Tuesday, April 06, 2010

San Francisco Police Dept: Cats Have to Go!

So the newest story about feral cats comes from San Francisco. The police department’s crime lab is complaining of feral cats getting into a warehouse where crime evidence is stored. They are saying the cats are compromising evidence and destroying files.

The San Francisco Chronicle says “One piece of evidence in the area of Building 606 where the cats have been living, police say, is the suit that Mayor George Moscone was wearing Nov. 27, 1978, when former Supervisor Dan White shot him to death in his City Hall office. The suit was not in a box, police say, but was tied up in a paper bundle and was not damaged by the cats.”

Firstly, it sounds to me that evidence is not being stored properly. Why is a piece of evidence, especially something as important as a suit wore by a mayor who was murder, not stored in a closed container? When an item such as this is stored “in a paper bundle,” it doesn’t seem to be very important, now does it? Apparently, the lab did not pass a routine housekeeping inspection conducted by an outside agency last November. Surprising?

Secondly, why are cats able to get into such a building? One would think that a building housing such a large quantity of priceless evidence and information would be almost impenetrable. If a cat can find his way inside, who’s to say a person couldn’t do the same? Find some hole in the wall or broken window to crawl inside? Makes one think.

Thirdly, it turns out that the Police Department itself introduced cats to the lab site located at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard several years back as rodent control. I won’t assume anything, but were the cats just dumped there and then not looked after? Was the Police Dept TNRing the cats or were they allowed to repro- duce? From the article, it sounds like they were not sterilized and now that the colony has been permitted to grow and the dept is feeling heat for damaged evidence…time to call animal control to trap and kill the cats!

Finally, The Chronicle also enlightens us by saying, “The crime lab has indeed been buffeted by a nonstop string of public embarrass- ments for nearly a month, starting with a March 9 news conference at which Gascón revealed that a longtime technician at the lab's drug-analysis section, Deborah Madden, was suspected of stealing and using cocaine evidence.” Perfect timing! Let us use the cats to take some of the attention off of other “embarrassments” being felt by the department. Newly promoted Assistant Chief Jeff Godown ordered “the mess handled” and said “the cats have to go.” Cats are being trapped and taken to the city shelter on Harrison Street.

Sadly, this is just another example of human error, where animals pay the ultimate price with their lives.

Please contact the San Francisco Police Department and urge them to work with local rescue groups to TNR the cats instead of killing them, especially since they were the ones to put the cats there. Also, explain to them that simple steps like securing the building, so animals and people cannot enter, will prevent evidence from being compromised and cats from being blamed. (Cats are just looking for shelter and (food) rodents they were put there to hunt. They don’t know what evidence is.) And allow the cats to do their job of rodent control, while rescuers work to TNR and care for the cats. There is no reason for the cats to be killed, a humane non-lethal solution exists and should be implemented by our compassionate men and woman in blue.

Contact Information:

Chief of Police - George Gascón
Assistant Chief - James Lynch
Assistant Chief in charge of crime lab - Jeff Godown

San Francisco Police Department
850 Bryant St., #525
San Francisco, CA 94103

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