By Brendan Martineau
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Launched in 2016, the association Les Chats Libres des Sables-d’Olonne undertakes two missions. Identify and sterilize cats found stray in the sand area, in order to limit the rapid reproduction of cats. But also act against the proliferation of feline diseases through veterinary care, trapping and other cat feeding. However, during the months of July and August 2022, the association was overwhelmed with calls. “People were not aware of our basic missions. We were insulted by people who thought we acted as a refuge. But this is not the case, or so with very rare exceptions.confides Marie-Thérèse Courseul, president of the Les Chats Libres association in Les Sables-d’Olonne.
“There is a lack of a service provider between the pound and the inhabitants. However, our role is not to house cats found stray. We are not professionals, just volunteers, who do not have direct access to the municipal pound. We can only collect cats on the private domain and not on the public domain! »
This role of dropping off animals found stray at the municipal pound is a mission that belongs to the municipal police. But according to another member of the association, “the municipal police do not have the time, nor the budget, to deposit stray cats in the pound”, warns Valérie Thomas, treasurer of the association. But without intervention, the feline population could dangerously grow in Les Sables.
“We have the impression that we are unloading on our association. That we are the ultimate solution to these abandoned cats. However, it is not the case. »
€14,000 in veterinary costs
The association no longer finds itself in relation to its basic missions and therefore requests the signing of a partnership agreement with the City, to enable it to cover its unforeseen costs. “For the past two years, we have received €5,000 in municipal subsidies a year. However, with our evolving missions, since last November we have spent nearly €14,000 in veterinary costs. It’s abnormal. However, for the good continuity of our association, we must ask for other aid from the national SPA and from the Brigitte Bardot and 30 Million Friends Foundations. Without this signed partnership agreement, we must rely on our funds to avoid animal suffering. »
Indeed, this signing of the agreement was scheduled for the summer of 2022. But it has still not taken place.
For Jean-Pierre Chapalain, member of the environment commission within the Sables-d’Olonne agglomeration, the problem of stray cats is taken very seriously.
“We are aware of the risks associated with feline proliferation. But I think there was a misunderstanding with the association Les Chats Libres. At the beginning of 2023, we are going to set up sterilization and identification campaigns for stray cats. But to do this, we need a private partner. However, we don’t have any at the moment. »
A certain weariness
Indeed, faced with this lack of company allowing the regulation of stray cats in the sector, the agglomeration has resigned itself to granting a delegation of public service to the intermunicipal pound until December 31, 2022. But this delegation does not does not allow the pound to capture the cats.
“Hence the association’s weariness and feeling of being alone in the face of this problem. But legally, we cannot do otherwise. In September, a deliberation of the agglomeration council will aim to place a group of orders in each municipality of the agglomeration. This group will allow the choice of a partner who will have in its specifications, the capture of stray cats. »
So, according to Jean-Pierre Chapalain, the subject should return to order at the beginning of next year and the partnership agreement will be signed in stride. However, he refutes the disdain that the Sablais municipal police would have for abandoned cats.
“The municipal police have always shown goodwill on this subject and they know the role they must play in this matter. It is a mission of peace and public safety. »
For your information, the volunteers of Les Chats Libres, in nearly a year of activity, have sterilized 95 cats and identified 141.
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