Trail SPCA branch manager Danielle Jackman poses with Ryder

Walkathon targets animal cruelty

Paws for a Cause takes off from Gyro Park at 11:30am Saturday with an aim to end animal cruelty.

Receiving a box full of kittens on your doorstep may seem like the ultimate gift.

But there was nothing warm and fuzzy about the BC SPCA Trail Regional Branch recently finding four black kittens stuffed into a box without even a note.

“This happens more often than we’d like, but it’s gotten better over the years,” according to Trail branch manager Danielle Jackman. “Even if we don’t get them dropped here, sometimes they’re dropped off on the side of the road or next to somebody’s mailbox.”

Some animals never know kindness, but the SPCA’s mission is to change that. The local branch is gearing up to fight animal cruelty through its largest fundraising effort this Saturday.

The 2015 Scotiabank & BC SPCA Paws for a Cause walk takes off from Gyro Park at 11:30 a.m., with registration at 10 a.m.

The event brings animal lovers and their furry friends from all walks of life together for a good cause.

The hope is that participants will have already collected pledges ahead of time, but no one is turned away. Those who want to tag along will be charged a $25 registration fee and receive a T-shirt.

The walkathon starts at Gyro, routes to the Y in Sunningdale and loops back to the park, where there will be an assortment of entertainment, activities and vendors lined up.

It’s difficult to say what kind of life the cats had, said Jackman. Perhaps they were well cared for, and their owners were just uneducated on the best way to leave an animal at the shelter.

Often people don’t know that their animal’s needs are not being met or that what they’re doing could harm their pet. SPCA runs campaigns on subjects like dogs in the back of a truck, “hot dog” (leaving an animal in a car) and so forth to “become more proactive as a society.”

The shelter takes in about 500 animals (dog, cats, and other small animals) a year and about 70 per cent of these are cats.

Felines don’t usually take long to get adopted. They are more independent than dogs and have fewer needs. It can be more difficult to find a home for older animals or ones with a more complicated or upsetting upbringing.

Last year the BC SPCA conducted 8,849 new cruelty investigations.

The organization relies on donations to fund these cases as well as costs associated with caring for an animal that has been mistreated. The money collected via the walkathon stays in the region and covers the costs associated with animal cruelty.

“All of our investigations are funded by donors, so if we don’t have the funds then we’re limited to how much we can do for the animals,” Jackman added. “Most of the animals that we get from these cases are highly neglected. They may need their teeth done or may be ill.”

Having a back story is key to planning adequate care for these animals on their temporary stay and in their new home.

The facility now considers the recently dropped cats “strays” and is obligated to hold them for a week, rather than put them up for adoption right away.

“When you do come in, don’t make up a story, tell us the truth so we can help the animals the way they need to be helped,” said Jackman. “We’re here to help, and that’s why we’re here. We don’t pass any judgment. We just want to make sure the animals are cared for.”

There will be a few dogs up for adoption on hand Saturday to bring more attention to such animals that need a home.

The branch is hoping to reach its goal of raising $15,000 and even match or surpass last year’s efforts that brought in nearly $16,500.

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