Sunday, September 11, 2011

Six Albany Cats Caught Last Night

I was called last night by the Albany people, actually they're outside city limits, for whom I took three cats in to be fixed a couple weeks ago.

I had left a message a week ago for them, telling them I could not trap their cats yesterday. They had 20 reservations for today at a Portland FCCO clinic, yet are able bodied and had decided to go on a day trip yesterday. I felt they expected me, a volunteer, to sit there and trap their cats while they were off on a trip.

I never heard back from them after leaving that message. However, they called me last night, after I got back from swimming, must have been close to 7:00 p.m. saying "we're home, can you help us."

I went over. It was after dark after 8:00 when I arrived. They had caught only two cats, one a tame kitten and then used their neighbors live trap to catch one feral male. They had their son's live trap but it was non functional.

They were not prepared, had rounded up no carriers. I had brought only five traps and one carrier thinking they had other containment carriers lined up but they didn't. They had reduced their reservations to ten, but still, they were in and out, while I tried to trap and it was frustrating.

Then suddenly there was a flash of light and loud explosion. A transformer blew or something, plunging the area into darkness. I was happy, thinking "this will help" but it didn't. Then everyone in the hood came out, with flashlights, as would be normal, and would say things like "what happened?"

Because it was stifling hot, after the power went out, nobody wanted to stay inside to swelter, so the trapping effort went further downhill then.

I caught six cats and left at 11:30. There are kittens everywhere. I told them if I helped again, I would like to come in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. Seems the only way, because otherwise a circus atmosphere prevails.

They said they'd try to grab two more tame ones this morning, to make ten. I hope they were able to do that.

The control method used before, by the neighbors, who started this, was to load up some and take them over to Heartland. That was when Heartland still took Linn County cats.

Heartland is an animal control shelter in Corvallis, Benton County and subsidized in taxes by Corvallis and Benton County residents, but not by Linn County residents. Animal Control shelters take in any animals brought through their doors, but can limit their intake to the area in which taxpayers subsidize them. Animal control shelters are almost always high kill shelters.

I had applauded this move by Heartland back when they did it, because animal control shelters only hide the extent of the problem. They don't solve the problem. In fact, because of the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality people have, animal control shelters, highly subsidized in taxpayer dollars, only make matters worse for animals. They simply kill the excess while the extent of the problem is hidden from the public and they give the culprits, those who don't fix their pets, an easy way to avoid personal and societal responsibility.

I told the neighbors such reasoning is exactly why Heartland quit taking in the hundreds of unwanted Linn County cats a few years ago, to try to force Linn County residents to become responsible for the lives of their cats by fixing them. Heartland routinely would get 300 to 500 Linn County dogs and cats surrendered each month, the majority of whom were killed there.

This information did not seem to phase the neighbors.

In other news, there was a terrible crash last night on I5 just south of Albany. Apparently a car was traveling north in the south bound lanes and slammed into two other vehicles, including a pickup with many passengers. There has been no further news on this terrible wreck. I'll guess alcohol was involved.

The forest fire west of Sisters and the big fire on Mt. Hood have caused lots of smoke in the valley. I think cooler weather is expected very soon, which should help douse those large fires. The Sisters Fire is burning between highway 20 on the north and highway 126 to the south. Highway 20 goes east to Sisters through the Cascade mountains from Sweet Home, here in Linn County while highway 126 heads east to central Oregon out of the Eugene/Springfield area, which is 45 miles south of Albany in the mid valley region of Oregon.

Firefighters, last I heard, were attempting to drive the fire towards lava fields, where it would have no fuel and fall in on itself. I've known some wildland fire fighters and they live for fire season. They're a tough bunch. They have to carry heavy equipment up incredibly steep and brushy terrain, wear fire retardant hot jackets, and deal with not only the fire, but heat, dense smoke, yellow jackets, poison oak and sometimes wildlife, frightened out of the fire area. You don't get much tougher than wildland fire fighters.

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