PURS Receives $16,000 for Trap Neuter Release Program – Prince Rupert Northern View

The Pawz United Rescue Society (PURS) has received $16,000 in donations, including an $8,000 grant from the BC SPCA for the Trap Neuter Release (TNR) program, PURS announced Feb. 14.

“It doesn’t come cheap to organize a rescue,” said Kim St. Pierre, president of PURS. “We’ve spent over $30,000 to $40,000 on vet bills, just in one year.”

The organization will use the funding to target specific cat colonies in Prince Rupert for spaying, vaccination and eventual adoption.

“It’s huge,” said Kim St. Pierre, president of PURS. “Without these funds, we would be screwed.”

St. Pierre said the new influx of funds will allow the society to repair more than 30 to 50 stray, feral and abandoned cats. Cats cost more to sterilize than males, so the total number of animals helped is unknown.

With the funding in place, the organization can now get their team in place, make sure their traps are functional, and start tackling their list of what needs to be done.

They currently have six traps for capturing cats, which are similar to regular pet cages but have a door closing mechanism. The plan is to buy more. The traps are never left unattended and are constantly monitored, St. Pierre said. Volunteers also communicate with nearby residents about what is happening.

Prince Rupert’s wild population is between 3,000 and 3,500 — possibly more, St. Pierre said, adding that the TNR program plays a key role in keeping that population from growing out of control and keeping it healthy.

When cats are left outside to fend for themselves and breed, they are susceptible to many illnesses such as feline leukemia and influenza. Without sterilization, infighting, inbreeding, and infections can spread rapidly through the population. The program allows for a controlled population of feral and healthier cats, St. Pierre said.

“Kittens can die from simple things like the common cold,” she said.

Other infections can lead to pneumonia or bleeding from injury. St. Pierre said cats left untended often end up on people’s porches or basements and die.

Every cat captured under the program will be vaccinated. If animals are tamed, they will be microchipped and made available for adoption, similar to how the BC SPCA operates. Hundreds of adopters have been found across the province, from Prince Rupert to Richmond, the president said.

Although the cat population is relatively high for the city, cats have a symbiotic relationship with residents and businesses, so having a healthy and stable cat population is good for the city, she said.

“They serve a huge purpose,” St. Pierre said. “If you removed all feral and stray cats and kittens from this town, we will be overrun with mice and rats.”

Normand Galimski | Journalist
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