March 15, 2013
One of the most consistent and disturbing search terms I get on the blog involves cat killing and specifically, how to do it. One good thing about this otherwise depressing issue is that anyone who comes here is going to find nothing but love for our feline friends. Another good thing is that it continually reminds me that there are deranged individuals in the world who, for whatever reason, target cats. As such, I try to be careful not to feed the crazies by giving them a voice here. Comments about cat killing do not get approved and the commenters get banned.
I was deeply troubled to read that The Orlando Sentinel recently published an op-ed by Ted Williams, editor-at-large for Audubon Magazine, in which he calls TNR a failure and suggests that feral cats should either be poisoned with Tylenol or trapped and killed (presumably by some means other than Tylenol). Isn’t the Audubon Society a wildlife advocacy group? And yet they allow Ted Williams to submit for publication a piece calling for the killing of feral cats, who are a form of wildlife themselves? And The Orlando Sentinel printed it? Shame.
Feral cats have a right to live. For those deemed medically hopeless by a veterinarian, euthanasia by injection is the preferred method to relieve suffering. Poisoning would never be recommended. And the killing of any healthy/treatable cat is immoral and unacceptable.
Needless to say, the cat killing sickos of the world have delighted in the Ted Williams piece. And they are gleefully spreading the news that the Audubon Society says giving Tylenol to feral cats is yay. I wonder how many pet cats or other animals are going to be poisoned with Tylenol as a result of this irresponsible piece in the Sentinel?
Vox Felina posted about this outrageous op-ed piece yesterday. (There is a link to the op-ed in the Sentinel at Vox Felina, if interested. I won’t be posting that link here.) Alley Cat Allies has an action alert here.
The city of Rockwood, TN recently enacted what sounds like a terrible anti-pet ordinance. I wanted to read the actual ordinance but was unable to find it online so had to rely on the summary provided by an area news outlet:
Pet owners and advocates in Rockwood said they are upset over a new city ordinance that limits the number of animals they can have to five, and allows animal control to trap feral cats and stray cats, and euthanize them after three days.
The local news spoke to a woman who cares for 11 cats, seven of whom are feral. She has trapped, neutered and vaccinated all but 2 of the ferals already. But under the ordinance, she will have to choose which ones she wants to live (up to 5 total) and even then, the feral cats she cares for will still be at risk for being trapped and impounded by AC. The only way for a Rockwood resident to own more than 5 pets is to obtain a kennel license and keep the animals on property in a commercial zone. She told the news she is going to move out of the city.
“Our goal is not going out and trying to roundup all the cats in Rockwood,” said [Mayor James] Watts. “I hope people don’t think the city of Rockwood is an animal hater. We’re not. We’re trying to put the responsibility back on the citizens.”
The city of Rockwood should be trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning feral cats. They aren’t. Instead private citizens are doing it for them. Now the city wants to punish them and kill their cats. This is putting the “responsibility back on the citizens”?
Watts reassured people who take care of their animals properly would not be targeted.
Really? How can the mayor possibly reassure anyone of that? The lady with 11 cats is taking care of her animals properly but she would be targeted under the ordinance. As will any cat who walks into a trap set by AC, regardless of who owns or feeds him. Traps don’t know whose cats to target.
Punitive legislation doesn’t work. I hope the citizens of Rockwood demand that the city abolishes this anti-pet ordinance.
(Thank you Peter M. for the link.)
February 3, 2013
If you read recently about the Smithsonian study that stated free roaming cats kill up to 24 billion birds and small mammals annually, you probably had questions. Some of those questions may have been:
- Where can I buy whatever the Smithsonian researchers are smoking?
- Are there 24 billion bird and mammal skeletons weighed down with wee cement shoes at the bottoms of every river in the United States?
Thankfully, Peter Wolf at Vox Felina has answers to all these questions and more (well, not the second one actually). His post entitled Garbage In, Garbage Out looks at the research in detail and brings to light various flaws. Serious flaws. For example, he notes that the studies referenced in the paper are, in various cases, outdated, imprecise, misrepresented and counted more than once. Using these studies to extrapolate such things as the number of cats with access to prey and the number of birds and small mammals killed by these cats results in even greater imprecision. Thus the title of Vox Felina’s post. And then there is the issue of agenda, specifically to undermine TNR, and the authors’ apparent bias:
[Peter] Marra (a vocal critic of TNR) served as Nico Dauphiné’s advisor at the Smithsonian until October 2011, when she resigned after being found guilty of attempted animal cruelty. And [Tom] Will, also an outspoken critic of TNR, helped Dauphiné land her post-doc fellowship there with a letter of recommendation.* (Her position was funded by USFWS, just as [Scott] Loss’ is today.)
While I am grateful there are smart minds like Peter Wolf willing to put in the work to debunk this study, I think many people will simply apply the common sense test to the outrageous claims made in the paper. Which is to say, a quick glance at the sky, the trees and the ground reveal that indeed, bird and small mammal populations are thriving. And cats are not the wildlife mafia.
As one commenter put it on Gawker (Warning: bad language alert):
right. it’s not fucking encroachment by archer-daniels midland, or death by monsanto poisoned seeds or bayer or ortho pesticides and herbicides, oh no, it couldn’t be those things. it couldn’t fucking be from air, water and soil pollution, fuck no; everyone knows those things are *good* for billions of birds.
it’s frisky the cat. only cats. cats are to blame.
+1 for common sense.
July 22, 2012
When this photo of a cat in Orange Co, FL was posted on Facebook, some people complained about it and others offered to help. I snipped out some of the comments to give you the gist of the overall discussion. (Click any image to enlarge it.) I don’t know what happened to the cat but if this was the only group advocating for him, I imagine he’s in the landfill.
September 4, 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) hates feral cats. As such, they are opposed to the only proven program – Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) – aimed at eliminating feral cats over time while minimizing costs. That does not make sense, but then The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t exactly known for applying common sense to feral cat management.
In November, The Wildlife Society will hold its annual conference in Hawaii. Among the workshops will be this one:
Influencing Local Scale Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Release Decisions
Organizers: Tom Will, USFWS, Fort Snelling, MN Mike Green, USFWS, Portland, OR
In short, the USFWS is sending two staffers to Hawaii to conduct an all day workshop on how to combat compassionate citizens who are advocating for TNR in their communities. If you pay taxes in the U.S., you are paying for this. If you don’t like how your tax dollars are being spent here, Best Friends has an action alert all set up for you.
October 12, 2010
PETA writes in a letter to the Prince George’s Co Council in MD, dated September 28, 2010:
We have been contacted by concerned Prince George’s County-
area citizens about a push by a small group of citizens to legislatively legitimize their hobby of feeding feral cats, without regard for the health and welfare of other animals or taxpayers in the community.
A fringe group of crazy cat ladies who will be the death of us all…
We strongly support the current law in Prince George’s County, which rightfully cites citizens who fail to properly care and house animals in their custody.
Where are the tens of thousands of citations for PETA then, pursuant to their failure to care for pets in their custody?
We receive countless reports of incidents in which cats—“managed” or not—suffer and die horrible deaths because they must fend for themselves outdoors. Having witnessed firsthand the gruesome things that can happen to feral cats, we cannot in good conscience oppose euthanasia as a humane alternative for dealing with overpopulation. Please know that this stance is based solely on what we believe to be the most humane option for these animals.
Yes we know PETA believes killing pets is “the most humane option”. PETA makes that clear year after year by killing thousands and thousands of homeless pets without even trying to find homes for them.
PETA supports the efforts of animal control agencies when they rescue cats from the streets, even if a quick and painless end is the best that can be offered.
I notice they don’t reference any alternatives (such as cat sanctuary) that don’t involve death.
Communities that wish to effectively address animal overpopulation and its attendant public health and safety concerns can make serious headway by implementing ordinances that require citizens to spay and neuter their own animals, forbid the sale and trade of intact animals without a costly permit, and require local animal shelters to remain accessible and user-friendly by accepting all animals at all times without fees or reservations.
Oh do tell us how to run a successful shelter PETA – what size walk-in freezer do you find works best for storing the bodies? And by the way, mandatory spay-neuter laws do NOT help pets and there is no such thing as “animal overpopulation”. But don’t let the absence of truth slow you down.
Food left out by citizens who insist on feeding feral cats[...]
God damn them to hell!
[...]and leaving the animals homeless to fend for themselves attract a variety of other animals, including those who are considered “pests” and are common rabies vector species (raccoons, foxes, etc.).
So we’re all going to get rabies tomorrow if we help feral cats to live? It’s a miracle we’ve survived as long as we have!
A response, all facty-like, from Prince George’s Feral Friends, dated October 11, can be read here. The group has filed a lawsuit against the county for “imputing ownership of feral cats by virtue of feeding them”.
November 14, 2009
The Gothenburg Animal Hospital serves as Gothenburg’s city pound.
Now, because of a new state law that changes how animals are handled at city pounds statewide, it will be more expensive to adopt a dog or cat.
“It will be much more costly,” said Gothenburg Animal Hospital owner and veterinarian Roger Dudley.
Under a Gothenburg City Council proposal driven by state law, all adopted cats and dogs must be spayed or neutered.
A for-profit veterinary clinic can’t possibly serve the needs of the city’s shelter pets at the level they deserve. Basically, the staff is moonlighting by taking in strays but obviously their top priority will be their business. If they don’t keep focused on making a profit, they won’t have a business anymore. Shelter pets deserve better.
The Vet is obviously thinking in terms of profit when he talks about the greatly increased fee to adopt neutered shelter pets. The community needs someone who thinks in terms of public service with regard to saving pets and getting them into homes. Why not get the community involved and see if those goals can’t be accomplished?
Unfortunately, there are more problems:
Dudley said the city currently pays the Gothenburg Animal Hospital $10 a day for cats and $12 for dogs to board strays only if they are euthanized but not if they are adopted.
Financial incentive to kill is never a good practice when the goal is saving pets.
[T]he city pays for four days of boarding. If the clinic keeps a pet longer for adoption, the business is not reimbursed.
Since he’s been in the veterinary business, Dudley said he doesn’t think problems with stray dogs have increased but cats have.
“Cat’s [sic] continue to multiply and that’s difficult to shut down,” he said. “There are so many, I don’t know what could be done.”
Is this the person the community wants in charge of caring for stray pets – someone who says he has no ideas on how to handle the local cat population? Perhaps the idea of TNR for feral cats doesn’t appeal to him due to the issue of profit. But it would be worth bringing up to the city and recruiting volunteers from the community to help reduce the feral population. And what about low cost neuter services so local pet owners can afford to get their cats neutered? Maybe that falls under the lack-of-financial-incentive category too.
What say you Gothenburg?
June 2, 2009
Apparently the American Bird Conservancy spies have infiltrated every TNR feral cat colony in the US. The spies each have a clicker counter (made to look like a rhinestone cat collar) to notify HQ about every bird that is killed by a TNR cat. And that count is accurate because you know, there is a code of honor among TNR cats about the birds they kill. The TNR Prey-O-Meter at HQ is about to go into overload, therefore the American Bird Conservancy has pronounced:
[A] feral cat management program called trap, neuter, and release is failing to substantially reduce cat numbers and is contributing to the deaths of millions of birds each year, including endangered species.
To publicize how rilly-super-real their numbers are, they even made a little video.