SAFARS volunteer

Feral cat a little safer with SAFARS

Non-profit group in Sooke is catching and neutering and spaying wild cats

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Food Society recently obtained a barn to serve as an animal rehabilitation centre for feral cats and kittens.

According to Margarita Dominguez, SAFARS president, volunteers have been working over the past four months to repair and clean the old barn, clear surrounding land and build fencing.

“When we went inside there was cables and there were things that people have thrown inside for years, all mixed up together,” she said.

Although more work still needs to be done, SAFARS has moved in and started up a modest operation, fitting the barn with kennels for adult feral cats and a nursery for kittens.

More housing in the form of “cat condos” — two story, four by two foot structures — are expected to be built in and around the barn.

Dominguez said the barn, which is rented for an undisclosed amount, has given SAFARS the ability to launch services for animals in need in Sooke.

“It’s a start that we will start a rehabilitation centre,” she said. “We are very happy that we have the opportunity of this barn.”

The objective of SAFARS is to help maintain Sooke’s growing population of feral cats in a humane manner through the catch, spay, neuter and release program.

“It’s to stop the over-population, it’s a humane alternative to euthanasia,” Dominguez said.

Joel Hanson, SAFARS vice-president, agreed.

“We’re not like the SPCA… we don’t take care of people’s unwanted pets or stray animals. We take care of wild creatures and like I say, prevent the population boom from happening the humane way,” he said.

“If left to grow on their own, then they run into issues like starvation and over-population.”

Before going out and trapping cats, SAFARS volunteers contact the landowners to seek permission.

“If the person doesn’t want us on the property, we cannot go. We cannot touch an animal that is not ours, only with the owner’s permission,” Dominguez said. “We want to work together, not against.”

Adult feral cats are then neutered or spayed and kept in kennels, covered with a blanket, for about two weeks until they are released in the locations they were found.

SAFARS erects a dog house on top of cement blocks to provide the cats with shelter. The landowner works together with the society to feed the cats regularly with food supplied by SAFARS if needed.

Captured kittens are kept inside of an enclosed nursery. Volunteers regularly socialize the animals for about two to three weeks until they are ready to be adopted.

“In a couple of weeks they are ready to be adopted, without a facility like this we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Dominguez said.

So far, SAFARS has released four cats from it’s catch, neuter, spay and release program, and found homes for about six abandoned cats.

For information on SAFARS on how to donate, adopt or volunteer, visit: www.safars.org

SAFARS will be holding a  garage sale on Oct. 6 from 10 a..m to 4 p.m. at 2075 Otter Point Rd.

All proceeds will be used for the catch, spay, neuter and release program.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of immunocompromised community seek more options to get groceries as online services are backlogged

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Revamped Oak Bay Volunteer Services in need of donations, volunteers

Non-profit stares down challenge of helping seniors amid COVID-19 crisis

Sidney event marking end of the Second World War cancelled because of COVID-19

Town Crier Kenny Podmore plans to mark the occasion with a Proclamation of Peace

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

Spring shift in service includes no weekend late night bus services in Greater Victoria

Annual shift into spring sees additional decrease in frequency on multiple routes

VIDEO: How doctors in Canada will decide who lives and dies if pandemic worsens

Officials in several provinces have been developing guides so that doctors don’t feel alone

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read