Volunteers Seek Help

by | September 6, 2019 5:00 pm

Last Updated: September 6, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Right off Exit 102 on I-95, there is a small abandoned gas station, home to a feral cat colony. 

At least it was before June 8. These feral cats were being fed by Wade Demers and Vicky Norris, hoping to trap, neuter and release them so the animals could go on leading their normal lives. 

What they found on the morning of June 8 shocked them both.

Demers arrived at 4:30 a.m. as usual to feed the colony, everything went as planned, and he counted around 15-20 cats. When Norris arrived around 8:30 a.m. to make sure they had clean water and food, she immediately found two cats dead. 

The two cats were laid out beside each other, as if placed there. She explored the area and found a total of seven cats. At this point, she called Demers to have them buried. Around 1 p.m., she called the local sheriff’s office, which found there wasn’t sufficient evidence of poisoning. 

Norris and Demers returned at 2 p.m. and found three more, one of which was still breathing. The cat died in her car, but she placed it on ice with plans to send it off for testing. Norris sent the cat off to Clemson University, which in turn sent samples to the University of Michigan to tuna complete toxicology report. 

Norris received the report back on June 26. The document stated that the cats had ingested chemicals by the names of aldicarb nitrile and aldicarb oxime. It also stated that Norris should report these findings to the State Department of Agriculture for the investigation of a pesticide misuse.

Aldicarb is a substance commonly found in temik, a pesticide that was used by farmers on row crops, mainly to get rid of nematodes. However, it was banned in limited amounts in 2012, and eventually banned altogether in 2017. 

This is due to its high toxicity to animals and humans. Several claims were made of pets dying and farmers falling seriously ill due to the effects of aldicarb. It was clear to the pair that, due to the toxic and illegal properties of temik, and the location of the cats, that this colony was poisoned.

After all of this, Norris and Demers have not stopped fighting the good fight. They still stand strongly behind their TNR team.

“I was heartbroken,” said Norris. “It takes a lot of patience, time, work, and money to help these cats, and we do it all out of our own pockets. The colony on exit 102 was only days away from being trapped and neutered. And they were being fed and taken care of so that they wouldn’t bother anyone else. But none of this is going to stop us from doing anything we can to help our furry little friends.”
Norris reported that the colony was slowly starting to rebuild, and that they’re up to about five cats now that will be spayed and neutered soon. If you’d like to help at all, you can contact her at 803-460-7535 to volunteer. You can also contact the Second Chance Animal Shelter at 803-473-7075.

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