The next best thing

In small cities like Castlegar, we sometimes have to do things a little differently. Without the same population base as many larger centres we make do with what we have, and this isn’t always a bad thing.

In small cities like Castlegar, we sometimes have to do things a little differently. Without the same population base as many larger centres we make do with what we have, and this isn’t always a bad thing.

One of the more noticeable differences between Castlegar and even a slightly larger community like Nelson is the way that local bylaws are handled. For example, we don’t have parking meters on our streets, but Nelson does.

Now, not many Castlegar residents would complain about free parking but, when it comes to animal control bylaws, the sentiment isn’t always the same. There has been some concern since the Castlegar News published an article last week outlining the way the city deals with nuisance cats. For years, city hall has handed out live traps to residents who request them, leaving it largely up to private citizens to set the devices and catch wandering felines.

The deal is that citizens must care for any cat they catch and then turn the animal over to a bylaw enforcement officer. And, for the last decade or so, the officer then turns the cat over to Kootenay Critters, a local pet store. Unusual, perhaps, but not necessarily a bad thing.

As a representative of the store explains in this edition of the Castlegar News, the arrangement gives the cats a stay of execution — quite literally. Thanks to Kootenay Critters, owners now have seven days to claim their cats rather than the 72-hour timeframe which existed previously.

And, on top of that, the store keeps some cats well beyond the week-long waiting period in an effort to find homes for the poor creatures, rather than seeing them euthanized.

This, in our view, is a noble thing to do. While not a full-on shelter like the SPCA, Kootenay Critters is providing a valuable service to the community by giving unclaimed cats extra opportunities to find loving homes. In the absence of a proper city pound or a regional branch of the SPCA in Castlegar, this seems like the next best thing.

— Castlegar News