Apartment residents in Kamloops relieved of tenant with dozens of cats - InfoNews

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Apartment residents in Kamloops relieved of tenant with dozens of cats

Image Credit: B.C. SPCA/ FILE PHOTO
December 14, 2016 - 6:30 PM


KAMLOOPS - The SPCA has taken in dozens of cats from a Kamloops man in a bizarre case, offering at least temporary reprieve from other tenants in an apartment building.

Charlotte Daykin had been dealing with the foul smell coming from the next-door unit in her North Shore apartment building for about a month. Her neighbour had at least 31 cats in his small bachelor apartment until the man was evicted.

Daykin says the man originally told the landlord of the building he would be bringing in "a few cats."

"He started off with 21 cats and 15 kittens," Daykin said. "I was not too pleased with that."

Daykin said the smell coming from the apartment affected everyone in the building and eventually bylaw and the SPCA took over. She says the man eventually bought an old truck and camper he used to house the cats.

"He moved all of the cats in there,” she says. “They started scratching at the windows, at the door…. With the temperature drop and that many animals in that tiny area, I was highly concerned."

The cats were eventually taken from the camper and put into temporary boarding at the Kamloops SPCA branch. John Ramsay, supervisor for bylaw services, confirms the cats were seized from the same area as Daykin's Oak Road apartment.

Daykin says the man actually had closer to 50 cats, but the SPCA says they had only taken 31 into temporary care. City of Kamloops bylaws allow for just two.


BC SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk says the man is now working with the organization to get his cats back. She says the cats were taken in by the Kamloops SPCA branch last week, but no animal cruelty investigation has been launched into the man who owns them.

"It had nothing to do with our cruelty investigations department," Chortyk says. "It was just our shelter (which) was called by animal control and asked if we could take the cats temporarily."

Chortyk says she understands the man was being evicted from his home, so animal control contacted the SPCA to ask for help to temporarily home the cats.

"(Animal control) contacted us to see if we could provide temporary compassionate boarding until the individual could find a new location," Chortyk says. "He wants to keep the animals so we’re providing, at no cost, some compassionate boarding so the animals will be looked after until he can find a new place."

Chortyk says the man is hoping to live with his 31 cats again once he finds a new home. She says once the cats were taken into temporary shelter, it was determined none of the animals had any major health issues.

"If for some reason he is not able to find a home for them or decides that he can’t keep all of them, we would certainly step in and make sure the cats got good homes," she says.

BC SPCA Regional Manager for the Interior, Tracy Westmoreland, says some of the cats have already been returned to the man and he's hoping to take the rest back at some point.

"We’re literally just going day to day, we do not have all of the cats in our care right now, some have already been returned to the owner," Westmoreland says. "So we hope that in a relatively quick time he’ll be able to take those cats into his own care."

The intake had a big impact on the local branch last week. On Wednesday night, Dec. 7, the Kamloops SPCA branch posted on their Facebook page that they would be closed all day Dec. 8.

Chortyk says if there are not enough foster home volunteers to temporarily take in some cats from the shelter, some people may be turned away when surrendering cats.

"We really are dependent on the community so if our shelter is full and we don’t have foster volunteers, (we are limited)," she says."Our capacity is as many animals as we can take into the shelter safely for their welfare and then the number of volunteers that we have."

Westmoreland says the shelter isn't looking at fostering the cats out yet. The branch is just focused on taking care of the cats on a day-to-day basis.

The 31 cats were being kept in a trailer, Chortyk says, although she's not clear on what size the trailer was. Daykin says it was a camper trailer; she knows because she saw the cats being taken away.

Chortyk says although there was concern over the small space the cats were living in, it was the fact that the unit had no heat which worried the organization.

"My understanding was that he was being moved from his location and there was no heat in the place he was living so it wasn’t safe for the cats to stay there regardless," she says.

Chortyk says even though the cats were being kept in a smaller space, there's no indication the owner did anything wrong.

"If the animals are not in distress, if they are being cared for, then the number of animals really becomes a bylaw issue, if the municipality has any bylaws around the number of animals you can keep in a certain area," she says. "We don’t really have jurisdiction to just make someone give up their animals."

Chortyk is hoping some space will be freed up at the Kamloops branch at some point and Westmoreland adds whether the owner wants to take all of the cats back, or surrender some of them, the SPCA is planning on working closely with him.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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