Officials say complex situations arise for cat owners and City of Surrey staff when at-large pets are injured

Officials say complex situations arise for cat owners and City of Surrey staff when at-large pets are injured

City of Surrey animal staff tackling ‘incredibly complex’ injured-pet situations

A cat that was euthanized in Surrey is a difficult and expensive lesson on the importance of keeping feline friends inside, officials say.

A cat that was euthanized in Surrey last week – after it was found with significant injuries in White Rock two weeks earlier – is a difficult and expensive lesson on the importance of keeping feline friends inside, officials say.

Surrey bylaw business operations manager Kim Marosevich said the four-year-old domestic short-hair was taken by Surrey Animal Resource Centre staff for emergency veterinary care after it was found injured on Oct. 4.

Examination determined her injuries, likely from being struck by a car, included a broken jaw and internal trauma. Following treatment, she was transferred to another vet the following day for ongoing care, where further injuries were identified. Despite best efforts over the following two weeks – and “a lot of ups and downs” in the cat’s recovery – it was euthanized on Oct. 18.

Marosevich estimated the bill for the cat’s care  – money that will be absorbed by the city – at around $2,000.

While the owner was located through microchip information, she was unable to pay the tab or provide ongoing care, and she signed her pet over to the city about a week after the cat was found.

The owner had contacted Peace Arch News shortly after hearing from the city. Initially, she was distraught at being told she couldn’t see her pet or know where the cat was being treated until she had paid the bill and could prove she had a plan for her pet’s future care.

“We wouldn’t release a cat with no treatment followup plan,” Marosevich said at the time.

She explained the procedure is in place in the best of interest of the animals in the care of the city’s Surrey Animal Resource Centre, and in an effort to recover impound fees. She noted veterinary care is the centre’s largest expense “by a landslide,” and just “a teeny, tiny percentage” of that is ever recovered.

Marosevich said not disclosing animals’ locations is also to protect the integrity of the city’s partnership with veterinarians who provide the animal-care services, she said; to avoid putting the vet in a situation of dealing with a potentially difficult owner.

The owner of the White Rock cat said later that her angered first response was “knee-jerk,” and that she came to realize that “everybody’s been trying to do the right thing.”

Marosevich noted such situations are “incredibly complex,” and how the city deals with them are often not understood by the public.

Euthanization is never the end goal, she added.

“The story is supposed to end happy,” she said. “We did a bunch of stuff (for this cat) and it didn’t work.”

Marosevich acknowledged that while it can be challenging to keep some cats inside, there are resources available to help those who are struggling.

She encouraged such owners to call the shelter (604-574-6622) “and ask for help.”

“If the shelter doesn’t have information, we’ll refer,” she said. “Sometimes, the challenge is people don’t know to look for help until it’s too late.”

And with darkness falling earlier and earlier, “maybe now it’s the time of year for people to reconsider” letting their pets roam, Marosevich said.

“The risk, for all of us, goes up,” she said.