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BC SPCA takes 280 cats after years of people dumping strays in B.C. man’s yard

“Like trying to count bubbles in a pot of boiling water”
Photo of some of the several hundred cats the BCSPCA will begin removing from a rural property in Houston. (BCSPCA photo/Houston Today)

A Houston man has reached out to the BC SPCA to help remove 280 cats and kittens from his rural property after years of people dumping stray cats onto his yard.

Bruce Robinson told Houston Today that what began as having two cats four years ago has mushroomed into a problem that has caused him stress and anxiety from the ever increasing number of litters.

“It’s like trying to count the bubbles in a boiling pot of water,” he says of the burgeoning population. “I’ve had 100 cats in my bedroom — 60 on my bed and the rest on the floor.”

Robinson says things were manageable when he was employed and could purchase more than $2,000 worth of food and cat litter each month.

But when forest industry giant Canfor closed its Houston sawmill last year, there went Robinson’s job and his main source of income.

“I’ve managed 300 head of cattle before so I thought sure as hell I could manage a few cats by myself,” said Robinson. “But I can’t.”

Early on, he said he had some cats spayed and neutered but continuing that fell through after a disagreement with a vet.

Adding to his problem is having people dropping off unwanted cats.

“I had one family show up in their Suburban. The guy said they were moving and they couldn’t take the cat with them. He told his kids to lock their doors and they drove off,” Robinson recounted of one incident.

He phoned the police but they told him there was nothing they could do.

It was Robinson who phoned the BCSPCA seeking help, saying the situation amounted to a form of animal cruelty because he could no longer cope.

“There’s little kittens here and they need to be fed,” he said. “I’m surrendering. I’m surrendering 100 per cent of the animals.”

“I’m not going to lie. It’s a painful process for me, right. But at the end of the day I have to be a responsible human being and remember who put me into this position. I have to fix this.”

BC SPCA officials are describing the situation as exceptional and unique despite the society’s extensive experience in dealing with animal welfare.

“The last time I remember us involved in a single intake of kittens this large was back in the late 1990s,” said senior officer Eileen Drever.

“When we initially attended, our teams were quite surprised to see how well the animals have been taken care of, all things considered,” she said. “But without a quick intervention the chance of their welfare suffering is very high.”

The animal welfare agency is exploring the possibility of renting a large indoor space until such time the animals can be transported to animal centres around the province.

By voluntarily coming forward, Robinson said he hoped it will avoid the community having a black mark placed against it.

“We’re kind, we’re giving and I made a mistake. But it’s how do you stop a food with a little spoon?” he said.

Robinson also praised the professionalism of the two people from the SPCA who came to see him.

”I’m smart enough to know that I need to go to the highest power possible.”

About the Author: Rod Link

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