Letter: Get your facts right about Richmond's RAPS

Dear Editor,

Re: “No-kill cat shelter makes no sense,” Letters, Aug. 8.

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I was surprised to see another letter from Brian Bennett regarding the RAPS no-kill shelter. It is very clear that Mr. Bennett knows nothing about cats, or RAPS, and I would have expected the News to do some fact checking before allowing him to vent, yet again, on this subject.

Firstly, when cats are adopted from RAPS, or indeed most legitimate adoption agencies, the new pet owner is required to keep the cat indoors. This is the safest place for a cat. Therefore, if Mr. Bennett is having problems with a neighbour’s cat, he should take it up with them, rather than placing blame on RAPS. Because of RAPS, Richmond is one of the few municipalities without a feral cat  problem.

Mr. Bennett’s concern about the cost of keeping cats in a shelter rather than killing them — which is clearly his preference — is misplaced. There are not now, nor have there ever been, 500 cats in the Richmond Animal Shelter. The shelter has a maximum of 28 cats at peak times. Any cat not adopted by the public is transferred to the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, to live life in loving peace and safety.

The RAPS Cat Sanctuary is separate from the shelter and the sanctuary has always been run with donations, funds earned at the RAPS Thrift Store, and volunteers who love and feel compassion for unadoptable felines. None of Mr. Bennett’s tax dollars have been directed to the sanctuary and for him to suggest that cats are somehow taking money from children and hospitals is totally wrong and ridiculous. Again, no city tax dollars are directed towards the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.

The City of Richmond pays for the animal shelter which has been operating for many years — long before RAPS got the contract — and the facility has not been updated or expanded to keep up with the growth of the city. The money Mr. Bennett is referring to is a capital expenditure. The facility is, like any other, owned by the city and does not belong to RAPS. The City of Richmond, through independent consultants, determined that the shelter must be replaced. That was the city’s decision. I’m very annoyed that the News would allow such inaccurate information to be printed.  You — and Mr. Bennett — should know the difference between capital and operating expenses.

It is very clear that Mr. Bennett does not like cats — that’s his choice.  It isn’t mine and, as a long-time volunteer with RAPS, I resent the News allowing the inaccurate statements about our organization to be made as if they were facts. 

B. Johnston                        

RICHMOND

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