OSPCA & City Report Fail on Cat Issue in Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig 051818

Cornwall Ontario – It’s sad to see cat owners and kitties being used as pawns in a game that simply is about cash.

At the root is the OSPCA wanting the cat control business in Cornwall.  Maybe they deserve it, but there are legitimate questions that need to be answered and they are refusing to answer them.

This newspaper is the largest in the area of the local SPCA affiliate, but we have to go through spinners in Toronto to ask basic questions which we did.

We asked how many cats did the local intake in 2017 or 2016?

What was the budget in that year?

How much cash was spent on vets?

Pretty basic info.   The goal was to get an understanding of the statement that it costs $500 per year per cat which seems insane.

The problem is that we have sunshine list managers and staff at City Hall that should be able to google as well as a humble journalist and ask basic questions too.

Should the city cough up cash to any organization that has such a bloated cost for care?   I mean isn’t it simple truths that many of the cats that are abandoned already have been fixed?

After many emails and two deadline extensions we were sent the following from Toronto:

In 2017, the Ontario SPCA Stormont Dundas & Glengarry (SD&G) Animal Centre took in 1,188 stray cats, 764 of which were strays from the City of Cornwall. To put that number in perspective, 64% of SD&G’s stray cat intake comes from the City of Cornwall.

Pets adopted through Ontario SPCA Animal Centres are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Some animals also require additional veterinary attention and care while awaiting adoption as a result of existing health conditions when they arrive in our care.

The average cost of care for a cat in our stay is $514. This includes:

  • Vaccinations
  • Spay/Neuter
  • Treatment for external parasites
  • Treatment for internal parasites
  • Daily welfare monitoring
  • Housing
  • Feeding
  • Cleaning and supplies
  • Microchip

In terms of your questions regarding clinics, I’m assuming you are referring to spay/neuter clinics. Accessible spay/neuter services are an important element of any comprehensive community animal management strategy. We have put out the offer to the city to bring a mobile spay/neuter clinic to the community, but we would like to see a long-term, sustainable approach put in place by the city to make spay/neuter services available and affordable to pet owners.

Which essentially was parroted in other media by Chris Rodgers who is a department head for by law for Cornwall.

Chief building official Christopher Rodgers told council it currently costs the local OSPCA about $500 to spay or neuter a cat. However, the organization’s head office is willing to send its mobile spay and neuter clinic to Cornwall, which can do 40 operations in a day but would need financial assistance from the city to do so.

We interrupt this news story for a cat video that cracks me up.

Again, why isn’t Chris and other city officials asking simple basic questions?  If it’s true that Cornwall is the epicentre of abandoned cats in the entire province of Ontario why would the city have to fund a mobile clinic at all?

Why wouldn’t the OSPCA simply arrange for a cat clinic proactively?   Visiting their own site we find some immediate insights.

Apparently the OSPCA doesn’t serve Ontario East of Toronto?   That’s a lot of territory.   Nothing in Kingston.  Nothing in Ottawa, and for some odd reason nothing in the epicenter of this alleged cat crisis.   Does that make sense?  Could it be a lot of vets making a lot of cash because of the lack of clinics?

Then even more disturbing, and again from the OSPCA site:

How can it only be $70 to fix at  cat at an OSPCA clinic yet the local spend $500 per cat per year?   Again, many of the cats that come in already have been fixed and even vaxed.

Dig a little deeper and the Ontario Humane Society only charges $20 per cat!

So one, Mr. Rodgers has failed to address this issue.

Two, the OSPCA doesn’t really seem to care about Cornwall.   Maybe it’s because the City doesn’t give them a cat control contract?  Maybe because it isn’t really an epicenter of any issue.

764 cats in a year isn’t a huge amount and of those estimates are that at least a third were pets that were fixed.

There are issues that need to be addressed in Cornwall.

We need to have a catch and fix policy for strays and feral cats.   We know those work.  We know that there are already cat rescue workers trying to do this, but aren’t getting support locally.

A simple vet clinic every 3 months would go a long way to addressing this issue.

We also know that there’s an issue of people letting their cats out to play.

If you had a child, handicapped person, or demented senior wandering around getting into mischief or peeing in gardens or against windows would we need a bylaw for that?

I think most reasonable persons wouldn’t think so, and clearly it seems to be out of the depth of Mr. Rodgers and his team to come up with one if one were actually needed.  Copying other cities bylaws is not really doing one’s job.


Nor do we need a cat licensing program.

What we need is common sense and respect for the public purse.

There are solutions to this.   There are issues that clearly the public has shown concern about and we pay city staff and elect council to resolve issues that concern residents of Cornwall.

As for the OSPCA.   They need to get their act together.  They need to be accountable to those that volunteer and donate.    And they need to remember why they exist, for the care and safety of animals because in Cornwall there have been too many stories about people being refused when they simply try to bring in animals in distress.  I have files full of those types of stories.

The SD&G OSPCA affiliate doesn’t need a cat control contract from the City.  They need to clean their litter box and become more proactive and supportive in the community, even if that means changing management and leadership.

And they need to stop spouting nonsense about spending $500 per year on cats as the optics simply reek.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.


  1. I bet someone could make a mint by starting a pet health care insurance plan.

  2. Author

    Jerry they already exist 🙂

  3. Actually there are multiple pet care insurance plans. They go from the Mini version to the Mercedes Benz version, depending on your needs and financial ability to pay.

    This bylaw, as presented to council, is simply unenforceable. At best it is laughable in what they are trying to do.

  4. Thanks guys, I didn’t realize they already have insurance for pets. Guess it’s expensive either way, when you’re dealing with the health of a pet. My vet is out of town, way too expensive and non caring here in Cornwall. Had a non viral papilloma and tooth removal because of it, for big dog and was quoted 3X more in town.(I checked because looking for very hard to find med creme goes with it)

  5. However to the original subject, It’s a complex problem. My neighbor feeds cats he doesn’t own, and lets them stay in his garage all winter.(I think one may be pregnant) I don’t say anything because I know the alternative for those cats is death. On the other hand I find them more of a nuisance than groundhogs and squirrels. I just can’t rat them out.

  6. Author

    Jerry if you can get your pet to Quebec or Massena you’ll find much more reasonable rates.

  7. Some vets may be more expensive here than other locations, operating costs, etc being higher here than in smaller locales. But I do not think they are non caring. Vets get to be vets because they care about animals.

  8. Last year a sick suffering cat was huddled under a shrub in my back garden. Tha OSPCA said that they did not come to assist the removal of a animal in distress and referred me to Cornwall animal control. I was advised that they did not handle live animal removal and should call back once the animal was deceased. I no longer donate to the OSPCA.

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