9 cats were returned to owners after homeless encampment sweeps
People weren’t the only ones swept from a homeless camp in SoDo on Tuesday.
Julie Moore, spokesperson for the Department of Finance & Administrative Services, said that all nine cats appeared “healthy, plump and well-cared for.”
The Seattle Animal Shelter was responsible for checking in on the felines and providing a few parting gifts.
A mother cat and two kittens were taken to a different location for a well-check. The shelter returned the cats to their owner and provided him with a carrier, two cat beds, spay/neuter certificates, 36 cans of cat food, and a one-year cat license.
The owner of another cat with five kittens received a 16-pound bag of food, 18 cans of cat food, two plush beds, spay/neuter certificates, six collars, six harnesses and two collapsible travel water bowls.
Animals at encampments
Moore said Tuesday was the first time the City has asked the Seattle Animal Shelter to be on stand-by for a cleanup, and it was because City was aware of animals, including kittens, at the encampment.
“Generally, SAS responds to complaints and calls for assistance as they come in, and this includes animals in and around encampments or those in yards and homes,” Moore said in an email. “SAS responds based on priority level of the individual call and its ability to respond with available resources.”
Moore said that, most often, SAS sees dogs at encampments but they are seeing a growing number of cats.
“Many animals they encounter appear to be healthy, friendly, social and as well cared for as can be expected under the circumstances, with strong bonds between the animals and their people, as was found with those encountered at this encampment,” Moore said. “Anytime there is a situation of instability or lack of resources, there is an understandable concern for any animals involved. However, the situation itself doesn’t automatically translate to abuse and/or neglect. Just as in any part of a community, it is individual situations and actions that contribute to the harm of an animal. This is true whether the animal lives in a house or a tent. Often, homeless individuals meet their pets needs before their own, and the animals are provided with a level of companionship that some pets living in homes do not see.”
If SAS has concerns for welfare — depending on the severity and circumstances of the situation — Moore says they attempt to provide resources to include spay/neuter certificates and supplies (collars, leashes, crates, food, etc.) and information for low- or no-cost veterinary services. Moore said that if SAS encounters situations of animal cruelty or abuse, it has the authority to and will enforce the Seattle Municipal Code and state code related to animal cruelty.