The end of 2021 is reminding us very much of the beginning… It’s a long sad story and we hope that the new year provides new chances for all involved.
Our involvement began in the fall of 2020, when our Community Outreach program received a call about a cat in need of veterinary assistance. During the phone call, I learned that the situation was more desperate than just one cat in need of help.
In fact, there were more than 80 cats and kittens desperately in need of assistance. Cats were pregnant and reproducing and the resulting kittens were sick and dying. Other cats were sick and flea infested. They varied from ferals living outside to extremely friendly cats living inside and everything in between.
How does this happen? You may be looking for a concrete reason and a person to blame. We seek this type of information because it allows us to think that it won’t happen to us, or that it won’t happen again. Or that we can fix it.
However, there’s no comforting answer as to what happened here. A good person, with a kind heart, faced tragedy. During her struggle, there were no supports available to help her and as her situation deteriorated, she did the best she could to care for her beloved pets.
Upon meeting these cats and kittens and their caregiver, my first inclination was to scoop them all up and get them to the shelter for medical care, and where they would also have clean cages and bedding. But again, not so simple.
The shelter cages were filled and we could not put our shelter animals at risk to take in more kittens. Plus, we knew the outreach group would require quarantines before going up for adoption. So we did the best we could, we brought in a few at a time and transported the rest back and forth to begin them on medication.
As 2021 went on, the TNVR Team worked on trapping and placing any remaining cats and kittens outside, and the Community Outreach program continued to support the inside cats with medical care.
A few weeks ago we received devastating news; the caregiver had been diagnosed with stage IV cancer and her health, and the situation inside, was deteriorating quickly. We spent the last week of 2021 working with the caregiver and Shore Animal Control to find safe placement for all the cats.
As a result, we begin 2022 with 16 new cats at the shelter in need of loving homes. A number of them are already in our adoption room; look for Noodles, Bump, Nugget, Ozzy Boomer, Munchkin and his mom Majikat. We are also looking for a special home for Pepper, a very social and sweet tabby and white female who would love a home where she could be safely cared for outside. All of the cats are already altered and we are accepting adoption applications immediately, and also seeking rescue partners to help us with placement.
The shelter simply does not have the cage space or funding to take in large scale surrenders of cats, many with medical conditions, multiple times a year. Animal Control does not address animals that are not strays.
Cities don’t want to provide resources for owned animals. Trying to report animal cruelty is confusing and cumbersome and there is widespread belief that cries for help go unaddressed. Humane Law Enforcement in Cumberland and Salem counties is not addressing the needs of the animals, let alone their caregivers.
In 2022, we need to move forward – together. We need to find a way to address animal cruelty that results in safe and speedy relief for animals.
Animal Control needs to embrace TNVR, as it is shown to be the safest and most humane way to reduce overpopulation.
SJRAS’s Community Outreach program needs funding and support as we continue to support families across South Jersey. We can reach our common goal of a better world for our community’s animals, but we can’t do it alone.
Shelter needs: Small breed dry dog food, canned cat food, soft dog treats, bully sticks, catnip, peanut butter, cat toys, especially jingle balls, hand soap, and gift cards to grocery, pet and hardware stores.