Prince Edward Island Humane Society continues to round up cats from sanctuary

Jim Day
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David DeCourcey with some of the cats he has rescued. (file photo)

David DeCourcey says more than 30 of his felines have been seized since July

The P.E.I. Humane Society continues to seize cats in ill health from a controversial sanctuary that has housed felines for more than two years.

David DeCourcey of Charlottetown says the Humane Society removed six cats from the unheated shelter in Dromore on Tuesday.

The Humane Society is not willing to speak about its ongoing battle with DeCourcey over the care and shelter being provided to the cats. However, a document from the P.E.I. Humane Society provided to The Guardian by DeCourcey cites why the recent action was taken.

The Humane Society notes in the document that six cats examined by a licensed veterinarian were deemed to be in distress due to health concerns including severe dental disease, mouth ulcers, dehydration, severe ear mites, swollen eyes and mild fever.

“The living conditions at the time of inspection were not adequate for the current health status of these cats,’’ states the Humane Society in the document.

“Specifically, the lack of drinkable water and the large population of cats living in the community on your property were noted as concerns in the recovery of the cats.’’

The cats were seized under the authority of the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA), which deems a companion animal to be in distress if it is in need of food, water, care, shelter or treatment; is sick, in pain or suffering or has been injured; or is abused or subject to cruelty or neglect.

The Humane Society has informed DeCourcey that he may get the six cats back if he meets a number of conditions that include that he ensures the cats receive continued veterinary care as required and that he meets CAPA orders already served for all the cats in his care.

He must also pay the $556 bill for the treatment and boarding that has been provided to the six cats since they were seized.

DeCourcey says he cannot afford the bill.

“I don’t understand why they are doing this to me for,’’ he told The Guardian Thursday. “I feel they’ve got those cats held as ransom against us.’’

More than two years ago, DeCourcey built a sanctuary including insulated barns lined with straw for homeless countryside cats he had taken to watching over.

About 70 cats, each spayed or neutered, were given sanctuary.

However, concern over the adequacy of the shelter and the condition of the cats led the Humane Society to step in to investigate.

DeCourcey says the Humane Society has seized about 30 cats since last July and has put many of them down.

He has found homes for about 11 cats while about 30 still remain in the sanctuary.

He says the cats are fed regularly and provided water. Despite a harsh winter, he claims the insulated, but unheated, buildings are sufficient to protect the animals from the elements.

“It’s warm enough for them,’’ he said. “They don’t mind that cold any way. They will go out and roll in the snow in minus 20 degrees.’’

DeCourcey concedes that some of his cats are in rather “rugged’’ condition, but says he would rather the felines remain in his sanctuary than be put down by the Humane Society.

Organizations: Humane Society, The Guardian

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Dromore

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Recent comments

  • Sasha Burkitt
    March 09, 2014 - 12:05

    I think this community should get together and help this man provide shelter, food and water for these cats. Perhaps someone could even help with the cost of getting heat for them in the shelter. At least he is trying. :(

  • Fed up
    March 08, 2014 - 09:20

    Decoursey is a well known problem. I was stunned when this newspaper presented him as a hero several months ago. I hope next time they'll do their homework. Comments here show a lot of people have a very superficial understanding of animal welfare - they don't need to be confused any further.

    • catlover
      March 10, 2014 - 13:53

      If everyone went out to see this so-called cat sanctuary they would think different.....the Humane Society should be removing all the cats from this place and he should be charged under the Animal Protection Act. Take a drive everyone out to Dromore and see for yourself - it is very sad for the animals. They are suffering in a big way and need help. This is hoarding. He cannot afford to feed them let alone look after them properly. Very Very sad for the cats.

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    March 07, 2014 - 23:16

    Lots of do good perfect people on here complaining about this man . A man that is doing nothing more then trying to give a place an a little food an water along with a little compassion to stray cats . What have all you self centered finger naggers on here been doing to help the strays in your area . Lots of self righteous people making comments but few that want to take any action . All they want to do is point fingers and kick someone that is trying . Why not try collecting food and money for the animals instead of running down the only person trying to do a little good for the strays . Maybe you all would be happier if the strays were just left out in the open with no shelter or food .

  • EvilJellyDonut
    March 07, 2014 - 14:59

    You know instead of judging the guy for providing a home for stray cats. At least he is doing more than probably 100% of you judging him. I would like to offer this guy a website with pictures so people can adopt a stray from his land. Ask for donations to help cover the costs of taking care or 70 cats. It does seem kind of unfair that the Humane Society give him that bill. It would be different if he adopted the cats and just neglected them. He really just provided a home for walk ins.

  • easy fix
    March 07, 2014 - 14:02

    I guess he shoulda just wacked the strays when he finds them since giving them shelter and a bit of food that he can afford is making him a monster in most of your eyes. You people are pathetic.

  • Sandy
    March 07, 2014 - 12:46

    I don't understand why the cats are not treated, spayed and neutered like other shelters in the country and put up for adoption. That little kitten pictured would be a beautiful pet! Shame shame on those abandon poor cats in the countryside where they suffer horrific hunger and pain and probably eaten by coyotes. They could always drive to the SPCA and drop them off. Looks like a little humanity needs to be taught. The expression on the cat's faces are almost human. The concern of the cat on the left and the sheer fear of the old black cat on the right. Survivors all.

  • Sandy
    March 07, 2014 - 12:44

    I don't understand why the cats are not treated, spayed and neutered like other shelters in the country and put up for adoption. That little kitten pictured would be a beautiful pet! Shame shame on those abandon poor cats in the countryside where they suffer horrific hunger and pain and probably eaten by coyotes. They could always drive to the SPCA and drop them off. Looks like a little humanity needs to be taught. The expression on the cat's faces are almost human. The concern of the cat on the left and the sheer fear of the old black cat on the right. Survivors all.

  • Sandy
    March 07, 2014 - 12:40

    I don't understand why the cats are not treated, spayed and neutered like other shelters in the country and put up for adoption. That little kitten pictured would be a beautiful pet! Shame shame on those abandon poor cats in the countryside where they suffer horrific hunger and pain and probably eaten by coyotes. They could always drive to the SPCA and drop them off. Looks like a little humanity needs to be taught.

  • They're Not His Pets
    March 07, 2014 - 12:21

    These are not DeCourcey's Pets...they are stray, outside Cats he is trying to Shelter.

    • JJL
      March 08, 2014 - 07:31

      If you take a stray cat or dog in for shelter, after a certain number of hours it is legally considered your pet (according to animal control who enforces animal bylaws). Once these cats are in this man's possession, they are his pets, and thus they fall under the Companion Animal Protection Act. If this man was aware of the laws, he would have known the true responsibility he was taking on.

  • catlover
    March 07, 2014 - 11:15

    The reality is that these cats would be outside with no shelter if it werent for this man. He is trying the best he can for these otherwise stray cats... So the building isnt heated... most stray cats dont live in a heated 4 star building... seizing cats because they have ear mites, and they are old isnt helping anyone... We all know they will be killed at the shelter. Atleast when they are with him, they are being fed, watered and loved....

  • JohnJames
    March 07, 2014 - 10:23

    If this guy can't afford the vet bill for these 6 cats that were seized can someone please explain to me how he can afford to feed 30 cats on a daily basis??? These cats all need to be taken from this man ASAP! 6 months ago he was made out to be a hero in your newspaper and now at the expense of these poor little creatures the truth is finally starting to come out! This is very, very sad!

    • Debbie
      March 07, 2014 - 15:52

      JohnJames you are exactly right....I agree 100%.....The cats are not fed or watered properly.....he admitted that in the article six months ago......all these poor innocent cats need to be taken from him and he should not be allowed to continue to do this......why do people think they are getting sick????? I think of these poor cats every night - wonder how cold they are!!! The suffering is unimaginable.

  • concerned
    March 07, 2014 - 09:47

    From the article: he says he cannot afford vet bills for the sick animals, yet he doesn't understand why the SPCA seized them. It's very simple. The poor critters are sick and suffering, aren't being properly fed, watered or cared for. They are kept in unheated buildings and our winter has been very, very cold. Bottom line: these animals are suffering. Regardless of his intentions, I'm so glad that someone took responsibility and intervened to protect these animals. Kudos to the SPCA for their good work. This is why we should support their organization.

  • Stan Hope
    March 07, 2014 - 09:33

    Mr.Decourcey has great intentions however this sounds like another case of animal hording.We have one indoor cat ( adopted from the H.S.) and she is a full time job.Clean litter,water, proper diet,vet bills,etc.How do you care for 70 ? I trust the judgement of the Humane Society and the tough decisions they have to make on a daily basis.

  • Animal Advocate
    March 07, 2014 - 06:16

    There should be a limit on the number of cats that any one person is allowed to have without getting serious therapy.

  • Shame
    March 07, 2014 - 05:31

    Thank you Mr DeCourcey for providing a free place for those cats. It is very apparent your heart is in the right place. How many of those cats were released in the countryside by people who could not afford to surrender them to The Humane Society ? Shame on them to try and make money off him.

    • Manimal
      March 07, 2014 - 10:12

      The Humane Society is a shelter, not a store. They don't "make money off" anyone. They rescued cats in distress, that costs money, the law requires DeCoursey to pay those bills. The real problem is that it shouldn't take this long. He's been a concern for years.

    • think about it
      March 07, 2014 - 11:58

      Shame, Nobody is trying to make money off of this guy. HIS animals were sick (because they weren't being properly cared for) and needed medical care.. If he wants to have pets, then paying their medical bills is part of his responsibility as a pet owner. If he can't afford to take care of them, then he shouldn't have them. Why should the Humane Society - a volunteer, non-profit organization - have to absorb financial loss because this guy is irresponsible?? The H.S. already depends on volunteers and donations. They work and struggle to provide a good service.