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Thieves pounce on open-door policy

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

ANDREW PHILIPS/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES
Sam Vollick holds Venus, one of the many felines now available for adoption at the Comfie Cat Shelter.

ANDREW PHILIPS/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES Sam Vollick holds Venus, one of the many felines now available for adoption at the Comfie Cat Shelter.

Barbara MacLeod worries that people are helping themselves to donations left for her charges.

The woman behind Orillia's Comfie Cat Shelter said she suspects somebody is stealing cat products and food left in the shelter's front foyer after business hours.

"It can be frustrating some days and you can become quite disappointed in people," MacLeod said, noting the foyer remains unlocked to allow people to drop off donations after work.

That said, MacLeod understands the plight faced by some people nowadays as they try to make ends meet.

"These are hard times for people and I guess they're trying to provide for their cats."

Since 2004, MacLeod has been taking in and caring for cats, with the shelter officially opening in 2005 and incorporating in 2009.

While the move a few months ago to a new building on Norweld Drive from its former Front Street location has been extremely positive, MacLeod said that besides the potential theft from the more remote location, a greater number of cats are being dropped off when the shelter is closed.

"It is a strain on all the volunteers too. They take it personally with all these animals getting abandoned. But our supporters at the shelter are just wonderful."

As well, MacLeod said some people are dropping off a dozen cats at a time without offering any financial help to have the animals spayed or neutered.

"We've had a lot dropped off," MacLeod said during an interview that occurred shortly after she had received a call from someone regarding 20 more cats needing shelter.

"We also get cats from seniors going into nursing homes who can't take the cats with them. In the interim, we have to get cats that come in fixed and vaccinated. We're trying to help everybody and we might have to look over our mandate."

On a positive note, MacLeod said one city resident who had 12 cats that are in the process of being surrendered arrived at the shelter Wednesday with money ($110 for each cat) to have the felines fixed.

"It's really wonderful compared to the lady who dumped 16 cats on us in August," said MacLeod, who remains hopeful a large number of cats will be adopted in the next few months.

"We adopted 200 cats last year and have a little more than that now," she said. "A lot of our senior cats aged six, seven and up are being put up for adoption. We adopt cats to seniors for free."

andrewphilips@live.ca



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