Refuge was left with little choice but to put down cats

EDITORIAL: The decision to put down 26 cats at the Hervey Bay Animal Refuge due to ringworm has devastated animal lovers all over the Fraser Coast - not to mention the shelter managers and volunteers.

But it's not without precedent, even in what is normally a "no-kill" shelter.

Refuges all over the world have been forced to take such drastic action because treating a herd of cats is significantly more complicated than treating a single cat or two at home.

The disease spreads so quickly and easily that it can be almost impossible to eradicate in shelters with large feline populations.

Euthanasia is not the only option. But the alternative wouldn't be easy either - similarly-afflicted shelters have had to close their doors for six months or longer to treat the sick animals. No cats adopted out, and no new cats let in.

How many animals would be put down over the course of that period if they couldn't get a space in the shelter?

That does not make it an easy decision. And for many, it wouldn't be the right decision no matter which way they looked at it. It's fair enough to be upset about that.

But tempers flared out of control on Facebook after rumours spread with no straight answer to what happened and why.

If you're attacking people over a wildfire rumour without knowing the full story, then it becomes a witch-hunt, not a moral crusade.

Topics:  cats clementine norton editorial euthanised hervey bay animal refuge

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