Ark Animal Sanctuary – Week of April 17, 2019

As a rescue organization there are good days and there are bad days. We do what we can but we do have limitations.

When we started The Ark our purpose was to help special needs and animals that had no other alternatives. It has quickly snowballed into people thinking that we can take everything and anything. Unfortunately that is just not the case.

People need to understand that if we can help we will. But when we say “no” there is a reason. We are a small facility that has the capability to house 60 cats. Originally we were only set up for 50, but seeing the need we were able to come up with a little more space by moving things around. That being said we now house 80 cats — 20 beyond our limitations. To me this speaks volumes about who we are and what we do.  At this point however there is simply no more room .

Every town legally has to contract with a shelter, and each town has an animal control officer. If you find a stray cat, it is important that you follow protocol and call your animal control officer. If you have an issue with your ACO, file a formal complaint with your town manager. I know this is time consuming, but it is the right way to do things.

Because each town contracts with a shelter, that town in turn pays that shelter to take strays from that area. With The Ark, we do not contract with any towns. That is our choice, but since we do not contract with towns, we have no guaranteed money coming in. Our money comes from hard work and fundraising.

I would also like to point out that we are a group of dedicated volunteers and for the most part we all work full time jobs. The hours we are open are limited, but we do the best we can. Every day, we receive so many messages asking us to take cats that it is impossible to get to all of them. We apologize for any inconvenience

With all of this being said I would like to tell you about two incidents that happened this week that were very frustrating.

A phone call came through asking us to take a mom and three kittens. It seems her adult son brought home a free cat unaware it was pregnant. Well, she had three kittens all female and they also had fleas. They tried a shelter and there was a drop off fee of $35 per cat, which they felt was too expensive. So I pointed out in total that would cost them $140 to take the cats to a safe shelter and that if they couldn’t come up with that then they never had the money to get the free cat spayed. So we were next on their list. I then politely told them for us to take in 4 females and eventually get them spayed and vaccinated it would cost us $200 per cat, in the end it would cost us $800 for their free cat.

We left it that she would call me back once she figured out how to come up with some money. She never called back, but a few days later there was a post on Facebook looking for homes for the kittens and that there would be a $20 rehoming fee. We were floored! The best interest of these cats were never once considered.  A word to the wise if you buy a kitten for $20 it will probably have fleas and this probably means that none of these cats will ever get spayed, but will instead keep reproducing. Nothing is free it eventually costs money. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it.

The next incident again left me speechless. It was a little after 4 p.m. and after a long day that began at 4:30 a.m. I was in the process of closing the shop and heading home. I had the flu and really wasn’t feeling that great. I had my coat on and was on the way out the door when a young lady and her two children came walking through the door with a cat in a carrier.  She had just come from the shelter and it was closed, so she decided to come to my place of business and expected me to take the cat. It was a stray in her yard and had been spraying and she just wanted the cat gone. I explained to her that we were full at the Ark and had no room. I also explained to her that she needed to contact her ACO and follow protocol. She said she really didn’t have time to do that.

I also told her she needed to contact the shelter her town contracted with. She told me if I didn’t take the cat she was just going to open the carrier and let him go. I was shocked and tried to maintain my composure. I explained that she should not do that and that she needed to take the cat back to where she found it and let it go or to follow protocol. We had no idea if this cat actually belonged to someone. She then said I literally do not have much time to spend with my kids so I can’t do all of that.

I totally understand that life isn’t always easy and there is not always time to do everything we need to do. But we can make good decisions and we can make bad decisions. We all have limitations and we all get frustrated.

Here is a thought, why not take the negative and turn it into a positive. If your time with your children is limited, cherish every moment, even if  you aren’t doing what you had planned or wanted. Take this opportunity to teach your children love and compassion towards animals, and how to always do the right thing. Everything we say and do makes an impression on our children.  This whole ordeal was not a very positive life lesson for anyone.

It bothered me to no end to have to say “no” to taking the cat, but we are on overflow and there was absolutely no room. The cat was not injured and could very well have been someone’s cat and that was even more reason to follow protocol. Did I sleep well that night? Absolutely not. I worried about the cat, but I also know that we have to take care of what we already have and we cannot risk losing our license because we have too many cats. I wonder if she slept well that night.

Thank you for your continued support and as always, thank you for reading our column.

The Ark Animal Sanctuary is located on 101 Old Woodstock Road. To contact Lorraine Monfils call 532-7387 or check out their Facebook page.

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