A sign posted in a North Saanich neighbourhood threatened to capture and “not return” outdoor cats in the area, according to some local animal rescue societies.
Jill Oakley, Owner of Find Lost and Escaped Dogs (FLED), said she was notified about the disturbing sign by a concerned individual, and shared it to the organization’s Facebook page.
“I read it and thought ‘we’d better post this, to make sure everybody reads this,'” Oakley said in an interview with Victoria Buzz.
The sign was posted in the 400-block of Ardmore Drive, near a community mailbox. It says that several neighbourhood cats have been spotted on private property, and indicates that traps have been placed to capture the outdoor felines.
“If you are the owner(s) of these beasts, please be warned that we do not want them pooping in our yard or stalking the birds,” the sign reads.
It also identifies three specific cats by rough description and threatens that if captured they “WILL NOT be taking them to the SPCA to be returned to you,” implying that the cats could either be euthanized or set loose in the wild.
“People trap cats all the time, let them go in the bush,” Oakley said. “It’s cruel. People seem to think that cats can make it on their own, that is far from the truth.”
Lesli Steeves, an administrator and founder of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing (ROAM), also shared a photo of the sign on the ROAM Facebook page.
“There’s obviously someone in this neighbourhood who’s upset about cats,” Steeves said in an interview with Victoria Buzz. “But the tone of his or her poster on the mailbox is quite threatening.”
Both Steeves and Oakley emphasized that they are not official bodies, and said that the matter would be handled by bylaw officers and the CRD.
Steeves added that she personally confirmed with officials that the matter has been forwarded to bylaw officers.
She also said that she went to view the sign and found that someone else had altered it with a marker.
The added message reads “Maybe you should just move away! There is something wrong with you!” The unknown responder also blacked out the word “NOT” so that the sign says “we WILL be taking them to the SPCA.”
Steeves says the back-and-forth vitriol is an inappropriate way to handle pet disputes.
“It’s a contentious issue,” Steeves said. “It’s certainly not the best way to go about this. To threaten to people that you’re going to trap their cats, and to make them disappear is just…it’s not the neighbourhood I live in.”
A spokesperson for CRD Bylaw enforcement says that North Saanich bylaws technically prohibit animals to be “at large” in any place off of the owner’s property.
The spokesperson added that they rarely receive complaints about “at large” cats.