A disturbing message has been posted along Ardmore Drive in North Saanich, threatening to set traps for people’s roaming cats in the area.
In a Facebook post made by Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing Ltd. (ROAM), the organization said it was alerted about the notice on Wednesday evening at around 7 p.m.
ROAM says that the message was posted near the mailboxes around the 400-block of Ardmore Dr. threatening cat owners to be “responsible.”
The notice, posted by an unknown resident of the area, says that several cats have been roaming around their property unwantedly.
“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,” reads a statement in the posted message.
“We have set Have a Heart traps throughout our property and if we catch any of these cats, we WILL NOT be taking them to the SPCA to be returned to you. So be a responsible pet owner. KEEP YOUR CATS AT HOME!!!!!”
Jessie Gillies’ two barn cats went missing a couple days ago and now he’s even more desperate to find them, searching the neighbourhood to see if he can see traps nearby.
“Kind of sounds like they’re threatening to kill the animals right? They’re refusing to give them back or whatever,” Gillies said.
Others on this small rural street worry about which of their neighbours could be behind the note.
“I find it very disturbing I think the fact that it’s anonymous is not what we stand for in this community, open dialogue is always better than threats,” said neighbour Bobbie Turner.
The organization is asking for anyone who might know the resident that posted the message to inform them “how wrong this is.”
“We understand how frustrating it can be for homeowners to have unwanted cats in the yard but this is not how you deal with it,” added ROAM in the Facebook post.
The resident who alerted ROAM of the message also called it “horrifying” and “out of character” for the neighbourhood in North Saanich.
North Saanich does have a bylaw preventing pets, including cats, from roaming but animal control says this isn’t the way to handle it.
“They should be in touch with us then we can help work with them and the cat owners to help solve the problem, not going about like a vigilante doing it yourself,” said Don Brown with CRD Animal Control which is responsible for the North Saanich area.
Brown says animal control does have the ability to fine owners of roaming pets $100, although it’s rare. But he says nobody should be trapping cats on their own, and warns people doing so could potentially face criminal charges for theft or animal cruelty.
Sidney/North Saanich RCMP confirm they are investigating.
The BC SPCA has the following position on trapping cats posted on its website:
“The shift in public opinion on non-lethal management of free-roaming cats challenges the common practice of trapping and bringing a cat to the local shelter. Trapping should only occur where the behaviour of the cat is evaluated to determine if the cat is social with humans and planning ensures the well-being of the cat through the process of rehoming or trap-neuter-return. Traps should not be left unattended and individuals trapping cats should follow commonly accepted trapping protocols. Any large-scale trapping should follow best practices established for targeting to ensure the most significant population decline.”