Statement from Interim Executive Director, Tom Hubric.
Violet & Sir Diddy- Now What?
I wanted to get this out to the community as a follow up to my previous posts as I feel we owe the community more information. The following is what we have done and what we are working on to prevent an additional incident from occurring:
- We have implemented a 48-hour minimum hold policy for cats, just as we do with dogs.
- We have conducted two training sessions by licensed veterinarians to better train our staff on how to properly scan animals for microchips. We are also testing out a new microchip scanner that will give us additional range.
- We are now sedating any animal that is too aggressive to effectively scan so that we can do a proper scan.
- We are aggressively interviewing and trying to hire staff to proper staffing levels. Doing so will give our staff the time they need to do proper scanning and not be so rushed. Keep in mind, this is not easy work and people do not line up at the door to work in this field. (note-applications are being accepted!)
- We are considering renovating our front lobby area to accommodate more cats with proper housing. Doing so will give us more capacity, enabling us to give owners additional time to claim their lost pets.
- We are establishing a hotline for the community to call, regardless of whether we are open or closed to report a lost pet.
- We are purchasing additional safety equipment for our staff so that they are better equipped to handle cats that are aggressive, ferals, etc.
- Our cat staff is being trained this week on how to better understand cat behavior and how to handle aggressive cats.
It is important to keep in mind, that even with all of these changes, it is possible that a family pet could still be euthanized (e.g. we hold a cat for 10 days and it is not claimed and we don’t have anyplace to go with it). I know this is not what you want to hear but it is the reality of the situation.
This is why it is so very important for each of you to help your pet and help us by:
- Reporting that your pet is missing as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for owners to wait several days or even weeks before contacting us to report a missing cat.
- Post your lost cat on Berks Cat Search on Facebook ASAP. Be sure you have a recent picture of your cat.
- Microchip your pet. Doing so will greatly increase your chances of recovering your pet.
- Spay and neuter your pets.
- Keep your cats inside. Yes, it can be done. My family made the switch a few years ago and our stress and vet bills have gone down considerably.
- Do not bring a cat to us unless it appears to be sick, unhealthy or in distress. Cats are independent creatures and very often go on walkabouts. In most cases, a cat will eventually go home unless it is in distress. The best answer when you see a cat in your yard is often just to let it be.
- Please consider fostering. The more cats we can get out in foster homes, the more space we have to house more animals and the longer we can hold strays.
- Adopt-We have approximately 200 cats that desperately need homes. Again, the more space we have the longer we can hold strays.
- Volunteer-We need the community to step up and help us care for these animals. We are housing more cats now but don’t have the budget to pay for their care.
- Donate-Yes, bold for me to ask you for money now but we need money to pay for everything that I have outlined above.
- Please, anybody can sit on their couch and slam our organization with social media attacks, heck that’s easy. If you truly care, get of the couch and help us! Stop admiring the problem and be the change you seek.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message.
Interim Executive Director