Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Help Save Birds by Reducing Waste

Wildlife societies and bird conservationists continue to blame cats for the declining bird populations, but they rarely discuss the human implications (habitat destruction, development, and pollution) that cause catastrophic effects on bird populations.

Please consider these statistics from “Wrapping Paper Hangover” by Mother Jones Magazine: (http://motherjones.com)

-The global packaging market is worth $429 billion.

-Nearly 1/3 of Americans' waste is packaging. Just 43% is recycled after use.

-In 2007, Americans threw away 78.5 million tons of packaging—520 pounds per person. That's a 71% increase from 1960.

-Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans produce more than 1 million tons of additional garbage per week.

-If every family reused the wrapping from 3 gifts, it would save enough paper to cover 50,000 football fields.

-Holiday waste prompted a British mall to hire a mathematician to devise a formula for using the least gift wrap. The big secret: The wrapping paper should be a little longer than the length of the gift. Its width should be just a little more than the sum of the gift's width and depth.

-A 2008 bill written by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) would have required the EPA to find ways to reduce packaging waste by 30% in a decade. It died with no cosponsors.
According to an article published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “experts estimate that each minute, 11 football fields of forest are cleared, a truly frightening figure. With all the environmental and ecological consequences, one must question the motives of not only the Brazilian government [referring to clearing the Amazon for farming and paper products], which has tolerated such a destructive development model, but also its endorsement by the international community which has jeopardized the future of mankind.” Migrating birds depend on these rainforests year after year, and as they decline, so do the birds; not to mention, the growing sprawl of the cityscape in the US and Canada.

So, the next time you buy a product, take into consideration the amount of packaging that is used and the detrimental affects it has on the environment. And save some of these gift wrapping ideas for next year’s holidays (or use them for up-coming birthdays): instead of using single-use wrapping paper, use reusable gift bags, leftover wallpaper, newspaper, paper bags, fabric, or 100% recycled paper printed with soy-based inks. For more green gift wrapping ideas, go to http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Top-10-Green-Gift-Wrap-Ideas.html.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Bird Groups Convince Judge to Suspend Support of TNR in LA

Last year, bird groups sued the City of Los Angeles to stop its support of TNR. They claimed that under the California Environmental Quality Act, the City of LA could not provide discount spay neuter coupons to feral cat caregivers or promote TNR without an Environmental Study and Impact Report, based upon the utterly false premise that if TNR is promoted by the City, fewer cats will be killed in shelters, meaning more cats left in the environment to kill birds.

In the past couple of weeks, after a summary trial of this action, Judge Thomas McKnew, of the LA Superior Court, bought into this spurious argument and issued an injunction preventing any City support of TNR.

According to FixNation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving feral cat caregivers and implementing TNR in Los Angeles County:

"While the city isn’t stopping private citizens from doing their own TNR, this ruling will suspend the city shelters from distributing our clinic flyers to educate people about TNR or allowing shelter employees to encourage TNR as an alternative to people as they are there dropping off cats at the shelter. It also ceases any city coupon funding that our clinic can use towards homeless cats, which is critical in helping us cover the cost of spay/neuter services to make them free for you.

Without TNR and spay/neuter, the homeless cat populations in this city will explode exponentially, which means many more cats will end up being killed at our city shelters. TNR has been the “unofficial” policy for years, until just last week when this judge forced the city to suspend it. Already our city shelter euthanasia rates are through the roof due to a bad economy and home foreclosures. This will seriously exacerbate the situation."

People need to know this is happening, because we truly believe people will choose the humane approach and will work to get this ruling overturned. But we need your help to do so! Here’s what you can do to help:

1) Please take a moment to sign the petition to show your support for TNR, and please share this with your friends and neighbors so they are aware.

2) We want to hear your great stories about how TNR has helped you and your neighborhood! If you have TNR’d homeless cats and have personally witnessed the positive difference this has made in your community, please take time to send us your story. Email: info@fixnation.org

3) Finally, if you do live in Los Angeles, contact the mayor’s office, your city council members and city representatives. Make sure they clearly know that you do not support this ruling, you do not support the killing of more homeless cats and that you DO support TNR. Even if you don’t live in California, please voice your opinion and support us. Post to Facebook, post to Twitter, please help us to get the word out.

Contact Info:

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
LA, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-0600
Fax: (213) 978-0750
Email: mayor@lacity.org

Carmen A. Trutanich, City Attorney
200 N. Main Street
8th Floor
LA, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-8100
Fax: (213) 978-8312
Email: ctrutanich@lacity.org

Link to list of LA City Council Members: www.lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/index.htm

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Support ACR While Grocery Shopping!

If you shop at Food Lion, be sure to sign up for their MVP Customer card (it’s free), and every time you shop, proceeds will go to save kitties! Plus, their MVP card will allow you access to special deals throughout the store.

After receiving your MVP card, simply logon to www.lionshopandshare.com/cardno.php and choose ACR as your organization of choice. Use our Food Lion ID #19232 to do so. It’s that simple!! You only have to register once, but you can only support one group at a time. If you wish to support more than one group, at the beginning of each quarter, you may choice a different charity to support. (More info provided below) If you or someone you know wishes to signup but does not have access to a computer, you may contact ACR and provide (member’s Food Lion MVP 12-digit number, name and phone number) and we can sign up for you.

So, What is LionShop & Share?
LionShop & Share is the easiest, most convenient way to raise money for your local not-for-profit organization. Each time you shop at Food Lion and use your MVP card, a portion of your total grocery purchase will be donated to the school, church or other local not-for-profit organization you have selected. Food Lion knows it is important to be involved in the local communities in which it serves, and LionShop & Share is our way of helping you help your community grow and prosper.

How much money can ACR earn?
At the end of each quarter, Food Lion will divide the funds proportionally among the LionShop & Share organizations depending on their total accumulated sales. Checks are sent to the LionShop & Share organizations approximately six weeks after the quarter ends. In order to receive a check in any quarter, an organization must earn at least $10 during that quarter. A check will be issued once the $10 threshold has been reached the following quarters. There will be a cap of $350 per organization per quarter.

What if I would like to support more than one organization?

You may only register for one organization per quarter, but you have the option to change the organization you wish to support before each new quarter begins.

How do the quarters run?
• January 1 - March 31
• April 1 - June 30
• July 1 - September 30
• October 1 - December 31
It is not necessary to re-register every quarter once the card has been registered. You only need to re-register if you want to change the organization you are supporting. Otherwise, the registration carries from quarter to quarter.

So, logon now to start supporting ACR while you do your regular grocery shopping!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Paws 2009

(Kylie Riser, Denise "Santa" Hilton, Maggie Funkhouser)

This past weekend, ACR played Santa Claus at our adoption center at a local Petsmart store to raise money for our kitties. Each of us took turns dressing up as Santa to have our pictures taken with furry friends. Most people brought in their dogs but we did have two kitties this year--complete with little holiday outfits!Pictures were only $10 and individuals received a cute frame to display their memories. ACR received a portion of the sales and kind shoppers donated extra funds to help our kitties. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and said hello. And thank you to our furry friends for making our weekend enjoyable! (Santa being fanned...the suit was a bit hot!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Message from ACR's President

(Picture: Oreo)

A few years ago, I got an urgent call on a Sunday from a woman who worked at an emergency veterinary hospital in our county. An animal control officer had brought in a very sweet, friendly kitten with a broken leg, and when the clinic told him the kitten needed x-rays and treatment, the officer said they could only spend $100 on the kitten; the treatment would obviously cost more than that.

The woman at the desk had fallen in love with the kitten and offered to “adopt” him and pay for the treatment. She was told only a rescue group could take the kitten, so she called me for help. I called the next day and was told because I was with Alley Cat Rescue and because we support TNR for feral cats, they would not allow me to adopt.

While I was scrambling to find another group to help, I called Animal Control again, and was told the kitten had been “put to sleep”.

Well, when I told this to the woman who wanted to adopt the kitten and get him treatment, she was absolutely devastated. Between us both, we were stunned. Why would anyone put an innocent, sweet little kitten to “sleep” rather than take advantage of this woman’s kind offer, after all she worked at an animal hospital and a rescue group, who places nearly 200 unwanted cats in new homes every year, was also offering to help?

Because of this heart-breaking situation and countless others that happen everyday across the county just like this one, Alley Cat Rescue is supporting Oreo’s law. This law was borne from a similar tragedy, one about a dog named, Oreo. After recovering from being thrown off a balcony, in which she sustained two broken legs and a broken rib, (and a history of abuse), she was dubbed the “miracle dog”. The ASPCA nursed her back to health and had her abuser arrested. But unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending. The ASPCA said Oreo was showing signs of aggression (which seems understandable considering her life of abuse and her latest battle), so they put her to sleep. And they did so despite the request of a willing rescue organization who was devoted to rehabilitating her and providing long-term care. A sanctuary in New York offered to save Oreo, explaining they had experience rehabilitating aggressive dogs and offered her lifetime care, including plenty of socialization and walks if the rehabilitation was not successful. But their pleas were ignored and Oreo’s life ended as tragically as she had lived.

Oreo’s Law will make it illegal for shelters to kill an animal if a rescue organization is willing to save that animal. Why should taxpayer money be used to kill animals that rescue groups, using their own private money, are willing to save? By allowing animals to be rescued from kill-shelters by no-kill groups, more animals will be saved. Removing animals from over-crowded shelters will allow more animals MORE time to be adopted…in turn, less animals will have to die. Plus, shelters will not be able to simply deny rescue groups to save animals because they do not agree with their programs (may it be TNR, foster programs, or because they do not like a particular group). Why should an animal suffer because of politics or because of one person’s opinion of someone else?

Kill shelters are also playing on fear…fear that all no-kill shelters are hoarders. This is simply not true. Yes, there are bad people in the world, and some “rescuers” turn out to be hoarders (which is a serious mental illness), but to impede the efforts of all no-kill rescue organizations because some are bad, is ridiculous. And this coming from shelters who kill millions of animals every year? That is also why ACR supports Oreo’s Law with the amendment stating any rescue organization wanting to save an animal must have a 501(c)3 status from the IRS and to bar any organization whose board member(s) has been convicted of animal cruelty/neglect or dog fighting. Currently, there are laws in place to prevent such animal neglect and cruelty, and those found guilty should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But to say that all no-kill shelters are hoarders and deny them to save animals, while millions are being killed is irresponsible. We cannot bring Oreo back, but we can prevent this from happening to other helpless animals, by supporting laws such as this one.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vote for ACR on Facebook and Help Us Win $1 Millon!

Chase announced today that they will be giving away $5 million to small and local charities and has asked Facebook users to help as a part of their grassroots "Chase Community Giving: You Decide What Matters" contest. From today through December 15 during round one of the contest, users worldwide can vote on which eligible 501(c)3 non-profits they think should receive a portion of Chase's philanthropy funds.

The charity receiving the most votes will be awarded $1 million, the top five runners-up will receive $100,000 each and the 100 finalists, including the top winners, will be awarded $25,000 each. Additionally, the Chase Community Giving Advisory Board, featuring actress and top philanthropist Eva Longoria Parker, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, and Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something, will also be donating $1 million to the nominated charities of its choice.

So, please, if you are a Facebook user, go to Chase's profile and "become a fan;" this will allow you to vote. Then, simply choose Alley Cat Rescue in Mt. Rainier, MD and VOTE!! We are currently at 42 votes, but with your help and the help of your friends, we can win funds to help A LOT OF KITTIES!! It only take a few minutes, so please log on!

Monday, December 07, 2009

UPDATE: Towson University to Implement TNR

Back in September, we sent out an action alert stating that Towson University here in MD was going to trap and kill the cats on campus. This information came from a faculty member and at the time, the university was going to eradicate the colony; however, we are now being told that the university has signed an agreement with Towson TNR (a group of volunteers headed by faculty members) to implement a TNR program instead!

ACR has received several emails regarding this situation and a petition on the Care2 website. The petition pertaining to the Towson University cats was created by another cat rescue, NOT ACR, and the petition has since been closed due to the successful resolution. Therefore, please pass on the great news and disregard the petition.

As always, thank you for taking action in protecting cats, and when enough people ban together for a common cause, great things can happen! If you wish to contact the school and thank them for agreeing to TNR instead of killing the cats you may do so.

Contact Information:

Towson University
8000 York Road
Towson, Maryland 21252
Phone: 410-704-2000

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Yummy Holiday Treats for the Furry Friends in Your Life

With the holidays right around the corner and plans for baking goodies for friends and family on your mind, why not bake some treats for the kitties (and doggies) in your life?

Fish-tive Holiday Pretzels/Cookies (PetPlace.com)

3/4 cup canned tuna or salmon, drained well
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup whole-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium size bowl, mash canned fish well with a fork and combine with water and butter. Add flour to form a dough. Divide dough into 24 pieces, roll each piece into a rope, and shape into a pretzel. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool. Recipe makes two dozen pretzels.

Note: dough can also be rolled out and shaped with cookie cutters before placing on baking sheets.

Holiday Cheese Balls (PetPlace.com)

2 tablespoons soft margarine
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg white
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp catnip

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine margarine, cheese, catnip and egg white. Add flour to make a soft dough. Separate dough into half-inch pieces and roll into balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 35 minutes. Allow to cool. Recipe makes about 12 balls.

Cat Crackers

* 6 ounces undrained tuna
* 1 cup cornmeal
* 1 cup flour
* 1/3 cup water

(Picture: bytheairport.blogspot.com)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into treat sized pieces. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

And remember: DO NOT add any spices or herbs to cat treat recipes! Some seasonings, like onions, are poisonous to cats; plus, cats do not need high salt foods.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Give ACR T-shirts as Gifts and Help Save Cats

Each shirt is only $18 (MD residents add $1.08 sales tax) and makes great holiday gifts! So, why not show your support for ACR and for the humane control of the cat population, while marking a few people off your holiday list? Shirts come in sizes small, medium, large, and extra large.

"Spay or Neuter: Save a Life Today!"
(maroon writing on a grey shirt)

"Neuter is Cuter: Spay or Neuter Your Cat"
(navy blue writing on a light blue shirt)

Send orders to Alley Cat Rescue PO Box 585 Mt. Rainier, MD 20712.
Be sure to include which shirt(s) you are ordering, the size(s), shipping address, and remember to include a check or money order. Also, include a phone number or email address in case we need to contact you about your order.

Ways to Give on Cyber Monday

Today is "Cyber Monday," a day when online retailers release a slue of deals leading up to Christmas.

So when you get some down time at work today and you’re surfing the web for online deals, you can also follow a few simple steps and donate to a charity of your choice. Some retailers offer special ways to contribute along with purchases.

Your top bet for buying and giving is Good Shop, a site by GoodSearch.com which links to online coupons and gives up to 30% of each purchase you make to the organization of your choice. The donation money comes from commission paid by retailers to GoodSearch.com.

Animal lovers can also contribute to good through BringPetsHome.org, a site that's partnered with Amazon.com, Walmart, Macy's and others to donate a portion of online purchases to animal shelters.

Website Information:



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Barbi Twins Fight for Cats

According to a Fox News article, “Shane & Sia Barbi have come a long way since making millions of men drool over their Playboy pics. The identical twins have hung up their bunny ears and opted for a career as (Picture Source: Wikimedia.com) full-time animal activists and are right now busy working with Pawproject.org in an effort to stop the painful de-clawing of cats across the United States and stop a new legislation from coming into play.”

As I blogged previously, in January 2010, a new law entitled the “Healing Arts Bill” is due to come into effect in California; which will allow veterinarians to prohibit any interference in regards to the surgical practice of de-clawing.

The Fox article goes on to say, “The Veterinarians Association was very tricky with the 'Healing Arts Bill.' It was a very tricky and very crafty way of saying ‘don’t interfere with our cruel practices.’ It's huge money for them and it’s illegal in a lot of other countries. We are trying to reach out to mainstream America to inform them of what is really going on,” Shane told Tarts, adding that people need to call their local and state representatives to push for legislature to prevent the bill from coming into effect and stop it from happening in other states too.

A rep for the American Veterinary Association did not respond for comment.

Toxic Holiday Plants

It's that time of year again to be aware of harmful items around the house to our pets. Holly, mistletoe, Jerusalem cherry, and bittersweet are poisonous plants often included in holiday décor. When used, take care not to place them within reach of pets. Although berries and other plant parts don’t taste good, pets will often be tempted. Even if placed out of reach of pets, watch for dried berries that may fall to the floor. Berries, leaves, and stems of mistletoe are all considered toxic. The greenish white berries fall easily and some florists are now attaching artificial berries to the stems (not toxic but still should not be consumed). It is very important to quickly remove any leaves or berries that may fall on the floor.

Also, be aware of foods that are toxic to pets: chocolate, apple seeds, apricot pits, cherry (pits, seeds, wilting leaves), grapes, onions, peach pits, raisins, almond(pits/shell), horse chestnuts, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, etc. For a more complete list of toxic plants and foods to cats, please visit ACR's website (www.saveacat.org) and click on Feline Health.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

800 Cats Saved from China’s Dinner Tables

According to a Chinese news article, “more than 800 cats, locked up in rows of iron cages in a store in northern China's Tianjin municipality, would have been transported to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and slaughtered had it not been for about 30 residents who rallied for nearly 24 hours, negotiating with the trader and police, to free the animals Tuesday.”

The cat trader said he purchased the cats, who were to be sent to Guangzhou, slaughtered, and served as food in restaurants in South China. Li Na, along with dozens of other local residents, spent the night outside the "flower and birds store" to ensure the cats were not snuck out. Reports say the store is licensed to sell flowers, birds, fish and worms, but has also been trading cats for the last six months. According to the article, “Qin Xiaona, chief of the Beijing-based Capital Animal Welfare Association, who rushed to Tianjin as word spread, alleged it was obvious most of the cats were stolen. ‘The police told us that the trader bought the cats. But the trader was unable to provide receipts to prove any of the 800 purchases,’ Qin said.”

After 24 hours and the aid of police, Li and Qin finally convinced the trader to release the cats. Qin said that police have given them a room in a school to temporarily house the cats, many of which are in need of urgent medical care. Witnessed said the cats were suffocating in the tiny crates and most would not have made the trip to Guangzhou.

The article continues with Representative of the International Fund of Animal Welfare, He Yong, saying that the incident was only the "tip of an iceberg". It’s true that China still has no laws prohibiting the trading of cats, which results in large-scale theft of animals, who are reportedly eaten. "The chain of the cat trade is really long," He said.

ACR urges our supporters to contact the Ambassador of China and express your disapproval of the cat trade and how you cannot believe that China, being such an advancing country, does not have animal protection laws. Tell him the majority of China’s people consider cats to be companion animals and do not support such outdated traditions of consuming them.

Please write to China’s Ambassador located in the US:

The Honorable Zhou Wenzhong
The People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008-1799

Embassy Phone: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 588-0032
Email: chinaembassy_us@fmprc.gov.cn

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Irreconcilable Differences

The second book by the author of Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America.

You can read a review of Nathan's Redemption in ACR's newsletter (Vol. 8, Issue 3) found on our website at www.saveacat.org.

Monday, November 23, 2009

African Wildcats: "Check Your Mate" Video

Thanks to Animal Planet, this video captures the mating behaviors of African Wildcats (AWC). You also get a glimpse of two adorable AWC kittens!

Friday, November 20, 2009

UPDATE: CA Declaw Bans

As mentioned previously, the California Veterinary Medical Association successfully passed a bill, SB762, which will make it impossible to pass local declaw bans after 12/31/2009. So now, several CA cities have been rushing to pass their own ordinances—to BAN the declawing of cats.

According to The Paw Project, a nonprofit group in CA that educates the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, promotes animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and rehabilitates big cats that have been declawed, six CA cities have now passed declaw bans. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Berkeley have approved declaw bans. West Hollywood passed the nation's first declaw ban back in 2003.

The Paw Project’s website answers the question: Why does the CVMA want to protect a procedure that is widely considered to be inhumane?

“Veterinarians want to protect their ability to declaw cats despite the fact that their colleagues in most other nations consider declawing a violation of professional ethics. California vets' British brethren officially list declawing as "mutilation" and as an "unacceptable practice." The AVMA admonishes veterinarians to treat the behavioral causes of unwanted scratching before resorting to surgery, but one need only perform a quick internet search to see that declawing is actively marketed to veterinary clients. It is even offered in discounted package deals with routine spaying and neutering. This practice is known in the veterinary world as "supersizing" a spay (or neuter).” In simple terms, the CVMA wants to protect their right to profit, despite the terrible implications that such a procedure may cause.

Culver City and Burbank City are still considering the banning of feline declawing, but your continued support is needed to make sure they follow through and end this inhumane practice. Please write to city representatives supporting a ban on declawing. PLEASE e-mail the lawmakers and tell them in a short and polite message that you support a ban on declawing. If you are a city resident, please note that fact.

Contact Information:

Culver City Council e-mail addresses:
andrew.weissman@culvercity.org, christopher.armenta@culvercity.org, gary.silbiger@culvercity.org, micheal.oleary@culvercity.org, scott.malsin@culvercity.org, mark.scott@culvercity.org

Burbank City Council e-mail addresses:
gbric@ci.burbank.ca.us, areinke@ci.burbank.ca.us, dgolonski@ci.burbank.ca.us, dgordon@ci.burbank.ca.us, jtalamantes@ci.burbank.ca.us


Tuesday, 11/24 - Burbank -- Anti-declaw ordinances will be considered

Monday, 11/23 - Culver City -- Anti-declaw ordinance will be considered at City Council Meeting

ACR urges its supporters to write a letter to the CVMA explaining to them your opposition to declawing and ask them to use more of their time and resources for helping animals.

CVMA Officers:
Mark Nunez, DVM, CVMA President
14931 Oxnard Street
Van Nuys, CA 91411
Business: (818) 786-1651
Fax: (818) 786-0121
E-mail: drmarknunez@msn.com

Dean Henricks, DVM, CVMA President-Elect
7404 Auburn Blvd.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
Business: (916) 725-2700

William Grant II, DVM, CVMA Past-President
13200 Euclid Street
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Business: (714) 537-5390
Fax: (714) 537-1971
E-mail: Vets4Pets@aol.com

CVMA Staff:

Executive Director, Valerie Fenstermaker
1400 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone: 916-649-0599 - Voice Mail #32
Fax: 916-646-9156
E-mail address: vfenstermaker@cvma.net

Assistant Executive Director, Dan Segna, DVM
1400 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone: 916-649-0599 - Voice Mail #36
Fax: 916-646-9156
E-mail address: dsegna@cvma.net

Monday, November 16, 2009

ACR's "Kitty Daycare"

ACR's new office is now complete! Thanks to a group of handymen (and donations from Terrapin Pets!), the loft/attic area has been transformed into a wonderful play area for our office cats. We call it "Kitty Daycare" or "Kitty Day Spa;" as you can see from the pictures, there is plenty of rest and relaxation. However, when they decide it's playtime, it sounds like horses upstairs romping around! These kitties get their fair share of exercise too.

Our office cats are usually permanent residents and fall into one of the following categories: have behavioral issues, medical issues, very shy/scared, and/or getting older. We also use our office space to socialize shy and semi-feral cats and kittens. The kittens in the pictures fall into that category. Once they have been tamed, they will be placed into the adoption program.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help support our resident office kitties, please send a check, money order, or credit card information to: Alley Cat Rescue PO Box 585 Mt. Rainier, MD 20712.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Typical “Crazy Cat Ladies” Show

This past Friday, 20/20 aired a show that completely missed a perfect opportunity to educate the public on the cat overpopulation problem and how cat rescue really works. Instead, they did a show that has been done a million times before…they chose three random ladies and delved into their personal and emotional lives and let the public judge from there. How sad.

In talking with these ladies, 20/20 should have also interviewed individuals from no-kill rescues, so the workings of rescue efforts could be told. These news stations always feature individuals, who although they mean well, usually do not have solid experience in cat rescue. Watching the woman trapping the feral cat made most of us rescuers cringe, knowing that that is not the correct way to handle a cat in a trap; and listening to the gentleman animal control officer talk about “rescuers” trapping feral cats and taking them into their homes; this too is not a standard rescue practice. These examples and suggested circumstances are what the public have to draw their opinion from; which paints an unfair picture of cat rescuers for these reporters do not always use the most accurate of information or they portray a biased interpretation.

The reason most individuals become “crazy cat ladies” and some “crazy cat men,” especially us rescuers, is because there is a huge cat overpopulation crisis in the country and none of us can afford to buy a shelter or have the resources to start our own nonprofit organization, so we keep the cats in our homes. Most real cat rescuers would gladly reduce the number of cats in their home, if they could find good permanent homes for their cats; that is, if there were more good homes and not thousands of cats waiting for a home or waiting in a shelter to be killed. Most rescuers also end up with “too many cats” because they usually keep the "unadoptable" ones that no one wants; most people want a lap cat. Just the other day, ACR had a cat returned, a beautiful, healthy, not even a year-old cat, because she was not a "lap cat." Sorry, but to us rescuers, they are all beautiful and worthy of a good home.

Yes, there is a thin line between animal rescue and animal hoarding, but to use a “number” as a deciding factor and to stereotype anyone with more than this particular number (of cats) is irresponsible. Each situation should be looked at individually, and in cases where an individual has “too many cats,” it should be decided if the person really has good intentions (the animals are well cared for) and he/she should be put in contact with a rescue group to help place the cats in an adoption program; for individuals, who are diagnosed with mental or emotional issues (most often the cats are not taken care of – hoarding situation), then that person should receive the appropriate help they need…rescuers do not condone this type of behavior.

What 20/20 needed to do was to talk about spay/neuter programs and the importance of sterilizing companion animals, so that unwanted cats and dogs are not sitting in shelters waiting for homes, waiting for death, living in the streets, forming feral colonies. They needed to talk with experienced individuals about the benefits of trap-neuter-return (TNR) and how it works. They also needed to educate people on where to go for resources in their area to get help with spay/neuter services and TNR programs. Unfortunately, 20/20 decided to show the public how three ladies live and think who happen to own cats, and let us judge them as the stereotypical “crazy cat ladies.”

To express your opinion on 20/20’s “Crazy Cat Ladies” episode, you may contact them at:

Online email page for 20/20:

Online email page for ABC news – 20/20: http://abcnews.go.com/Site/page?id=3271346&cat=20/20

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Petaluma, CA at it AGAIN!

This story is not cat related, but in a place where cats and birds caused a large debate is now hearing another type of animal debate – frogs. Animal activists are now expressing concern for a proposed plan by wildlife conservationists to remove bullfrogs from a local sewer plant pond to protect the native California Red-legged Frog.

(Picture: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The California Red-legged Frog)

According to Petaluma360.com, “Margaret Orr, the project manager for the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, said the city’s permits from federal and state agencies require that the Red-legged Frog be protected. That means taking steps to control the competing bullfrog population, draining the ponds and using nets to scoop up egg masses and tadpoles, she told the council. ‘It’s a pretty massive infestation if it’s allowed to take off,’ Orr said of the bullfrogs. ‘What we’re doing is breaking the reproductive cycle by getting the tadpoles out.’”

City residents believe there are better ways to spend tax-payer money than to kill animals. “We do not want to pay to have animals killed,” Diane Reilly Torres wrote in an e-mail to city officials before last week’s meeting. It is estimated to cost $9,500 for two days and nights of work by biologists to control the bullfrog population at this particular site.

Again, Petaluma360.com says, “The city’s consulting biologist, Jim O’Toole of the firm ESA, said failure to remove the bullfrogs and their eggs would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act and could result in a fine or possible shutdown of the sewer plant.”

After reading an article on trapping and killing cats to save squirrels, I asked this question and I will ask it again…why are humans so obsessed with managing the natural world?

As the Rev. Professor Andrew Linzey of University of Oxford, England puts it “In the name of biodiversity, these ‘managers’ regularly kill one form of life in order to ‘allow’ another to survive…perhaps populations rise and crash as a matter of course…we seem to have forgotten…that it is a self-regulating system. [And] in the end, everything depends upon our own moral vision of ourselves in the world of nature. I believe that we should be not the master species, but the servant species. That means as little interference as possible, and only then with genuinely benign intentions. Biodiversity is a classic tale of how an idealized view of the world can result in individual harm.”

In protecting a particular species, we need to be sensitive to other species within the ecosystem that may be affected either directly or indirectly. We should not be acting as Professor Linzey put as the “master species” but rather as the “servant species.” We should not be deciding who lives and who dies; instead, we should be implementing practices that ensure the survival of all species. ACR understands that this is easier said than done, for ecosystems are highly complex and sensitive to outside disturbance, but we also believe that whether it is the cat versus bird debate or the bullfrog versus California Red-legged Frog debate, somewhere there lies great promise in finding the middle ground, where NO species needs to be sacrificed for another.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Call to Action: Save the Cancun Tigers!

There are nearly a dozen tigers and other exotic animals suffering in Cancun, Mexico today and their lives hang in the balance, as they wait for someone to help them!

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit Cancun, Mexico causing massive destruction. Before the hurricane hit, the owner of Pepé’s (previously a restaurant) fled, leaving the animals behind to fend for themselves. When he returned to his property, he found that some of the animals had escaped and some had died, while others were found battered and bruised still inside their enclosures.

Returning to Mexico with no money, Pepé did not reach out for help in caring for these animals, instead he left them in their decaying environment. He is quoting as saying he feeds them whatever he can and often the tigers feed on stray animals that accidently wander into the cages. One female tiger in particular desperately needs medical attention for an inured leg; she is seen in the video severely limping.

Since the summer of 2008, The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) located in Colorado has been working with Last Chance for Animals (LCA) in California and a group in Mexico called Gente Por La Defensa Animal (GEPDA) to rescue these desperate animals. The Mexican government revoked Pepé’s permits and officials from the Mexican Wildlife Department (PROFEPA) met with representatives of GEPDA, LCA, and TWAS to discuss a rescue mission to save the animals in Cancun. The Mexican Government had originally agreed to rescue these animals and have them transported to TWAS in the US, but changed their minds a few days prior to the scheduled rescue--leaving the animals to suffer in their filthy environment.

For more information on this situation and how you can help, please watch the following video made by The Wild Animal Sanctuary. More information can also be found on a website that has been created to save these tigers at www.savethecancuntigers.com.

Save the Cancun Tigers from Wild Animal Sanctuary on Vimeo.

ACR is urging our members to please help rescue these tigers in Cancun, Mexico. Take a moment to watch TWAS’s video regarding the story and contact Mexican and US government officials to express your concern for these beautiful creatures and their desperate need to be rescued.

Contact Information:

United States:

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania AV, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Tel: (202) 728 1600


Name: Secretario Juan Rafael Elvira Quezada
Title: Titular de la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
(Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources)
Address: Blvd. Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez 4209
Jardines en la Montaña
C.P. 14210
Tlalpan, D.F.
Email: c.secretario@semarnat.gob.mx

Name: Dr. Hernando Guerrero Cácerez
Title: Coordinador de Asesores Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
(Chief of Staff to Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources)
Address: Blvd. Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez 4209
Jardines en la Montaña
C.P. 14210
Tlalpan, D.F.
Email: hernando.guerrero@semarnat.gob.mx

Name: Martín Vargas Prieto
Title: Director General de Vida Silvestre
(Director of General Wildlife)
Email: martin.vargas@semarnat.gob.mx

Name: Patricio Patrón Laviada
Title: Procurador Federal de Protección al Ambiente
(Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection)
Address: Camino al Ajusco No. 200, Piso 8 Ala Sur
Col. Jardines en la Montaña
C.P. 14210
Tlalpan, D.F.

ACR in the News!

ACR was contacted by a local newspaper, The Gazette, about our recent donation from Terrapin Pets. To read the article please follow the link:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ACR Receives Large Donation from Terrapin Pets

One of ACR’s volunteer trappers, Christi Fries, also operates Terrapin Pets, a pet sitting business located in Beltsville, MD, and she was so kind to gather donations for local animal rescue groups.

From June until the end of October, Terrapin Pets gathered items such as blankets, beds, toys, crates, scratching posts, dishes, litter boxes, etc, for the “Presents 4 Pets” campaign sponsored by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). This annual collection drive benefited pets in shelters by providing items desperately needed to help keep the shelters operational and their animals comfortable and safe.

According to Christi, Terrapin Pets cleaned, logged, and staged 1681 items, with a Salvation Army value of $3618.00! After receiving a slide show of the donations, Alley Cat Rescue, College Park Animal Shelter, and Greenbelt Animal Shelter submitted their "wish list" so items could be distributed per their needs. Courtesy of Animal Control Officer, Abigail Lightnting, of College Park. K.C. Company, Inc, the area's Pella Window and Door Distributor, a truck and driver was donated to help Christi deliver the presents to the pets during the first week in November. On Nov. 6th, excitement was in the air when a large box truck pulled up in front of ACR. We were speechless to see how large of a donation we would be receiving!

We are grateful to have such thoughtful volunteers and thank the community for their kind donations. We will use every item donated and our kitties are already enjoying their new toys, beds, and scratch posts. Thank you to everyone who participated! For more information on Terrapin Pets, please visit www.terrapinpets.com.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Animals Take Flight

This past weekend about 30 cats and dogs were rescued from an animal shelter in South Carolina by the Animal Rescue Flights (ARF) organization. According to an NBC news story, the animals were flown to safety on Saturday. Pilots from the South flew the animals up to Frederick, MD, where they were transferred to planes from the North.

With a short pit stop in MD, pilots who volunteered their time and their planes, gave the dogs a potty break and short walks before transferring them to planes that continued north. This effort was made possible by ARF, who transfers animals from kill-shelters to no-kill shelters across the US.

Jeff Harris, a pilot from York, SC, said, "One of the dogs, Travis, was barking the first 20 minutes or so because he wanted to get the cat. Fortunately, we had him strapped in so he couldn't get to her."

Many of the animals stayed at their next stop in Montgomery, New York, while some continued on to Maine and Connecticut.

ARF was created by pilots who want to bring awareness to the need for widespread, low-cost spaying and neutering programs as a solution to America's animal over-population problem. They are a non-profit, charitable organization of pilots, volunteers, and friends who believe in the benefit of volunteering their skills and resources to help save animals in need. ARF promotes, plans, and performs the transportation of animals from overcrowded shelters where they face certain death to other parts of the country where qualified families are waiting to adopt them. There is never a fee of any kind, either to the sender or the receiver of an animal flying with ARF. For more information on ARF check out their website at www.animalrescueflights.org.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

ACR's President Talks to The Sentinel about Feral Cats and the Economy

Louise Holton, ACR's founder and president was interviewed by The Sentinel on feral cats and TNR. Holton explained how the declining economy has greatly affected cats (and dogs) and has put a growing burden on animal shelters.

Individuals are losing their homes and cannot put food on their plates, let alone continue to care for their companion animals. To make matters worse, no one wants to relinquish their pets to kill shelters and no-kill shelters are overwhelmed, so many, desperately abandon their animals hoping they will find new homes and take care of themselves. Unfortunately, many of these oust cats are not sterilized and go on to join feral colonies or form new ones by continuously breeding. Sadly, it is a never-ending cycle that is worsening due to the economy. Fortunately, organizations like ACR are doing their best to sterilize and find homes for as many cats as possible.

To read Holton's interview that appeared in Wednesday's issue, please follow this link: http://www.thesentinel.com/pgs/Search/alley-cat-rescue

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

ACR Featured on Paw Talk

ACR was recently featured on Paw Talk’s blog, a website devoted to animal rescue and rights, wildlife conservation, pet care tips, and the like. I took a few minutes to stamp out the common misconceptions surrounding stray and feral cats and set the record straight. Please take a moment to read my interview and check out what Paw Talk has to offer!

Read it here: http://www.paw-talk.net/blog/like-an-alley-cat/

Monday, November 02, 2009

California Looks at Banning Declawing

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, several cities in California are considering proposals that would ban declawing within their city limits. The article continues to say that, “The issue has gained urgency because of a pending California law that gives the state authority over medical scope-of-practice issues and prevents cities and counties from passing ordinances banning medical procedures starting Jan. 1.”

Here are public meetings being held to discuss the topic:

The city of Los Angeles' public safety committee will look at the issue Monday at its 9:30 a.m. meeting.

On Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider an ordinance that would prohibit onychectomy (declawing) and flexor tendonectomy procedures on cats except when necessary for a therapeutic purpose.

The Beverly Hills City Council is slated to discuss a ban on nontherapeutic animal declawing at its meeting Thursday night.

The Malibu City Council will consider a resolution opposing cat declawing in the city at its Nov. 9 meeting.

On Nov. 10, the Santa Monica City Council is expected to have a second reading of a measure that would ban onychectomy and tendonectomy except for the medical necessity of the cat.

ACR urges individuals to attend one or more of the above meetings to voice your opposition to declawing cats.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Victory for Petaluma Cats!

In a previous blog, ACR called on supporters to help feral cats in Petaluma, CA, and we can happily say that, thanks to all who signed petitions and attended council meetings, a compromise has been reached and TNR will be permitted!

The debate has been in regards to where feral cats should and should not be permitted. On one side of the fence are animal/cat advocates and on the other are bird enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists.

On Monday, October 12th, the City Council approved a trap-neuter-return program for the city of Petaluma, with stipulations that feral cat colonies will not be permitted in city parks and the wetlands area south of town and any approved feeding stations must have the permission of the property owner.

The county shelter will work with nonprofit cat rescue groups, such as Forgotten Felines, to manage the colonies, bringing newborn kittens in for adoption and routinely sterilizing feral cats. After cats are seen at the animal shelter, feral cats in good health can be taken back to the colony site to live out their lives, according to the new regulations.

“By managing the colony, you’re able to reduce its numbers through attrition and proper care,” said Petaluma Police Lt. Mike Cook, in an article from Petaluma360.com.

This new plan replaces a similar program enacted in 2004 that never took off, advocates say, because colony caretakers were afraid the shelter would euthanize any feral cats brought in for treatment or sterilization. City Council and the Mayor expressed that they do not wish to be “feral cat police,” but rather to find some common ground between cat advocates and bird supporters. The plan asks cat organizations to unite colony caretakers and to work with the county instead of against each other.

ACR would like to acknowledge Jennifer Kirchner of Forgotten Felines for her persistence and hard work in supporting feral cats and their right to live…happy and healthy. Check out their website: http://www.forgottenfelines.com/

cute video about spaying/neutering

Monday, September 28, 2009

Preparing Your Feral Cat Colony for Winter

With the start of autumn, ACR is receiving calls from individuals who care for feral cat colonies expressing concerns for their furry friends come winter. Those who care for alley cats by providing food/water and sterilization services always worry about the cats when it starts to get cold outside. Where will they go to find shelter? Will they be warm enough? Will they survive the winter?

During the autumn season, cats' coats thicken in anticipation of frigid temperatures. In fact, sometimes you can tell how harsh a winter will be by how early their coats develop. While cats' fur will keep them warm even in severe conditions, they do need your help to make it through the winter healthy and risk-free. There are three areas in which you can greatly ease their lot: shelter, nutrition, and water.


Two key elements are needed in any good feral cat shelter. First is the material used. Material with excellent insulation qualities, such as Styrofoam, works best. Styrofoam traps the cat's body heat, turning the cat into a little radiator. Second, the shelter's interior should have a minimal amount of air space, thus reducing the amount of heat the cat's body must generate to keep the space warm. Both elements must be present to provide effective shelter for the cats.

Covered litter boxes (some have doors) and plastic totes work perfect for shelters. Use Styrofoam to line the containers and use shredder newspaper or stray for bedding.

Microwavable heating pads and hot water bottles can also be placed in shelters to keep cats warm. Most will stay warm for up to 12 hours; these can be especially helpful to protect against night time temperatures.

(Picture Source: fixinferalfelines.org)

For easy instructions on how-to build a shelter, please visit Neighborhood Cats’ site at http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_FERAL_CAT_WINTER_SHELTER

Food and Water

Small bowls of dry or canned food can be placed inside the shelter. The cats' own heat will slow the freezing of the canned food and can even defrost it. But never put water inside the shelter — it can easily spill and cause the cat(s) to get wet. Getting wet while it's cold outside and then not having a dry place to go is one of the greatest threats to a feral cat's health during the wintertime.

Nutrition is especially important for outdoor cats during the winter because the cold and difficult weather conditions create additional stresses for their immune systems. Feeding them a higher quality brand of food, if you can manage the additional expense, will be beneficial to them.
Normally, healthy cats do not require a lot of water and can get most of their water needs from eating moist food; however, in the winter when canned food can freeze, dry food becomes feral cats’ staple. Therefore, providing fresh water is a necessity during cold weather. To keep water bowls from freezing, try these few tips.

The best solution to keeping water from freezing is to use an electrically heated water bowl. Water will evaporate relatively quickly, so the bowl needs to be filled regularly or to maximum capacity to sustain long hours. The bowl also can be used for wet food, though it can quickly dry the food out. Pet bowls that use solar power or batteries to keep water and food heated are also available. You can use microwavable heating pads/disks to place under water bowls to keep from freezing.

The type of bowl you use in general can make a difference. Use one made of thick plastic, like a Tupperware container - it's amazing how long it takes for water to freeze in one of them. The best bowls are deep, insulated and have relatively small openings compared to their volume. Black or dark colored bowls will absorb solar radiation better. Position the bowl so it's protected from the wind and, if possible, exposed to the sun. Styrofoam containers lined with plastic also make great water bowls.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Towson University Cats to be Killed

A colony of feral cats have been residing on the Towson University campus in Maryland for years, but now the university wants them gone. A small group of individuals have been caring for these cats for the past year. They have sterilized 15 of the cats and continue to trap-neuter-return them using their own money. Several cat rescue organizations have stepped up to help with the situation, but the school administration still insists the cats be killed.

Most college campuses have feral cats, due to students leaving their pets behind once they graduate and move out. Numerous campuses across the US have implemented TNR programs and have proven successful in controlling their populations. Until students stop abandoning their cats, there will continue to be cat colonies on school campuses.

Please follow the link to sign a petition to STOP the killing of the cats at Towson University. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/cats-to-be-killed-at-towson-university

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More Ramblings on the Cat vs Bird Debate

So people label us cat people as “crazy”, well after reading an article on the Audubonmagazine.org site, I think us crazy cat people could say the same thing about the bird people.
(Source: Animal Liberation Front)

In this article entitled, “Felines Fatales”, written by Ted Williams, he starts out with the usual statistic that “150 million free-ranging cats kill 500 million birds a year in the United States” as according to the American Bird Conservancy. Again, us cat people would like wildlife societies and bird conservationists to stop using exaggerated figures like “millions” and “billions” as the number of birds killed each year by cats. Because we know that you bird people also admit that it is difficult to come up with “solid” numbers to support your claims, so you use estimates. ACR understands that it is difficult to know exactly how many cats (pets and ferals) are roaming free, but again, the fact is that few scientific studies have been conducted to support either side of the debate. So, until more studies are conducted and more accurate numbers are gathered, let us take responsibility for our (human) contributions (habitat destruction, development, and pollution) to the decline of bird populations instead of blaming cats. Gary J. Patronek, VMD, Ph.D. Tufts University says this about bird predation statistics, “Whittling down guesses or extrapolations from limited observations by a factor of 10 or even 100 does not make these estimates any more credible, and the fact that they are the best available data is not sufficient to justify their use when the consequences may be extermination for cats…What I find inconsistent in an otherwise scientific debate about biodiversity is how indictment of cats has been pursued almost in spite of the evidence.”

I also enjoyed one of Ted’s examples of cats being crazed killers. He says, “On Maui, where, at last count, the public maintains 110 feral cat colonies, two cats killed 143 wedge-tailed shearwaters in one night.” One night, really, 2 cats killed 143 birds?? I would like to have seen this for myself. So, where is the evidence, was this caught on tape, because I don’t think most people would believe such a statement. Even though these birds nest on the ground, it is hard to believe that even after killing say 2 or perhaps three birds, that a cat would continue on some serial killing spree? Most of us cat people have seen a cat with a mouse or a bird, and he could spend hours entertaining himself with just that one kill; I don’t think he would run out and continue such a pattern, especially in one evening. But that’s just me.

He also mentions a study done by a wildlife ecologist: “And from observing cats he’d radio-collared and examining scats and stomach contents (the latter obtained with a mild emetic), he got an accurate estimate of between five and six birds killed per cat per year. That means that cats were annually knocking off somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 million birds just in rural Wisconsin.” First, I would like to know the number of cats he surveyed? Because if he only surveyed a couple of cats out of the guesstimated 1.4 million free-roaming cats in rural Wisonsin, how accurate is that? To get an accurate sample, one would have to survey A LOT of cats’ stomachs. Secondly, cats are more scavengers than hunters. Bird people even give the number of birds that die from flying into windows and those killed by pesticides…how would one determine if the cat killed the bird and ate or if the bird remnants in a cat’s stomach was already dead before the cat consumed it? Roger Tabor, a British biologist, says, “Although cats are superb hunters, it is their scavenging ability that allows them to survive as feral-living animals…”

Again, us cat people do not deny that cats are predators, but to use exaggerated figures to say their predation is “wreaking havoc on our wildlife” is irresponsible and to place blame on cats, when so far, there is no evidence to support such a claim, is far from scientific.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

San Nicolas Island Cats Granted a Reprieve

A few months ago, I blogged about the feral cats living on San Nicolas island off the coast of California; well, I’m happy to report the killing has ceased, and the Navy (there is a Navy base on the island) is working with the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and a local cat sanctuary to relocate a number of the cats!

(San Nicolas cat (c)HSUS)

For centuries, people took cats to islands worldwide as pets, to control other introduced species, or by accident. Within the last decade, nearly 50 such islands have been the site of feral cat eradication campaigns, with mixed results. On only one—San Nicolas—have cats been spared death by poisoning, trapping, hunting or the deliberate introduction of disease. According to the HSUS website, “this is because The HSUS, the U.S. Navy, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and several other state and federal agencies involved with oversight for the Montrose Settlements Restoration Programs on the islands agreed to an alternative approach. To ensure both protection for cats and protection for native species on the island, including the unique Channel Island fox and the federally threatened island night lizard, The HSUS has agreed to accept cats from San Nicolas and place them in a permanent sanctuary at [their] Ramona facility.”

So far, 16 feral cats have been transported from San Nicolas island to the sanctuary. Since being relocated, two females have given birth, and the kittens will be socialized before being placed into adoptive homes.

Thank you, HSUS and ACR members who contacted government officials, for helping these cats and for hopefully setting precedent that alternatives to killing do exist. In the end, it is humans who create such situations, the animals (regardless of species) do not ask to be relocated to islands (or where ever), so the least we can do is show them some compassion in managing their populations.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Event Announcement: ASPCA TNR Spectacular!

The ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics invite feral cat colony caretakers to attend:

TNR Spectacular!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street (corner of 48th Avenue), Queens

7:30-8:00 a.m.: Arrival with cats for those bringing cats for spay/neuter
8:00 am.: Intake of cats on the clinics
=2 0 9:00 am.: Arrival for those participating but not bringing cats
9:00-10:00 a.m.: Booths open for info and Q&A; trap demonstrations
10:00-11:05 a.m.: Workshop: "Veterinary Q&A: A Day on the Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics"
11:20 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Workshop: "Post-operative Care for Feral Cats"
12:15-1:00 p.m.: Workshop: "Working Together to Help Hoarders in Your Community"
1:00-2:00 p.m.: Booths open for info and Q&A; trap demonstrations
2:00-3:00 p.m.: Cat discharge from the clinics

A fleet of 5 ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics will be on-site in Queens to provide free spay/neuter surgeries for feral cats. There will also be a series of workshops presented on topics including the inner workings of the ASPCA's Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic, post-operative care of feral cats, and how to help p eople who hoard cats in your community. TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) organizations will have booths where they will provide information on their work and feral cat management issues, techniques, events, and resources.

There is no fee to attend this event or to have feral cats spayed or neutered, but advance appointments are required for spay/neuter. To book your spay/neuter appointment(s), call 877-SPAY-NYC (877-772-9692).

If you need transportation for your cats to and from the Mobile Clinics, contact the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals at transport@AnimalAllianceNYC.org. Please put "TNR Spectacular Transport Request July 25" in the subject line of your e-mail and include your full name, phone number, pick-up address (including zip code), and the number of cats you need transported. One caretaker may ride with his/her cats; if you have your own transportation, please use it to save room for cats in the van.

More Information
Contact the ASPCA at 877-SPAY-NYC (877-772-9692), or visit the NYC Feral Cat Initiative web site.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Jersey and TNR

Lately, NJ has been in the news quite a bit regarding feral cats and TNR. For the most part, the state seems to be leading the way in implementing TNR programs; however, Mt. Olive (whom I recently blogged about) is still practicing trap and kill.

Helping ferals in NJ is the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance via their Project TNR. According to the group’s website, their project is “endorsed by the NJ Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Animal Welfare, the National Animal Control Association & the Humane Society of the United States.” The group’s mission is to make New Jersey a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) friendly state, by working with caregivers and municipalities.

Point Pleasant Beach has also adopted a TNR approach to their feral cat situation. In a recent news article, Karen Mills, borough board of health secretary, said this, “We wouldn't really know the number of cats being picked up until after they were euthanized. One time we received a bill for 37 cats euthanized and it hit us. It was just very upsetting.” So last year, Councilwoman Kristine Tooker began to form an animal welfare committee to examine ways of controlling the population in a humane way. “I just thought something needs to change because what everyone is doing (trap and kill) isn't working,” Tooker said. Tooker researched TNR and presented it to the committee, and within a few months an ordinance was passed to implement TNR. Point Pleasant Beach is now feral cat friendly.

Just to name a few more feral friendly groups and cities in NJ: Burlington County Feral Cat Initiative, the City of Cape May, Atlantic City Boardwalk, Neighborhood Feral Cat Initiative in Hudson County, Animal Welfare Federation of NJ. For more organizations that support feral cats and TNR programs in NJ, check out our CAT Directory: http://www.saveacat.org/catlinks.html#NJ.

Unfortunately, Mt. Olive’s officials do not feel the same about TNR as many of their fellow NJ officials. A group of Mt. Olive residents has been trying to persuade officials to adopt a TNR program as a way of managing the town’s feral and stray cat population for the past several months. However, thus far they have been unsuccessful and the town is currently practicing trap and kill.

In a recent news article, a group of township residents will be bringing its plea to prevent the euthanization of feral cats to voters on the November election ballot if the council continues to reject their proposal. Last year, Mount Olive impounded 181 cats, 141 of which were euthanized at a cost of $18,000 to the township. “TNR is doing a public service with private donations to save the town money,” said Michelle Lerner, founder of the project. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Mt. Olive decides to take the humane approach to managing feral and stray cats or if they decide to continue to trap and kill.

ACR the Charity of the Month

Alley Cat Rescue has been named the charity of the month by a cat blogger. The Adventures of the Casbah Kitten and Friends is a blog managed by two kitties, Jelly Bean and "the Momma". These two kitties started a cat toy business (The Casbah Kitten) in 2007. Since that first toy, the cats have inspired a line of eco-friendly toys that have sold around the world.

We thank The Casbah Kitten for naming us the charity of the month and for blogging about kitties. We encourage our members to stop by and check out their blog.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenge

The Animal Rescue Site has partnered with Petfinder.com to grant up to $100,000 in support and assistance to select domestic and international animal rescue and welfare organizations.

Voting began on April 13th, 2009, and ends at midnight (PST) on July 26th, 2009. Voters are limited to one (1) vote per person per day. So, please help us spread the word to get ACR more votes!!

The grand prize of $20,000 will go to the group with the most overall votes and the second place winner will receive $5,000. There are many awards to be granted, including weekly prizes; $1,000 will be awarded each week for the organization with the most votes during that week. So, please stop by The Animal Rescue Site once a day to place a quick vote for ACR. It only takes a minute and the click on a button!!

Cut and paste the link below into your web browser and you will see Alley Cat Rescue with a “VOTE” button beside it. Simply click on the button and then answer one question to confirm, and that’s all there is to it. (If for some reason you do not see ACR when following the link provide, you can search for us. Type in “Alley” in the name queue, “MD” in the state queue, and click the “search” button. ACR should pop up, so you can vote.

Thanks again for everyone’s support!!


Monday, July 06, 2009

Serial Cat Killer of Miami-Dade Florida

(police mug shot released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office)

During the month of May, residents of the Miami-Dade area were warned to keep their pets indoors and to report any suspicious activity, due to a cat murderer roaming the streets. Residents woke to find their beloved cats’ lifeless bodies lying mutilated on their front porches and lawns. The first cat victim was found at the end of April, and it was on May 19th, when the initial report was filed with the Miami-Dade police that eight cats from the Cutler Bay area were missing.

On June 15th, Tyler Weinman, 18, was formally charged in Miami-Dade court with 19 counts of felony animal cruelty, 19 counts of improperly disposing of an animal body, and four counts of burglary. He has pleaded "not guilty" and is currently free on bond, though he is under house arrest.

According to police reports, Weinman was spotted on different accounts (from neighbor witnesses) in the vicinity of the murders and a tracking device placed on Weinman’s car by police also revealed he was parked in close proximity to individual’s whose cats later were found dead. Not to mention, during the first interview with Weinman, the teen spoke of cat scratches on his neck and back (allegedly from his mother’s cat), and he spoke of his high school’s dissection program, where he gave police details on how to dissect a cat.

After consulting a psychologist about animal cruelty, Detective Dominick Columbro states in the affidavit that he believes that Weinman fit the profile of the killer. And after reading the affidavit myself, I would agree; whoever is responsible for these heinous crimes definitely fits the profile of a killer (and I don’t say that just because I am a cat lover, but because of the details in which each cat was killed; see link below only if you have a strong stomach). Weinman has a wrap sheet of two prior offenses as a juvenile, and “experts say cruelty toward cats, as opposed to other animals, can fulfill a deeper need for control. Cats, unlike dogs, can be more difficult to control. They don't come when they're called and are often more independent, said Dr. Randall Lockwood of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and author of "Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty” to The Huffington Post. Behavioral profiling long ago identified three key, aberrant behaviors in youth that may predict a serial killer: bedwetting, arson, and cruelty to animals. Studies have shown that kids who display violent acts towards animals have the potential to inflict violence on humans. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz all delighted in torturing animals before moving on to human prey.

If Tyler Weinman does turn out to be the serial cat killer of Florida, may justice be served and may the courts not sentence him lightly. With such links between animal cruelty and violence towards humans, it would be foolish to allow such a crime to go unpunished. I would hate for him to receive a slap-on-the-wrist and then later be charged with a more violent crime, especially one committed on a human. If convicted, Weinman could face more than a decade behind bars. I guess we’ll see…

To view the entire affidavit, visit the below link. Please note the document is graphic in nature.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The ScareCrow in Action

I previously blogged about humane cat deterrents and I recently saw a video on YouTube demonstrating how the ScareCrow sprinkler works, so I wanted to revisit the topic.

From experience, the number one complaint individuals have about cats is that they use yards, flowerbeds, and gardens as their own personal litter boxes. As soon as you turn over the dirt and plant new flowers or vegetables, you will see a cat surveying the soil to find a good spot to leave you a present. It's like cats have radar for fresh soil!

But do NOT be discouraged, thanks to the ScareCrow, you can keep your yard feces and cat free! (All the while, being humane to animals!)

How It Works

The Scarecrow senses animals the same way security lights detect people, by movement and heat. When an animal is detected, a valve opens instantly releasing a three-second pulsating spray of water. The combination of the sudden noise, movement, and water frightens animals away. This startling, yet harmless action is a remarkably effective deterrent.

Works on Deer, Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Raccoons, Squirrels, and Birds! The ScareCrow will keep plants safe from becoming deer and rabbit meals too.

Please watch the video below to see the ScareCrow in action!

For more information and to purchase one please visit: http://www.greentouchirrigation.com/scarecrow.html

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres Fires Back at Gov. Schwarznegger

So just the other day I blogged about Gov. Schwarznegger's plan to reduce the number of days a shelter animal in CA has before being killed. Well, ACR wasn’t the only ones to disapprove of his proposal; Ellen DeGeneres has started a Twitter campaign to protest the Governor’s plan.

According to Franny's Cats Blog on About.com, it took less that a day to reply to Ellen with a Tweet of his own:

Thank you for sharing your concerns with Governor Schwarzenegger about the proposal to lift restrictions on hold times at animal shelters. The Governor values your input during these challenging economic times.

As you know, we are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. We now face a budget shortfall that has grown to $24.3 billion. The Governor has proposed cuts that he would have never proposed except in a worst-case scenario, including eliminating General Fund support for programs like Healthy Families, CalWORKs, Cal Grants and State Parks. This was not an easy decision for the Governor. As a dog owner himself, he has always supported animal welfare and worked to ensure the humane treatment of animals.

Currently, the state requires all shelters to hold stray animals for four or six days and reimburses them for the associated costs. To address our budget crisis, the Governor has proposed to suspend some Non-Proposition 98 mandates, including the reimbursement funds for these shelters. To help local shelters deal with the challenges of this difficult budget situation, the Governor has also proposed that the state no longer require the four or six day hold time. Shelters still have the flexibility to keep the animals for more days, but the Governor's proposal avoids placing an unnecessary burden on local communities.

As the Governor works with his partners in the Legislature to find solutions to these problems, know that he will keep your thoughts in mind. Working together, he believes we can weather this storm and start the slow but steady march back toward prosperity.


Jenna Anderson
Office of Constituent Affairs

With that said, it would be wonderful, Governor, for shelters to increase the number of holding days, but that will NOT happen. Consequently, the opposite will happen. With shelters more crowded than ever and state funding being cut, this plan will inevitably lead many shelters to increase the euthanasia rate. Arnold's proposal might help balance his budget, but it will most definitely NOT help the animals.

Again, please tell Gov. Schwarzenegger NOT to balance his budget at the expense of helpless animals.

How You Can Help:

• Contact Governor Schwarznegger
o Email: http://gov.ca.gov/interact#email
o Phone: 916-445-2841
o Fax: 916-558-3160
• Locate and Contact Your State Legislators
o http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

Thursday, June 11, 2009

International Day of Action for Dogs and Cats in Korea

Picture: Courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica's Advocacy for Animals

In Defense of Animals (IDA) will again be co-sponsoring this worldwide event to stop the terrible suffering these animals endure. IDA continues to work with the South Korean animal protection organization Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) to end the brutal slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

According to IDA’s website, two million South Korean dogs are electrocuted, strangled, or bludgeoned to death each year. They are killed in the cruelest ways imaginable, because some Koreans believe the adrenaline that rushes through the system will improve virility. Eyewitnesses have reported dogs being torn apart while still alive; their tormentors saying that the more prolonged the torment of death, the better the taste.

On July 14, IDA intends to have activists posted at the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. and as many Korean Consulates and Embassies around the world as possible. There are Korean Consulates in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Houston, Honolulu, and Newton, Massachusetts. If you would like to help coordinate a demonstration in any of these cities, please contact Hope@idausa.org or (415) 448-0048 ex. 211. They will provide you with all the materials you need such as posters and brochures to have a successful and effective protest.

Demonstrations already scheduled for July 14:

San Francisco, California:
Demonstration at the Korean Consulate
3500 Clay St., San Francisco, CA.
11 a.m. - 12 noon
signs and leaflets provided
contact Hope@idausa.org or (415) 448-0043 ex. 211

Los Angeles, California:
Demonstration at the Korean Consulate
3243 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
11 a.m. - 12 noon
signs and leaflets provided
contact Bill@idausa.org or (310) 301-7730

Washington, DC:
Demonstration at the Korean Consulate
2320 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, D.C.
11 a.m. - 12 noon
signs and leaflets provided
contact Annie@idausa.org or (757) 374-8112

Seattle, Washington:
Korean Embassy
2033 Sixth Ave. #1125, Seattle, Washington, 98121
11 a.m. - 12 noon
contact: Sandy Clinton: numptyland@yahoo.com or (206) 618-4930

What ELSE You Can Do:

Send letters, fax, e-mail to:
Ambassador Duk-soo Han
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2320 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 939-5600
Fax: (202) 797-0595
E-mail: korinfo@koreaemb.org
ACR has also been in contact with the International Aid for Korean Animals (IAKA), a non-profit organization founded by Kyenan Kum in 1997 to promote animal protection and humane education in Korea. ACR has financially assisted IAKA with their campaigning to stop the cruelty of the dog and cat meat industry in Korea. IAKA is also working to translate our feral cat handbook into Korean for their new Adoption and Education Center in Seoul (South Korea’s capital). The picture above is of a mother cat and her kittens for sale in a Korean market; such animals are touted as the source of medicinal tonics and fraudulent “cures” for ailments such as rheumatism and arthritis. According to IAKA, “dramatic distortions of Korean culture [have promoted] all kinds of new animal products in Korea based on unchecked exploitation of Korea’s animals and environment.”

For more information on IDA and their Korea Campaign, please visit:

For more information on IAKA, please visit: http://www.koreananimals.org/index.htm

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mt. Olive, NJ Cats in the News Again

At the beginning of May, the Mt. Olive Township Board of Health voted to trap and kill stray and feral cats in the area, despite several residents’ requests to implement a TNR program. Now, this past Tuesday night, the township council agreed to try to schedule the health officer and animal control officer to be present at its next meeting to continue the discussion on the program to TNR feral cats.

According to an article in The Star-Ledger, "'trap, neuter, return' would improve Mount Olive," Michelle Lerner said, who proposed TNR to the council. "This has really developed into a movement of residents." Tom DeVoe, a township resident who teaches at the middle school, added, "I ask you to consider this program because it is very important. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

ACR has received letters from a few Mt. Olive residents (and ACR members), wanting to make us aware of the situation and to express their support of TNR. Again, we also sent a letter to the township council members encouraging them to implement a TNR program, explaining its many benefits, but we received no response. For the cats’ sake, we hope Mt. Olive makes the humane decision to TNR instead of killing.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Pet Poison Helpline

Thanks to Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC for the following information:

I wanted to make you aware of an important resource out there also - Pet Poison Helpline is an additional Animal Poison Control Center, and it's one of the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA's new $60/case) controls out there nowadays. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federal- or state-funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7.

The Pet Poison Helpline number is 1-800-213-6680.
And the website is www.petpoisonhelpline.com.

Dr. Justine Lee is the Associate Director of Veterinary Services for the Pet Poison Helpline.
Her website is www.drjustinelee.com.