Kamloops family issues plea for return of cat adopted out by B.C. SPCA - InfoNews

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Kamloops family issues plea for return of cat adopted out by B.C. SPCA

Cassie the cat has been a family pet for more than ten years, and his family wants him back.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Shannon Aplin
August 13, 2020 - 6:30 AM

Shannon Aplin had her cat Cassie for more than 10 years, but now she’s pleading for his return from the family who unknowingly adopted him.

Aplin's longtime pet snuck out on July 17 when her kids accidentally left the front door open.

She posted to online message boards in Kamloops, scoured the streets for her pet and called her vet to see if they had heard of anything. Cassie’s health has been an issue for years, and some of Aplin’s friends thought the cat had left home to die.

“I said, ‘well we’ll continue looking.’ I’d go up and down Ord Road every day and I don’t really know why I didn’t immediately contact the SPCA,” Aplin says. “I contacted them and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, we gave him to a new home.’”

Aplin says she called the Kamloops branch of the SPCA at the end of July, and she was told that they hold cats for four days before making them available for adoption.

Although Aplin's cat had a tattoo with a phone number associated with it, Aplin didn’t update her information after getting a new phone number a few weeks before Cassie escaped.

“I said, ‘Can you please contact the family and let them know that he’s actually sick, he has a neurological problem and that my cat is 10 years old and he’s never been outside’... She said, ‘Oh no, the only way we can contact them is to ask how he’s doing, " Aplin said.

She then asked that they reach out and tell the cat's new family about her.

"I said, ‘Why don’t you contact them and let them know he has a very loving family? I have two kids, three and six years old, and I’ve had Cassie since he was two months old'," she said.

"They 100 per cent refused to do that. I even reached out to head office in Vancouver and they said the exact same thing.”

Credit: FACEBOOK / Melissa Ronayne

Lorie Chortyk, spokesperson with the B.C. SPCA, says once a pet is adopted out to a new home, the SPCA cannot legally make them give up ownership of the pet, and can’t share the details about conversations between the new owners and the SPCA staff.

“If no owner contacts us looking for their pet we hold the animal for a 'stray hold' period of time," Chortyk says in an emailed statement in iNFOnews.ca.

“If no one claims the animal and the stray hold expires, the SPCA becomes legally responsible for finding another home for the animal.”

Chortyk says staff first look for a microchip or tattoo to contact the owner, and post the information on their lost and found page. Since the phone number attached to Cassie’s tattoo was no longer correct, they had to move forward with finding him a home.

“We feel very badly for the original owner of this cat, which is why we so strongly urge people to ID their pet and to look for their pet and call us if it goes missing. If they do, we can have a lost pet home with one quick phone call,” Chortyk says.

Chortyk says that each SPCA branch must abide by each city’s bylaws around a stray hold period, and in Kamloops, the period is 48 hours for cats and 96 hours for dogs, according to Tammy Blundell, Kamloops’s Bylaw Services manager.

“(The SPCA) is an independent organization that still needs to follow the bylaws, but ultimately, giving more time isn’t a bad thing,” Blundell says. “You want to give the most time possible to find their home.”

Aplin’s sister posted to a Facebook group in hopes the family who has Cassie is made aware of the situation.

Although Aplin urgently wants the family to be made aware of the cat’s medical condition and need for specialized vet food, she hopes the new owners would consider returning her longtime pet.

“Every day I’ve cried,” Aplin says. “I just want my cat home.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 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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