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Sad Story re Nova Scotia SPCA

November 15th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Sunday, November 14, 2004
SPC killed our cat
By Ruth Davenport

IT'LL BE ALL RIGHT: Brothers George Yuill, 7 (left), and Ian, 4, hold a poster of their lost cat Katie, who was killed two days after going missing. (Photo: DARRELL OAKE)

By Ruth Davenport – The Daily News
It wasn’t curiosity that killed Kim Yuill’s cat — it was the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty.

Yuill’s cat Katie left her Hammonds Plains home early Nov. 2, and was collected by an area resident who identified herself as “Tina,” who was in the habit of feeding Katie in the mornings.

Believing the cat was a stray, Tina took Katie to the SPC shelter in Burnside and signed her over for medical checks, declaring her intention to adopt the cat after discussing it with her family.

But the next evening, a Wednesday, Tina received a call from the shelter manager asking if she still wanted to adopt the cat.

Tina said she did, and inquired about having the cat declawed, to which she received the brusque reply, “You’re not allowed to declaw our cats. You can’t have her.”

Tina returned to the shelter on Thursday with completed adoption forms, declared she wouldn’t de-claw the cat and asked to adopt her.

But Tina and her three-year-old daughter were told the cat was too wild for adoption, and had been destroyed.

“No one ever told me, if you’re going to declaw the cat, if you don’t pick her up today, if you don’t adopt her, we’re going to put her to sleep,” said Tina. “If that had been the case, I probably would have just brought her home.”

Soon afterwards, Yuill and her husband, Bart Henneberry, met Tina as they went door-to-door seeking their lost kitty. Tina had to deliver the sad news.

“It’s horrible; it’s just a really odd sequence of events,” said Yuill. “People need to know: don’t feed someone else’s cats, and make sure your cat has a collar.”

Henneberry said that Katie did get agitated in veterinarian clinics, but scoffed at the idea that she was terminally wild, suggesting another motive for the euthanasia.

“I think they’d rather kill a cat than have its claws removed,” he said.

“This is a cat that our four-year-old will hold and pull on her tail, and she’s too wild? Maybe she was nervous in there, but any cat would be nervous there.”

Judith Gass, provincial president of the SPC, said a prospective owner would be encouraged to seek alternatives to de-clawing, but stressed that Tina’s mention of declawing didn’t cause Katie’s death.

“It was quite a nasty cat; it scratched the shelter manager and drew blood,” Gass said.

“And on Wednesday, the shelter manager spoke with (Tina), who said she was not going to adopt it. So the next day we euthanized it, as we had deemed it unadoptable.”

Tina was adamant that she had never said she wouldn’t adopt the cat.

“I wouldn’t have dragged my three-year-old with me, who had renamed the cat, if we didn’t intend to adopt that cat,” said Tina.

Gass said the chain of events was highly unusual, and encouraged any owners who were missing cats to check with area shelters.

“We’ve got 150 cats at our shelter right now,” said Gass. “I’d ask the owners to come forward.”

But Yuill and Henneberry — who said they’d called the shelter with no luck — sardonically advocated the opposite.

“It’s just terrible,” said Yuill. “They say they only reunite three families with lost cats in a year, but if they’re not going to help you, and they’re just going to kill your cat, then you have no chance.”