RANDOM ISLAND, CANADA – A cat rescue group, sadly, has failed in its bid to get more time to remove wild felines from a dump on Random Island.
The waste management committee there dug across the access road on Tuesday.
Feral Felines Rescue and Rehabilitation had earlier removed four feral cats from the dump, but estimated there are another four to five still remaining.
Throw away your garbage, not your cats: Clarenville fights against abandoning pets: “If they don’t perish through starvation, they will start wandering into towns,” said Kim Baker, a volunteer with the group.
“There is a possibility that the cats using the debris at the site as shelter may end up being buried alive.”
If they do manage to escape, she said unwanted litters could be a problem and feline diseases could be spread to household pets.
Feral Felines asked for more time to trap these cats, but the Random Island waste management committee said the dump closed New Year’s Eve.
Committee chair Jim Cook said a contractor was on site Tuesday to make a final cleanup.
“On the way out, he will ditch in front of the gate to prevent illegal dumping,” said Cook, adding that garbage was again left outside the gate just this past weekend.
“You know the old adage, time is money,” he said. “We don’t want to delay it. He could charge downtime for his equipment.”
Cook said the Feral Felines group has known for a few months that the dump was shutting down.
He said once the road is closed, the volunteers can walk in with their cages, a distance of only about 250 metres, if they want to search for remaining cats.
“We knew this was coming,” said Kim Baker, but the group is “deeply saddened.”
Now, she said, the site is accessible by ATV or snowmobile but the road itself will not be plowed, “so trapping these remaining animals has been made nearly impossible.”
Baker estimates the group has removed about 70 feral cats from dumpsites between Catalina and Clarenville over the last couple of years.
If the cats are disease free, they are spayed or neutered and then put up for adoption, or offered up as “barn buddies.”
Baker said Feral Felines is building an intake shelter in Lethbridge, a project which is about 75 per cent complete.
As for the next step on Random Island, she said her group will try to provide food and shelter to cats who are there, but the outcome appears grim.
“There isn’t a simple solution,” said Eastern Waste Management, the agency which will supervise a final restoration of the Random Island dump in the spring.
Chair Ed Grant said the road needs to be closed or people will continue to dump there.
He said garbage from the 650 houses on Random Island will be taken to a transfer site located in Clarenville, and then to Robin Hood Bay.