The owner of a central Alberta animal pet boarding facility says Blackfalds gives lost cats back to their owners better than any community in North America.
Jim deBoon, owner of Klassic Kennels, which is a boarding kennel that also operates as a humane shelter for stray pets, will present a plaque to Blackfalds council Monday to recognize the town’s 46 per cent return-to-owner rate, which he believes is North America’s highest.
“I’ve never heard of an actual 40 per cent before in the field,” deBoon said Thursday afternoon.
“I hope people in our communities continue to value our cats, even more this year than they did than last year. If they do that, we’ll have fewer roaming, more going home and we’ll be able to beat the cat overpopulation problem.”
Penhold wasn’t far behind Blackfalds, with 42 per cent. The City of Red Deer has about 12 per cent.
“Red Deer has improved a bit with dogs, and 12 per cent isn’t abysmal with cats. Last time I checked, the stats for North America for open admission shelters, the return-to-owner rate was between one and three percent,” deBoon said.
The plaque DeBoon will present to Blackfalds council, honours the town as “North America’s most pet-caring community,” based on the return-to-owner rate for cats.
“Maybe it can create a bit of competition between communities. Perhaps next year Penhold tries to (win the plaque) or maybe Bentley or Lacombe,” he said.
“We have a long way to go with cats.”
DeBoon said he would be happy to learn about a community that returns cats to owners more consistently than Blackfalds.
“I would love to learn how they’re getting more cats home than we are – I want to know that information because that’s my goal,” he said.
In order to have such a high return-to-owner rate, you must have a caring service and willing community, said deBoon.
“Part of that is how you treat the community and the way you do your job. You can do your job and tick someone off or you can do your job while encouraging them to join you. I’ve done the latter as much as possible.”
Klassic Kennels works alongside RCMP in Blackfalds as well, he added.
“There is an atmosphere of enforcement in that community that creates a public desire to want to do better and be better.”