquid?
Meanwhile, volunteers dressed in garbage bags as a barrier to the possible infection, took the dogs out for their walks and daily exercise. Other staff wore the same protective clothing while on the job; all in the ambient temperatures we experienced over the last few weeks. As a result of these efforts, only one cat was euthanized; the original, surrendered cat which had many other issues beyond possible ringworm.
Congratulations to the staff of our shelter, which is now known as the Stratford-Perth Humane Society after amalgamating with the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society on July 1, for their unwavering compassion and commitment to life for these unfortunate animals rather than pursuing the easy alternative.
As it turns out, ringworm was not confirmed, thereby validating Sarah's professionalism and decision making ability. We are fortunate in this community to have such dedicated people working for us and our animals.
There is a strong possibility that Stratford-Perth will have a much needed, new shelter in the not too distant future if support from you, the public, so wills it. The wheels are in motion and our new-found association with KW Humane will certainly move the dream closer to reality. Anyone who has visited the Douro Street facility will attest to the fact that the as-yet unwanted animals residing there deserve the conditions a modern building would provide.
After witnessing the heroic efforts of the staff to save animals during the recent closure, no one could disagree that they too deserve a new building within which they would be better able to administer to the animals in their care.
To close, there are presently over 100 cats on the shelter's roll; some there, others in foster care. My favourite is Finn, a four-year-old beauty presently holding court at Pet Valu on Ontario Street. Due to a subsidy by an anonymous donor, his adoption fee will be reduced to $50 which includes spay/neuter, micro chip, vaccinations, and six months of free health coverage.
If not Finn, consider adopting any animal from the Stratford-Perth Humane Society. Contact them at 519-273-6600.
Larry Baswick, chair, Stratford-Perth Humane Society Advisory Council