For Clearwater resident Maddy Capostinski, ensuring the good treatment and well-being of animals has always been on the top of the list.
She’s well known in town because of the animal rescue she runs out of her home. Capostinski takes in injured cats and dogs, and feral cats, and makes sure they have their shots, aren’t hurt, are spayed/neutered, before finding them homes.
“This is something I’ve always done,” said Capostinski. “Even in my childhood, growing up as a young girl and even in my teens, it was always something, normally cats, that needed help.”
When she was 16, Capostinski was hired with the SPCA, where she did animal counselling and vetting, wound care, vaccinations, veterinary treatments and cruelty investigations. She then went on to work with a veterinary clinic and at Skeetchestn Indian Band Community School as a secretary, where she would bring in her two registered therapy dogs.
Now, she does animal rescue, focusing on the feral cat problem in Clearwater.
“It’s everywhere,” said Capostinski. “I just kind of took it upon myself to continue doing it a little more once we moved to Clearwater. I wanted to help with the feral cats and the different colonies that are around Clearwater because there’s quite a few.”
The SPCA noted as recently as last year that Clearwater as a cat overpopulation crisis. Feral or strays become a problem when owners do not spay or neuter their cats and let them outside. On average, cats have four kittens per litter — that number grows exponentially as a colony gets bigger.
“It was unreal to me that Clearwater was on that list,” said Capostinski. “It goes to show how much it is needed here.”
She said she receives messages sometimes daily, with homeowners needing help with a stray, feral or injured cat. When she gets a call, she’ll go to the home with a live trap, set it up — sometimes with a heat pad and blankets if it’s in the winter — and wait. When the cat is in the trap, she’ll take it home to be looked over by the veterinarian, treated for worms, fleas or ear mites and have it spayed/neutered.
The cats stay in what Capostinski calls their “Cat House” — a small cabin retrofitted for the animals — where they can rehabilitate and roam around after they’ve been fixed.
Then she finds them a new home.
“I never have problems finding them homes,” she said. “People want to adopt feral cats.”
The cost of animal rescue isn’t cheap. That’s why Capostinski said she’s grateful the community steps in over and over again, donating money, food, beds and toys.
She has an account at the bottle depot, and people can forward their bottle return money to assist in the endeavour. They’ve also pitched in to help cover her bill with the local veterinarian.
“It’s been so amazing,” she said. “The community is amazing, for sure.”
As for why she continues to put in so much time into the cause, Capostinski said it’s just a passion.
“I want to help,” she explained. “I’ve seen some pretty horrid thing and I don’t want any of that to happen. I feel like if I’m here and I offer a safe place for them to come, that these bad things won’t happen to them.”