Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holiday's from ACR

On December 9th and 16th, Alley Cat Rescue got to play Santa at the PETsMART to raise money. People could bring in their pets (and kids!) to have their pictures taken with Santa. On the 9th, two volunteers played Santa, but on the 16th, ACR's own Kylie had the honor. Here are some pictures--
Kylie as Santa with her dog Otis
Alley Cat Rescue would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

~Louise, Kylie, Maggie and the Alley Cat Rescue Team

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cats Are Not Killers, They Are Predators

There was a recent article in the New York Times Magazine covering the never-ending debate on feral cat predation. Clea Simon (author of Cries and Whiskers) also discusses if “kitty is a killer” on her blog. In response to the magazine’s article and to add to Clea’s comments, here is ACR’s view on the subject:

Humans have double standards when it comes to judging and treating animals and how they judge and treat their own species. Environmentalists focus on the cat as predator, making exaggerated claims about cat predation and often overlooking or minimizing the tremendous damage done by humans. At this time in history, when the human population is so destructive to the earth and wildlife, we need to remind ourselves of our species’ responsibility and consider our “double standards.”

Urban sprawl, parking lots, road building, and golf courses play a large part in reducing habitat and food sources, negatively affecting wildlife. We poison our air with exhaust fumes from over 120 million automobiles and spray 4 billion pounds of pesticides into the atmosphere annually. The WorldWatch Institute cites deforestation, due to razing forests for croplands, pastures, and real estate, as one of the major factors contributing to the loss of all birds, including songbirds. In addition, power lines electrocute tens of thousands of birds, and estimates of birds killed in collisions with automobiles and glass windows every year run to the hundreds of millions.

So, to place blame on cats as a major cause for the decline of bird populations and to advocate their eradication does not make sense or solve the problem. Yes, there is no denying cats kill birds. They are predators, they hunt, and they do so out of instinct just as other mammals do. But that doesn’t mean we should round up all predators and decide who we should kill and who should live. Plus, many zoologists have observed that feral cats are more scavengers than predators. Their begging and opportunistic behavior “has enabled many feral cats almost to give up hunting altogether,” says Peter Neville, a UK biologist; this behavior has contributed to their being domesticated in the first place over 5,000 years ago.

Studies have also shown that cases where cats were eradicated mice and rat populations exploded, and they began to prey on ground-nesting birds. On Amsterdam Island, biologists eradicated the feral cats to protect seabirds; however, this caused an increase in black rat and house mice populations, and they preyed on the seabirds. Same occurred in New Zealand, when feral cats were exterminated to preserve native bird populations; only, there was an increase in the rat population, which posed deadly to the birds.

In the end, ACR believes all animals, whether exotic, alien, introduced, non-native, or so-called pests, are sentient beings and should be given humane care and treatment. If a species needs controlled in order to preserve another, then all humane, non-lethal methods should be utilized. In this day and age, everyone should be trying to instill more compassionate ethics towards the earth and all of her inhabitants.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cries and Whiskers Receives Rave Reviews!

Available now, Cries and Whiskers, by Clea Simon, receives rave reviews!

--“Simon has written a fast-moving story full of lively characters, both two- and four-legged. This series is highly recommended for mystery fans who love cats but who prefer to leave the crime-solving to humans.” —
Booklist

--“Definitely a great read for cat lovers.” —
Reader Views

When an animal rights activist is killed by a hit-and-run driver on an icy Cambridge street, music critic Theda Krakow can’t get too upset. The victim cared more for wild animals than for people, and had no use at all for domesticated pets, such as the black-and-white cat Musetta that Theda adores. Besides, Theda is caught up in investigating the rise of a dangerous new designer drug that threatens the musicians and fans who make up the club scene she considers her second home. But when the feline-friendly writer learns that the accident victim was defying her own radical group to rescue feral cats on the eve of a ferocious winter storm, she puts her own prejudices aside to help out. As Theda and her buddy, the punk-rock shelter owner Violet, race to save these half-wild felines from the freezing New England winter, they uncover simmering tensions that make the activist’s death seem more than an accident. Could a friend have been the fatal driver? Is Violet more involved with the extremist group than she’s let on? Even while kittens are at risk and the new drug hits close to home, Theda tries to hang onto her journalistic objectivity. But when the threats become more personal and Musetta goes missing, Theda risks her reputation, her career, and possibly her life as the word “deadline” takes on a whole new meaning.

Alley Cat Rescue has received a review copy of the book and will be diving in soon! Keep an eye out for our comments in our newsletter and blog. You may also visit Clea’s website www.cleasimon.com for the prologue of the book.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tigers, Wood and Wal-Mart

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire
Investigation Agency (EIA -- http://www.eia-global.org/) has today released a report
and undercover video evidence that global retail giant Wal-Mart is selling wood products
made from illegally logged timber which is in turn threatening the habitat of the highly
endangered Siberian tiger. This new evidence comes as Wal-Mart continues to publicly
tout its "Sustainability 360" initiative, which asserts the importance of "first and
foremost" avoiding illegally harvested wood.
Highlights of the EIA report show that Wal-Mart's "no questions asked" sourcing
policy, which prizes low-price above all, is having particularly dangerous consequences
for the high conservation value forests of the Russian Far East, and in turn the
world's largest cat, the Siberian tiger, of which only 500 are thought to remain
in the wild.
EIA's investigators found Wal-Mart's footprints around the globe, but nowhere more
so than in China, which ranks Wal-Mart as its eighth-largest trading partner -- and
which produces 84 percent of Wal-Mart's wood products. China's manufacturing sector
relies on large quantities of high-risk timber imported from the world's illegal
logging hotspots --including Russia's Far East.
"Everybody in Russia from President Vladimir Putin down to local
officials has openly acknowledged that much of the wood flowing from
Russia to China is illegal," said Alexander von Bismarck, EIA's Executive
Director. "But Chinese manufacturers told EIA investigators again and again
that Wal-Mart doesn't ask where the wood comes from, only if it's cheap
–disputing Wal-Mart's claims that it avoids sourcing illegally logged wood."
The EIA undercover team traveled to the Chinese factories and spoke with
staff there to investigate Wal-Mart's business practices. The findings include
evidence of 200,000 baby cribs made from high-risk Russian wood by Chinese
manufacturers for Wal-Mart. Investigators tracked the wood supply back to the
Russian forest and found the Russian company logging in tiger habitat and
making illegal cash payments to Russian police to move their timber. These were
the same cribs recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission due to
baby deaths. The cribs now continue to be sold in the U.S. with revised assembly
instructions.
"Cutting costs should not be an excuse for damaging the environment by accepting
illegal wood or threatening endangered species -- especially not for the biggest
company in the world," said von Bismarck.
"EIA is calling on Wal-Mart to stand by its CEO's goal to sell products that 
sustain our natural resources and the environment, and to remove illegally
sourced wood from its supply chain," added von Bismarck. EIA is a non-profit
organization that has been working around the globe since 1984 to investigate,
expose and campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife and the destruction
of our natural environment.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Olympics Continue to Threaten the Lives of Local Cats

According to a recent BBC News report and the Celia Hammond Animal Trust (CHAT), hundreds of cats face being crushed to death by construction machinery in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. CHAT volunteers rescued 157 cats from the site before being banned in the beginning of August. The group has repeatedly requested permission to trap and relocate the cats, but the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) continues to refuse them access to the property. However, the ODA has agreed to spend £70,000 rescuing 150 newts from another part of the site.

ACR is urging our members to write letters to the International Olympic Committee and members of the Olympic Delivery Authority expressing their discontent with the building operations of participating countries. Let the Committee know that you will not support the Games unless the host countries change their views and treatment of animals living in these future sites. Also, request the ODA to allow CHAT to rescue the remaining cats; they provided money to rescue newts but show no concern for the well-being of the cats. Please express to the Committee that the Olympics has come a long way since the first athletes met in Athens in 1896; this includes the treatment and welfare of not only its participating athletes but also of those unforeseen “participants” who are displaced to make room for new arenas.

WRITE TO:

David Higgins, Chief Executive, Olympic Delivery Authority
One Churchill Place
Canary Wharf, London E14 5LN

Lord Sebastian Coe, Olympic Delivery Authority
One Churchill Place
Canary Wharf, London E14 5LN


John Armitt CBE, Chairman, Olympic Delivery Authority
One Churchill Place
Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LN

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queens Walk
More London, London SE1 2AA

International Olympic Committee

Ch√Ęteau de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland

Tel: (41.21) 621 61 11
Fax: (41.21) 621 62 16

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

ACR Newsletter Wins Award

Alley Cat Mews, the Alley Cat Rescue newsletter, has won a Muse Medallion from the Cat Writers' Association.

The Mews Medallion is awarded to the highest scoring publication, article, picture, etc in each individual category. Alley Cat Mews was the winner in the regional/membership circulation newsletter category.

Kylie was proud to accept the award at the Cat Writers' Association Conference in Foster City, California on November 17th.

If you do not yet receive Alley Cat Mews, please email us at AlleyCatRescue@gmail.com to start receiving your copy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


Alley Cat Rescue would like to wish all of our members and readers a very Happy Halloween! We even got dressed up! Louise, Kylie (on the Left), Maggie (on the Right) and Samantha (the REAL kitty) hope everyone has a safe and happy day.

Holiday Advice for Pet Parents

The Internet always explodes this time of year with warnings about keeping your black cats indoors due to a rise in cat-stealing and abuse tied to the holiday. While there are no statistics that indicate this is anything other than an urban legend, all it takes is one kook who got that same mass-forwarded e-mail and decided he'd like to have a black cat as part of his Halloween decor. Why risk your cat of any color becoming the victim of a sick prank or worse? Keep your cats indoors around Halloween.

Maybe you're one of the many people who like to dress your pets up for Halloween. If your pets are willing to go along with it, just be sure that their costumes are safe, don't constrict their breathing or movement, and make sure your pets don't get away while dressed up in costumes that could get caught on something.

The constant ringing of the doorbell and people coming and going can cause some pets to become stressed out, and stressed out pets can be unpredictable. In addition, children in costumes might seem unfamiliar or threatening to dogs. Allow family pets to interact with trick-or-treaters with caution, if at all. And remind kids that even a dog who knows them well might not recognize them in their costume, so be a little careful even with familiar neighborhood dogs.



From: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/10/30/petscol.DTL

Monday, October 29, 2007

PORT AUTHORITY REJECTS PUBLIC OUTCRY AND BEGINS EXTERMINATION OF JFK CATS


PORT AUTHORITY REJECTS PUBLIC OUTCRY AND BEGINS EXTERMINATION OF JFK CATS
Port Authority Caught Lying About Cats' Fate

(New York, Oct. 29, 2007) Despite an avalanche of criticism from thousands of
outraged members of the public, the Port Authority of NY and NJ began
trapping feral cats at JFK Airport over this past weekend with the plan of
exterminating them. Rescuers were barred from feeding or attempting to rescue the cats
and were threatened with arrest by federal wildlife officials from USDA. In
addition, a Port Authority spokesman admitted to the NY Post his agency had lied
when telling the public last Friday the cats would all be adopted into good
homes. The NY Post confirmed the cats would be put down immediately instead.
(See "Frequent Liars." )

Experienced feral cat workers have also refuted the Port Authority's claim
the cats pose a risk to aviation because their food supposedly attracts
seagulls. "That's another lie and a fright tactic designed to fool the public. JFK
Airport is located near the ocean and has mountains of trash strewn all over the
grounds. That's why there are seagulls, not because of an insignificant amount
of cat food," said Bryan Kortis, Executive Director of Neighborhood Cats.

Experts point out that cats are usually blamed for killing birds, not
attracting them, that feeding cats can be done in a manner that leaves no food for
birds, and that there is no study or other report suggesting a link between the
presence of cats at an airport and an aviation risk.

In addition, the admitted desire of JFK wildlife biologist Laura Francoeur to
create a "cat-free" airport is doomed to failure. Similar attempts at
countless other locations have repeatedly failed to overcome the constant appearance
of new cats and their reproductive ability. Only through sterilization and
long-term monitoring by caretakers (that is, Trap-Neuter-Return or "TNR") can the
cats' numbers be reduced.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

Phone, fax and email the people listed below and demand Port Authority
suspend the trapping immediately and meet with representatives of the NYC Feral Cat
Initiative and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals to come up with a
humane, effective feral cat management plan. The people contacted on Friday refuse
to meet, so now let's talk to their bosses. Please review the three talking
points at the end of this letter so you know how to respond to their PR dept's
fabrications.

WHO TO CONTACT

Anthony Shorris
Executive Director
Port Authority of NY and NJ
(212) 435-7271
ashorris@panynj.gov

Shawn Larenti, Director
Government and Community Relations Dept.
Port Authority of NY and NJ
(212) 435-6903
slarenti@panynj.gov

Charles E. Meara
NYC Community Relations Dept.
Port Authority of NY and NJ
(917) 596-0492
cmeara@panynj.gov

Port Authority Corporate Headquarters
(212) 435-7000 (get a live person on the line and demand to speak to someone
about the JFK situation)

Susan Baer (let's try reasoning with her again, this time not accepting Port
Authority lies)
General Manager, JFK Airport
718-244-3501
sbaer@panynj.gov

TALKING POINTS: PORT AUTHORITY KILLS CATS AND THE TRUTH

LIE #1: "The cats will all be adopted into good homes."

THE TRUTH: Feral cats are unadoptable and usually are immediately put down
when brought to shelters, as Port Authority plans to do. Port Authority ADMITTED
LYING to the public about this in the NY Post article, "Frequent Liars",
published Saturday, October 27, 2007.

LIE #2: "Feeding the cats attracts seagulls and the birds are an aviation
threat."

THE TRUTH: Seagulls are at the airport because JFK is NEAR THE OCEAN!! And
because there are tons of trash strewn about the airport's grounds. There is not
enough cat food to attract large numbers of birds and there is no food left
anyway when the cats finish eating. Cats hunt birds, they don't attract them.
There is ZERO evidence proving a link between the presence of cats at an
airport and an aviation risk. DON'T BE GULL-IBLE!!!

LIE #3: "We can achieve a cat-free airport."

THE TRUTH: You can't wipe out the presence of feral cats in a 5000 acre area
in which new, unneutered cats are constantly being abandoned or lost and then
reproducing, and where there are plentiful food sources. Only
Trap-Neuter-Return can, over time, reduce the numbers. The Port Authority's extermination
effort is futile and will only result in new furry faces, not fewer. The killing
is senseless.

For more on the NYC Feral Cat Initiative: http://www.nycferalcat.org
For more on the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals:
http://www.animalalliancenyc.org
For more on Neighborhood Cats: http://www.neighborhoodcats.org

Friday, October 26, 2007

TNR GROUNDED AT JFK!!

Port Authority Seeks Extermination of Feral Cats at Airport

(New York, NY) According to Port Authority officials, the most pressing
threat to aviation security at JFK Airport is no longer terrorism, but
feral cats! Contracts have been ordered to immediately round up and
exterminate scores of felines residing on the 5000 acres of one of the
nation's busiest airports. Even cats sterilized, vaccinated for rabies
and cared for by volunteers according to the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)
method are under attack.

"The Port Authority's claim that feeding these cats is attracting large
numbers of birds who, in turn, could bring down a jet is beyond absurd,"
according to Bryan Kortis, Executive Director of Neighborhood Cats, a
leading cat advocacy group. "There isn't any food left the birds and,
besides, cats have been at JFK for decades. Now all of a sudden when
concerned groups want to neuter and care for these cats, they're a
security threat. The public needs to let Port Authority know loud and
clear we're not as stupid as they think and won't buy their concocted
justification for needlessly killing these animals."

Feral cats are the descendants of lost or abandoned cats and, at JFK,
originate from cats lost or abandoned by travelers. Attempts to
eradicate them have historically failed. By contrast, TNR has repeatedly
been used to nonlethally lower cat numbers and eliminate sanitary and
nuisance concerns. TNR involves neutering the cats, vaccinating them
for rabies, returning them to their territory, then monitoring and caring
for them. Over time, attrition lowers their populations.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Call, fax and email Port Authority officials and protest the extermination
effort. Urge them to meet with NYC Feral Cat Initiative representatives
and come up with an intelligent plan to TNR and manage the JFK cats.
The NYC Feral Cat Initiative is a program of the Mayor's Alliance for
NYC's Animals.

WHO TO CONTACT:
Susan Baer, General Manager, JFK Airport
sbaer@panynj.gov
718-244-3501

Laura Francoeur, Aeronautical Services,
Airport Operations Division
Phone: 718-244-3773
Fax: 718-244-3777
lfrancoe@panynj.gov

For more on the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals:
www.animalalliancenyc.org
For more on Neighborhood Cats: www.neighborhoodcats.org

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cat and Dog Meat Trade

Around the world there is mounting concern about the expansion of an international cat and dog meat trade. While certain countries in Asia, including the Philippines and Taiwan, have banned the practice of eating cats and dogs, policing and enforcing such laws are inadequate, and in many parts of Asia, most notably, Korea, China and Vietnam, cats and dogs are still legally being used as food.

Cat and dog farms are currently springing up all over China, with industry ads boasting high rates of return, three times as profitable as poultry, and four times as profitable as raising pigs. Chinese cat and dog farmers believe that in a few short years, these farms will become as prolific as those raising sheep and cattle. In the Philippines, 500,000 cats and dogs are killed annually, most for slaughter but some also for their fur.

Cats and dogs bred for the meat trade may spend their entire lives in wire cages - usually in filthy cramped conditions. Many are packed so tightly into cages on their way to the markets that injuries are common. In addition, these animals are often killed in horrendous ways or beaten severely prior to being slaughtered, in order to stimulate the animal to produce adrenalin; many people believe that eating such meat boosts men's virility.

One restaurant owner in China said: "Cat meat is very often the least expensive dish. Our customers want something special so that's why dishes like cats' eyes and testicles are the most expensive. Basically we eat all of the cat. Another popular dish is stir-fried cats' paws with garlic."

Legislation:
Many Asian countries have relatively poor animal welfare standards and even where laws aimed to prevent such suffering do exist, enforcement and policing are inadequate.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Act No. 8485, (1998) bans the trading and eating of dog meat. However, animal welfare groups claim that widespread corruption of officials and other agencies means that the law is not enforced.

Taiwan's Animal Protection Bill (1988) bans killing dogs for food, but once again the ban is not enforced and there are purportedly around 60 dog meat restaurants throughout Taiwan.

How You Can Help:
Please send a letter urging the Philippines ambassador to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and to stop the cat and dog meat trade.

His Excellency Ambassador Albert F. Del Rosario
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
phone: (202) 467-9300 or (202) 467-9363
fax: (202) 466-6288 or (202) 467-9417
e-mail: info@philippineembassy-usa.org
website: www.philippineembassy-usa.org

You may also express your disapproval with the current treatment of cats and dogs in the Philippines by directly contacting the Philippines President through her website or by writing her a letter.

Webpage: www.op.gov.ph/contact.asp
Mailing address:
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street
San Miguel Manila NCR 1005

The United States Ambassador to Korea may also be contacted at the address below.

The Honorable Alexander Vershbow
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Turn Your Vehicle Into a Tax Deductable Donation!

Do you have an old car, truck, or RV in reasonable condition and want to part with it? If so, then please consider donating it to ACR. Vehicle Donation to Any Charity (V-DAC) offers a free, convenient service for converting that extra vehicle into a tax deductable donation that will benefit ACR. They will tow it for you, if necessary, do all the paperwork, and send you a receipt! For more information on how to donate your car, please visit www.v-dac.com. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Combined Federal Campaign

Support ACR Through the 2007 Combined Federal Campaign

Are you or a family member a federal employee? If so, we hope that you will support Alley Cat Rescue in the 2007 Combined Federal Campaign that runs through December 15.

You can help save the lives of countless stray and feral cats by designating Alley Cat Rescue as a recipient of your CFC contribution. Our CFC number is 10472.

Please help us promote the humane welfare of our feline friends and continue to advocate the practice of trap-neuter-return (TNR) in order to control the cat overpopulation.

If you have any questions, please contact us at AlleyCatRescue@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All But One of Michael Vick’s Dogs Granted Clemency

A team of behavioral experts assembled by the ASPCA filed a motion in Federal Court on Tuesday saying that only one of the remaining 49 pit bulls seized from Michael Vick should be euthanized. The motion requests that the court appoint a guardian to oversee the disposition and possible placement of the 48 remaining dogs. The judge hearing the case, Henry Hudson can either grant the motion or deny it. The behavioral experts provided several possible suggestions for the dogs: re-home them into appropriate foster homes for further observation/evaluation, rehabilitation as law enforcement dogs, or place them in sanctuaries. These dogs were judged by some in the humane community to be beyond redemption, but the facts assessed by the evaluators proved otherwise. The stereotyping of pit bulls must come to an end and perhaps this outcome will be a first step.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Barn Homes Needed!

Alley Cat Rescue is offering an opportunity for farmers to obtain “mouse patrollers” and for feral (undomesticated) cats to have a second chance at life.

The idea is simple. Each cat has been spayed or neutered and received all vaccinations necessary to live a healthy life. Individuals who participate agree to confine the cats to an area of the barn for at least the first two weeks, thus increasing the likelihood that the cats will consider this their new “home” and stay put. After that, all the cats need is a safe shelter from weather and regular food and water. The reward for the barn owner — superior and dependable rodent control!

What is a “feral” cat? A cat that was born outside and has never lived with humans, or one that was a house cat, has become lost, and has gone without human contact long enough to become unsocialized to humans. It is a cat that reverts back to living on instincts. Feral simply means “wild” or “untamed.”

Even no-kill shelters, like ACR, are unable to place feral cats in homes. They will never be a family pet or companion animal to people. These beautiful cats (which number in the thousands in PG County alone), deserve to spend their days living the best life we humans can provide for them and it doesn’t take much.

These cats are ready for a place to call “home” and will gladly work hard for their room and board. They are truly experts in their field, making it clear to all mice that they are not welcome. So, if you’re tired of the “rat race” and would like to adopt one or several barn cats (neutered and vaccinated), please call Alley Cat Rescue at 301-277-5595 or email AlleyCatRescue@gmail.com for more details. If you’re unable to adopt at the moment, you can still help by providing a monetary contribution or by donating much-needed items like food, blankets, newspaper, litter, and cat toys. Every little bit helps. Thank you! You’re participation and support is greatly appreciated!