Dislike of political process shouldn’t override compassion for Creston Valley animals

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To the Editor:

Wow! The Regional District of Central Kootenay’s proposal to provide a portion of Pet Adoption and Welfare Society operational costs through taxation seems to have created a great outpouring of venom and misinformation within our community. So much passion and anger! All because of a $5 tax increase for the average homeowner? Really? Surely the cost can’t be the issue. So the opposition must be coming from those who either disagree with the political process or disagree with helping to fund PAWS.

I can’t speak to the political process. As Lorne Eckersley said, there are no easy answers. However, I would like to address some of the questions and comments I have heard over the past few weeks regarding PAWS.

Over the years, PAWS has provided shelter to hundreds of animals in need. Why are there so many? Where do they all come from?

Many of these animals are unwanted puppies and kittens whose owners have chosen not to spay or neuter their animals. (Thank you, Creston Spay/Neuter Animal Program for all you do!) Some are surrendered because, although they were cute and cuddly as puppies and kittens, they’ve become too much for the owner to handle. Some are there for temporary care during emergency situations (house fire, car accident, family crisis). Many are the beloved best friends of seniors who have had to make the gut-wrenching decision to leave their home and move into care facilities. Some pets come to the shelter because their owner has died, and no family or friend is able to adopt them. And, of course, there are lots and lots of strays brought into the shelter. Fortunately, most of the strays are re-united with their families.

The powers-that-be have determined that Creston Valley does not warrant a local branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. So then, what should we do with all these animals? Twice in the past two weeks I’ve heard someone say, “Just shoot them”. We know from experience that some people “solve” their unwanted pet problems by dropping them off in a farmer’s field, dumping them at a landfill or driving them up the summit and leaving them there. Fortunately, most people are more compassionate than that and, thanks to their generosity, Creston Valley residents have a no-kill shelter option available to them.

PAWS provides many services to the Creston Valley (for more info, visit www.paws-crestonbc.org or call 250-428-PAWS) and each year the demand for these services increases. This requires thousands of volunteer hours. It also requires thousands of dollars — about $8,000 per month — to pay for vet bills, medicine, litter, special food, cleaning and office supplies, insurance and utilities. The money to pay for this comes entirely from donations and fundraising. However, the growing demand makes it difficult to make ends meet.

So those of you who are opposed to using tax dollars to support PAWS, what do you suggest as an alternative? What can be done to solve this problem? Please don’t let your dislike of the political process override your compassion for animals in need. Please help us find a workable solution.

Joan Halvorsen

West Creston

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