No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance File Emergency Motion in Los Angeles Superior Court to Intervene in Lawsuit Against City Brought by Urban Wildlands and other Groups.
February 18, 2010. Los Angeles, CA.
The No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance filed an emergency motion in Los Angeles Superior Court today asking the court to allow them to intervene as Defendants in the case of Urban Wildlands Group vs. City of Los Angeles (LASC BS115483).
Urban Wildlands and other groups sued the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Animal Services for attempting to work with community groups and nonprofit organizations whose missions are focused on protection of free-roaming (homeless, stray, and unsocialized “feral”) cats. These programs help reduce the population of free-roaming cats and prevent impounds in the City’s seven animal shelters where thousands of healthy cats and kittens are killed annually.
The plaintiffs claim that stray cats harm the ecosystem by preying on birds. In December, the Superior Court ordered the City of Los Angeles to cease all work with community groups that work to prevent shelter killing of free-roaming cats through the sterilization method known as Trap-Neuter-Return (“TNR”). As a result of the ruling, the City can no longer inform the public about TNR services available in the community. The ruling will result in thousands of cats being needlessly killed at taxpayer expense in City shelters, while doing virtually nothing to stem any perceived loss of bird life.
If the motion to intervene is granted, both No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance —whose missions include saving the lives of free roaming and feral cats in Los Angeles and other communities—will be able to seek modification and appeal of the court’s order.
“This ruling does nothing to save birds, while threatening to needlessly kill cats at taxpayer expense. We cannot allow this ruling to force the City to turn back the clock on shelter policies to the dark days of ‘catch and kill’ being the official policy,” said Christi Metropole, Executive Director of Stray Cat Alliance. “At the same time, the ruling does not affect the real cause for bird species decline, namely human encroachment, human activities, human pollution and use of toxic pesticides.”
According to Nathan J. Winograd, Director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center, “the court’s broad ruling failed to consider several points of fact and law that we are prepared to present as defendants in the action. We believe that had the court considered these points, it would not have issued this misguided ruling. In fact, parts of the ruling conflict with state law and oversteps the court’s authority over the legislative branch of government.”
Winograd also said that, “Blaming animals who cannot defend themselves gives the environmental groups the appearance of working to find a solution to bird decline, but their opposition to TNR is counterproductive to the cause they claim to represent. An end to information about TNR will cause increases in feral cat populations because when the only option is killing, people will not ask for assistance with these cats. A recent national study found that over 80% of people surveyed consider it more ethical to leave a cat out on the street than to turn the cat over to animal control to be killed. And for those feral cats who do end up at the shelter, their killing is a tragic certainty.”
"We will not allow them (cats) to get killed," said Metropole.
The No Kill Advocacy Center is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters. Stray Cat Alliance is dedicated to ending the killing of cats in and around Los Angeles. The No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance are represented by the national law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Los Angeles.