Author Archives: Michele Young

Feral cat warily studies traps.

Murphy has already been trapped and neutered. He knows better than to go in again, but the smell of food does make him think.

“There goes Felix.”

The orange tabby sniffs around two cat traps and begins nibbling at the pieces of food scattered around the entrances that are supposed to tempt other ferals to enter the wire cages.

From her SUV parked a dozen metres or so down the driveway of the house where she’s set the traps, Kamloops and District Humane Society executive director Barb Zibrik watches. And waits. And watches and waits.

Trio of feral cats

These three young wild female cats were trapped, spayed and released by the Kamloops and District Humane Society.

As Barb Zibrik pulls up into the driveway of a small stucco house with an overgrown yard plunked among the small businesses, an open trailer containing a few branches comes to life.

Four feline heads — two gray, one black, one orange — pop up to see who’s arrived. Another cat, this one black, watches warily from beside the house.

These cats and dozens more belong to no one. Some of them probably had an owner at one time, but no more. Now, no one can get close enough to touch them. No one can tame them.

Jane Goodall and Wounda

Jane Goodall with Wounda as the chimpanzee is released in the wild after rehabilitation.

The bright lights that shone onto Jane Goodall’s face as she spoke at Thompson Rivers University Monday night took their toll.

By the time Goodall asked for the lights to be dimmed so she could field questions from the audience after more than an hour of telling stories of her life and urging everyone to do what they can to make the world better, her eyelids were growing heavy and her responses less energetic.

Kamloops Provincial Court is being watched by animal lovers this week as a man charged with animal cruelty for strangling Oreo cat was found guilty of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal.

Steven Seidel, 28, has confessed to killing the animal, a four-year-old black and white unneutered male cat, on March 14, 2013.

He told the court the cat was peeing and pooping around the apartment and his live-in girlfriend Moriah Smith was pregnant.

Seidel and Smith apparently knew enough about cats to determine their poop could be hazardous to their unborn child. But they didn’t know enough, or seek more information, into why the unneutered male was actually behaving that way.

Runty

Runty

When people find out I sometimes foster kittens for the Kamloops and District Humane Society, they wonder how I can hand them over for adoption.

It’s not easy. But the way I look at it, kittens are cute, they’re in demand and they won’t have trouble finding a home. Adult cats don’t have that cuteness factor that makes them as appealing to pet seekers.

So while it’s hard to see them go, I know they won’t linger for long in the pet stores that the humane society uses to display its homeless animals. I also know the society is careful about screening potential adopters, although no system is perfect.

Crocodile

Crocodile

A Kelowna-based crocodile ‘zoo’ that just got non-profit status a few weeks ago after being run as a private business since 2002 is considering a move to Kamloops.

Owner Doug Illman said recently CrocTalk is struggling financially — expenses are around $8,000 a month to feed 20 or so crocodiles and an African serval cat — and the facility’s location off the beaten path makes it tougher to draw visitors.

He has tried to get financial support in Kelowna but hasn’t succeeded. He’s been in talks with the B.C. Wildlife Park on the east end of Kamloops and there has been some interest. However, last month, the BCWP board rejected the idea of the two ventures joining up.

Clover and Heidi Somerville

Clover was among the 34 dogs in distress seized in April 2011. Clover is now living happily with her new owner Heidi Somerville. (Calgary Herald)

On Wednesday, a Calgary court judge ruled Joseph Hogan was guilty of animal cruelty. The Calgary Humane Society seized 34 pit bulls from Hogan’s Calgary home in 2011. Many were in distress — he had been told to improve their conditions, including provision of water, more space and medical care.

Seems he was breeding the animals. He had 20 adults and 14 puppies at his home and was sending out flyers saying he was having trouble feeding them.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

What do a pop/country star, an astronaut and an elderly animal crusader have in common? All have filled venues in Kamloops in less than an hour.

The trio I refer to are Shania Twain, Chris Hadfield and Jane Goodall.

Goodall speaks at Thompson Rivers University’s Grand Hall on March 24, 7 p.m. Who knew a chimp lover would some day be travelling around to packed audiences eager to hear about her experiences? The TRU Students’ Union is bringing her in as part of its Common Voices lecture series.

Liz Smith and Thalia Ochoa riding on rescue horses Sid and Kesler

Liz Smith and Thalia Ochoa riding on rescue horses Sid and Kesler

A cranky horse at her aunt’s Cherry Creek ranch was the first equine Liz Smith ever rode.

Despite the horse’s nature and Smith’s age, the pairing was good for both animal and rider.

“At my aunt’s, there’s this one horse they had for me out there for years. She was a bit of a bitch to most people. She’d go crazy when people got on her back. But she and I got each other. I remember having a bad night, going out the barn, and she just put her muzzle on my hand. She understood. I’m a calmer person around them,” Smith said in an interview this week.

A cat is treated for ringworm

A cat is treated for ringworm (Kamloops SPCA)

After four months of being closed to most incoming or outgoing animals, the Kamloops SPCA shelter is finally on the brink of reopening its doors.

A bad bout of ringworm — a highly contagious fungal infection, not an actual worm — hit the shelter in early November after infected puppies and kittens from the same home were taken in.

The building is not suited for its use as a shelter; the ventilation system doesn’t allow for proper quarantine to prevent the spread of disease, the space is inadequate and it’s all old and outdated.