P.E.I. Humane Society continues to round up cats from sanctuary

TC Media newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on March 7, 2014

David DeCourcey with some of the cats he has rescued. About two years ago, DeCourcey decided to build a cat sanctuary for the many homeless countryside cats he had taken to watching over.

©Guardian photo

The P.E.I. Humane Society continues to seize cats in ill health from a controversial sanctuary that has housed felines for more than two years.

David DeCourcey of Charlottetown says the Humane Society removed six cats from the unheated shelter in Dromore on Tuesday.

The Humane Society is not willing to speak about its ongoing battle with DeCourcey over the care and shelter being provided to the cats. However, a document from the P.E.I. Humane Society provided to The Guardian by DeCourcey cites why the recent action was taken.

The Humane Society notes in the document that six cats examined by a licensed veterinarian were deemed to be in distress due to health concerns including severe dental disease, mouth ulcers, dehydration, severe ear mites, swollen eyes and mild fever.

“The living conditions at the time of inspection were not adequate for the current health status of these cats,’’ states the Humane Society in the document.

“Specifically, the lack of drinkable water and the large population of cats living in the community on your property were noted as concerns in the recovery of the cats.’’

The cats were seized under the authority of the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA), which deems a companion animal to be in distress if it is in need of food, water, care, shelter or treatment; is sick, in pain or suffering or has been injured; or is abused or subject to cruelty or neglect.

The Humane Society has informed DeCourcey that he may get the six cats back if he meets a number of conditions that include that he ensures the cats receive continued veterinary care as required and that he meets CAPA orders already served for all the cats in his care.

He must also pay the $556 bill for the treatment and boarding that has been provided to the six cats since they were seized.

DeCourcey says he cannot afford the bill.

“I don’t understand why they are doing this to me for,’’ he told The Guardian Thursday. “I feel they’ve got those cats held as ransom against us.’’

More than two years ago, DeCourcey built a sanctuary including insulated barns lined with straw for homeless countryside cats he had taken to watching over.

About 70 cats, each spayed or neutered, were given sanctuary.

However, concern over the adequacy of the shelter and the condition of the cats led the Humane Society to step in to investigate.

DeCourcey says the Humane Society has seized about 30 cats since last July and has put many of them down.

He has found homes for about 11 cats while about 30 still remain in the sanctuary.

He says the cats are fed regularly and provided water. Despite a harsh winter, he claims the insulated, but unheated, buildings are sufficient to protect the animals from the elements.

“It’s warm enough for them,’’ he said. “They don’t mind that cold any way. They will go out and roll in the snow in minus 20 degrees.’’

DeCourcey concedes that some of his cats are in rather “rugged’’ condition, but says he would rather the felines remain in his sanctuary than be put down by the Humane Society.