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humane society building
Stratford man not happy with animal shelter’s response

Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff

A Stratford man isn’t happy with the response he got from the local animal shelter after he called about an abandoned kitten on the long weekend.

Instead of agreeing to come pick up the cat immediately, Larry Carruthers says the Stratford-Perth Humane Society asked him to make arrangements to have the cat brought to the Douro Street shelter.

But he says it isn’t easy for him to leave the Elgin Crescent home where he looks after his sick mother, and even if he could, he doesn’t have access to a vehicle. And, he adds, what family he does have in the city is busy with work and family commitments.

“I had no means of looking after (the cat), and the people who are supposed to be doing that job wouldn’t, and that’s what angers me,” he tells the Gazette.

Carruthers, 50, says the kitten belonged to a friend of his who was staying at his home up until this past weekend. When he moved out, he left the cat behind and told Carruthers he didn’t want it.

He says he thought about keeping the kitten, but with a cat and dog already in the house, he didn’t want the extra expense. The kitten also did not get along with his cat, he adds.

Carruthers attempted to contact the shelter on Monday, but since it was closed for Family Day he called the police, who were able to contact the shelter via a 24-hour number.

The shelter contacted Carruthers late that night and told him he would have to call back the next day. When he did, Carruthers says the shelter refused to pick up the kitten.

Stratford-Perth Humane Society interim manager, Kathy Innocente, says that’s simply not true.

While the shelter will make every effort to have an individual bring in an animal so they can sign the necessary paperwork – helping speed up the adoption process – she says the shelter has no problem picking up an animal when there is no other option.

She notes the shelter never had the chance to offer that to Carruthers because he got upset on the phone and hung up.

Carruthers, who after speaking with the shelter on Tuesday was able to find a new home for the kitten, doesn’t refute that, but believes the shelter should have offered the service right from the beginning instead of leaving him to find a solution.

“As far as I’m concerned, they were not doing their job,” he adds. “For the (shelter) to spend a couple cents to get here and pick the cat up and let me sign the surrender form, it’s so ridiculous.”

Innocente says the shelter is open until 8 p.m. a few days a week to accommodate people in a similar position who can’t get there during the day.

She claims the shelter also offered to waive the surrender fee, which Carruthers has no recollection of being told.

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