According to an article in The Windsor Star, a Canadian newspaper, a local animal shelter has “banned” feral cats. The change has come after the new Provincial Animal Welfare Law was recently passed. The new law is tougher on animal cruelty and also requires shelters to keep cats for three days before euthanizing them. With shelter space already limited humane society executive director Melanie Coulter said, “We've had to make tough choices, and we have absolutely no option.”
The article goes on to say that about 500 wild cats were taken to the shelter last year and all were promptly put down. The shelter will continue to accept stray cats, but again The Windsor Star says, “even stray cats…have a limited shelf life at the local shelter.” The Humane Society received about 5,900 cats last year (strays, wild, and surrendered), and Coulter said “a disturbingly large number” of those, about 4,600, were eventually put down after new homes could not be found. The humane society says the large-scale cull is unavoidable.
Here’s a thought…why not implement a TNR program?! Ferals would not even go to shelters (unless they are helping with sterilization), and sterilizing free-roaming cats would prevent unwanted litters. But to say there is “absolutely no option” is absurd. The key to decreasing the number of animals ending up in shelters is to stop the cycle…the breeding cycle. The current process of taking in animals and killing them is not solving the problem; this ineffective and costly cycle must be broken if the pet overpopulation crisis is ever to make any head way.
Lastly, for the newspaper’s reporter, Doug Schmidt to equate animals to food items, suggesting they have an expiration date or “shelf life” trivializes the fact that these are living creatures not items that can simply be tossed in the trash when they “expire”. And for the shelter’s director to compare feral cats to raccoons and opossums, reiterates the ignorance individuals display when controlling “pest” animals. We do not round up all the raccoons and opossums to euthanize them, nor should we. The time is NOW for us to take responsibility…humanely.