Supporters of the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) crowded into Langley Township council chambers Monday night (Jan. 26) to hear the organization pitch a proposal for a new facility to spay and neuter the ever-increasing numbers of wild cats in the community.
LAPS executive director Sean Baker and board members Darrell Dean and Dr. Kathryn Welsman said LAPS, which has provided animal control services in Langley since 2003, can cover 60 per cent of the cost of the new 1,200-square foot building, if the Township will contribute the other 40 per cent.
That would be about $225,000 for the municipality, LAPS projects.
Welsman said LAPS estimates there are 22,000 “unowned, feral and abandoned cats” in the Township, and the number is growing.
Those cats are overwhelming the existing facility, which can only accommodate about 30 cats before staff have resort to using spaces for dog assessment, training, grooming, even staff offices, she said.
Because the Township shelter wasn’t designed to isolate sick cats from other animals, disease can spread, Welsman added.
She described how there was a ringworm outbreak caused by a litter of kittens at the shelter several years ago that spread to other shelter animals, and to some volunteers, who brought the disease home to their families and pets.
“The solution is very clear,” Welsman said.
LAPS is proposing a separate building that can properly isolate and treat sick cats.
To be named the ISOasis, the building would also increase the cat capacity of the shelter and make it eligible for specific spay and neuter grants from groups like the SPCA.
The proposal has been added to a list of potential projects that will be considered by council during the Township budget process, Mayor Jack Froese said.
He added the Township has received many messages supporting the LAPS plan from a lot of different places.
“I’ve been getting emails [backing ISOasis] from all over the world,” Froese said.
“I got one from Minnesota today.”