Shangri-La at the Fort General Manager John Rice will provide an animal welfare group with the names of hotel employees who have supposedly adopted 12 stray cats, part of a feline colony which used to live in an adjacent park before they were “relocated.”
During a meeting on Monday between Rice and representatives of Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (Cara) Welfare Philippines, both parties initially agreed that the cats would be returned to One Bonifacio High Street Park in Taguig City.
“We realized, however, that these cats may already be in good homes so the plan is to interview these employees who adopted them and possibly conduct home visits,” Ria Javier, a Cara volunteer, told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
“It’s almost like adopting a child, we have to make sure these people are suitable pet parents and that their homes are safe. If it turns out that their homes are safe, it might be better if they continue to stay,” she said.
None of the additional 11 cats Shangri-La had ordered removed from the park were found during two searches conducted on Monday in the areas where they were supposedly taken—Ilaya Street in Pasig City and Anastacio Street in Makati.
According to a statement from Cara, Shangri-La again confirmed during the Monday meeting that it had contracted Pestbusters, a pest control company, to relocate the cats in the park between January and February this year.
Rice promised to contact Pestbusters and organize a meeting between the firm and Cara to pinpoint where the cats were taken so that they could be rescued.
Nancy Cu-Unjieng, Cara Welfare president, previously told the Inquirer that Pestbusters had refused to respond to calls.
When asked if the group would be filing charges against the pest control company, Unjieng told the Inquirer: “We are waiting to see if Pestbusters will cooperate with Cara first… They need to show us the two areas where they dumped the cats and help return them to BGC.”
“It should be mentioned that the Shangri-La management admitted their mistakes over these incidents and owned up to the lapses in their judgment in handling these incidents,” Cara said in a statement, adding that the hotel intended to join the group’s TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) programs in the future.
The searches on Monday were conducted by concerned citizens and volunteers from Shangri-La, Cara and Cats of BGC, a group of volunteers who had cared for the park cats for years. Shangri-La also provided a van for the search party.
“We are still trying our best to locate these cats, to find out the truth about this issue and to work with stakeholders to ensure that this does not happen again in the future,” Cara said.
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