Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Feds Trapping and Killing Cats in Georgia


We were recently contacted by one of our members regarding an urgent situation in Forsyth County, GA. We’ve also read several news articles about the situation and we are asking our members for your help. As I write this, cats are being trapped and killed by the Army Corps of Engineers in Lake Lanier's West Bank Park.

The Army Corp posted signs last week warning people not to feed the cats, because they were going to be removed. The Army Corps says the cats are a danger to wildlife and visitors of the park.

Our member has been working with the local SPCA and Humane Society since 2005 on TNRing the cats in the park. She has removed countless kittens and adoptable cats and sterilized and vaccinated numerous others. She told me that the Army Corps agreed to meet with her and the rescue organizations to discuss the situation and possible solutions. They told her no cats would be trapped until they met; unfortunately, the Army Corps did not maintain their end of the deal. Traps were set days before the meeting and thus far, they have been unwilling to listen to rescue organizations. So far about seven cats have been trapped.

ACR has tried contacting the Army Corps office via phone, but we have been unsuccessful. So, we have emailed urging them to reconsider their position and to sit down with the SPCA and Humane Society to work out an agreement. It does not make sense for them to be trapping and killing these cats when most of them have already been TNRed and are being cared for. Please join us in this fight to save the cats at Lake Lanier in Georgia. Contact the Army Corps of Engineers and explain to them that eradication attempts do not work and there is no need to remove the cats, especially when TNR has so many benefits and individuals have already been improving the situation.

Contact Information:

Lake Sidney Lanier
Corps of Engineers
Attn: Mr. Tim Rainy
PO Box 567
Buford, GA 30515

Phone: 770-945-9531

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yesterday's News Press Release


To celebrate Earth Day and the millions of cat owners across the country who make good green choices for their cats, home and environment all year-round, Yesterday’s News® brand cat litter is announcing the Do-Gooder Design Challenge.  The eco-friendly cat litter made with recycled paper is challenging four leading green designers to “Do Good” by transforming yesterday’s news – recycled newspaper – into fashion-forward designs to benefit green charities.

As part of the Do-Gooder Design Challenge, cat owners are invited to enter a national contest to create the “it” handbag of the season inspired by the new Yesterday’s News recyclable packaging.  Fashion-savvy, feline-loving consumers can create a virtual handbag using a first-of-its-kind online application that allows them to customize their design with different patterns, colors, shapes and “bling” accents.  Three lucky Grand Prize winners will have their designs turned into actual handbags by a leading eco-friendly handbag designer.

The eco-friendly newspaper fashions created by the Do-Gooder Designers http://www.dogooderchallenge.com/GreenCatwalk/Designers.aspx and the three winning handbag designs will be unveiled at the first-ever Yesterday’s News Green Catwalk and Workshop event in New York City in September 2010.  Following the event, all of the fashions will be auctioned off to benefit the designers’ green charities of choice. 

The Yesterday’s News Do-Gooder Design Challenge designers include:
·         Celeste and Anthony Lilore, RESTORE Clothing
·         Lara Miller
·         Samantha Pleet
·         Bahar Shahpar
·         Elias Abadi, president and head designer of Nahui Ollin handbags

“As a cat owner and green living expert, I am a strong believer in the benefits of making good, green choices every day for our cats, home and environment to make our world a better place,” said Renee Loux, green living author, TV personality and spokesperson for the Yesterday’s News® Do-Gooder Design Challenge.  “As the annual Earth Day celebration begins, I am joining forces with Yesterday’s News, a wonderful eco-friendly product that takes items that have the potential to end up in the waste stream and turns them into a cat litter, for this fun Design Challenge to help educate millions of cat owners that going green is in fashion all year-round.”


Do-Gooder Handbag Design Contest

While the Do-Gooder Designers are hard at work creating their newspaper fashions, cat owners can enter the Yesterday’s News Handbag Design Contest to create the “it” handbag of the season using assets from the cat litter brand’s new recyclable packaging.  The custom-built online application allows consumers to select a handbag style from 16 different options and then create their own design by choosing different colors, patterns, sizes, shapes and “bling” embellishments. In addition to creating their handbag design, contest entrants must write a short essay (100 words or less) describing how they “do good” every day for their cat, home or environment.


Three lucky Grand Prize Winners will have their designs turned into actual handbags by leading eco-friendly handbag designer, Elias Abadi, president and head designer of Nahui Ollin, Candy Wrapper Handbags. The contest entry period runs from now through May 14, 2010.  For more information on how to enter, visit www.DoGooderChallenge.com

The winning handbag designs and the Do-Gooder Designers’ newspaper fashions will be unveiled at the Yesterday’s News Green Catwalk and Workshop event in New York City in September, 2010, after which they will be auctioned off to benefit the designers’ green charities of choice.  Models will wear the fashion-forward newspaper designs and carry the “it” accessories of the season, as they strut down the catwalk. At the Green Workshop, attendees will learn green living tips for their cat, home and environment from a number of eco-friendly experts, including Renee Loux and the five designers.  The event will be free and open to the public.

Yesterday’s News is a cat litter made from recycled materials including paper and sawdust. On average, 44 million pounds of paper is recycled into Yesterday’s News each year. The eco-friendly cat litter introduced a new recyclable bag – one of the first in the pet care industry – in January 2010. For more information on the Yesterday’s News, the Do Gooder Design Challenge and Handbag Design Contest, go to www.DoGooderChallenge.com.

Cats and Groundhogs

So this morning I went to feed one of my pet sitting clients’ cats. They have three indoor cats, and they also take care (Photo: 2 cats on the left & groundhog on the right) of a few semi-feral cats that hang out in their backyard. After putting out the food, I stood inside the door to watch them and to my surprise, a groundhog came to share breakfast with them. He came right up on the back porch and started eating the dry food beside the cats. I wasn’t sure how the cats were going to react or what the groundhog was going to do, but neither did anything. They just smelled each other and kept eating.

I was glad to see there was no “scrapping,” because I didn’t feel like breaking up a groundhog – cat fight first thing in the morning. Groundhogs have sharp teeth and this guy weighed two times as much as any of the cats, so if anything, I would be trying to trap an injured kitty. That groundhog can hold his own.

Although I enjoyed watching this, I am going to suggest to my clients they start feeding the cats up on the table, off of the ground, to prevent future encounters with Mr. Groundhog. Besides feeding birds (and feral cats, which are in their own category), it is not recommended to feed wildlife. Only enough food should be provided to feed the cats, and then all trash should be removed to ensure it does not attract wildlife. It is safer for the cats and for other animal species, if they are not drawn to the same feeding area. It is also safer for the humans who take care of the cats; they should not get too close to wild animals either.

This is a great example of wild animals living side by side in harmony. Yes, cats are predators, but they are rodent specialists and are more scavengers than hunters. When provided regular meals, they hunt less and are healthier. There are countless examples like this one where cats have been observed sharing meals with squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and even birds. Cats are not the cause for the decline in bird populations or any other species, man is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nonprofits Feeling the Financial Strain

According to The NonProfit Times, “America’s nonprofits expect that 2010 will be financially more difficult or as difficult as 2009, according to a survey, the results of which were released by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). And, some of them don’t have enough cash on hand to get through a dry patch of more than 100 days.

The survey of more than 1,300 nonprofit leaders in markets nationwide also found strong evidence of the dramatic and creative steps that organizations are taking to maintain and even expand service delivery to meet increased demand during this time of continued economic uncertainty."
Key findings include:
  • The majority (61%) has less than three months of cash available; 12% have none.
  • Nearly 90% expect 2010 to be as difficult or more difficult than 2009; only 12% expect 2010 to be financially easier for their organizations.
  • 80% of nonprofits anticipate an increase in demand for services in 2010; less than half (49%) expect to be able to fully meet this demand level.
  • Only 18% of organizations expect to end 2010 above break-even; 35% of organizations ended 2009 with an operating surplus.

Unfortunately, like so many nonprofit organizations, these findings also hold true for ACR. The recent poor economy has put a strain on charitable donations, as families need to reserve money for everyday necessities; in turn, our programs are feeling the pinch. Cut backs must be made and the number of cats we wish to help is being affected. Even more unfortunate, is the number two and number three findings listed above. Until the economy sees a significant recovery, organizations are not going to feel the financial benefits, and their situations are more likely to get worse before they get better. 

Every year, ACR sees an increase in demand for our programs and services; every year we receive more requests from people regarding cats who need our help. Right now, we are stuck in a catch-22 situation, with families losing their homes and countless cats and dogs being relinquished or abandoned. Now is the time people and cats need us most!     

So, we keep hanging in there, because we strongly believe in our cause and because the cats need us. It is more than money that drives most organizations in the nonprofit sector….it is heart; it is compassion; it is a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Just as Clara Miller, president and CEO Nonprofit Finance Fund says, “Nonprofits aren’t rolling over in the face of economic strain. The sector is filled with determined individuals and inspiring organizations focused on the most critical issues we face as a society. While the ‘coping mechanisms’ we’re seeing are encouraging, we also need to make fundamental changes to the way the sector is financed.” It would be a huge relief to see such a “fundamental change in nonprofit finances,” but until then we will continue to do it the old fashioned way…with a lot of elbow grease and from support of compassionate individuals that see the importance in our work. Thank you to all of our compassionate supporters; we couldn't do it without you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cat Tales and Other Stories

Louise Holton is ACR's founder and Alley Cat Allies (ACA) co-founder. She has been rescuing cats and practicing TNR for most of her life. She started helping cats while living in her home country of South Africa. She helped the Johannesburg SPCA TNR feral cats. Then, when she moved to the US in the mid-80s, she brought her expertise of TNR and feral cats with her. She was appalled to learn that animal shelters in the US were practicing trap and kill and did not offer any assistance to feral cats. This drove Louise to create ACA and then ACR, the first two organiza- tions in the US dedicated to helping feral cats and advocating for TNR.

Louise recently started her own blog, where she shares personal stories of her experiences working with feral cats and practicing TNR. Many posts are cat-related, however, Louise is a very passionate woman and does a great deal to help ALL animals, so some posts are dedicated to assisting other animals. If you are intersted in some honest and genuine reading, please check out her blog, Cat Tales

Towson's Tiny Tigers

You may recall a previous blog regarding feral cats living on Maryland's Towson University campus. At first, administrators wanted to trap and kill the cats, but thanks to compassionate students, professors, and individuals in the community, the school decided to implement a TNR program. Here is an update.

(Logo: www.tiger.towson.edu)
Thanks to an email from a Towson student, we are told that this semester a student-based club called Towson’s Tiny Tigers has been established. The club is working to raise awareness of the feral cat population on campus, as well as raise funds to provide basic care for the cats. Right now, most of their donations are from staff members, who are dedicated to keeping the feral cat community safe and healthy, so funds are limited. Towson’s Tiny Tigers are looking for additional sources of funding to help cover the cost of sterilization, food, traps, etc. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution or want more information on the organization’s work, please contact Dr. Algren at 410-704-5641 or by email at malgren@towson.edu.

Unfortunately, most colleges and universities have a resident stray and feral cat population. Students have a cat or kitten for the duration of their schooling, but once graduation comes around and it is time to move, cats are often left to fend for themselves. And more times than not, these cats are NOT sterilized, so they go on to produce unwanted litters of kittens, which add to the colony population. Large dumpsters on school campuses and occasional handouts from compassionate students provide food for the cats, so they find it a suitable place to live. Subsequently, one will find that most campuses have established their own organization to help manage the resident cat population. Students setup feeding stations, practice TNR to control the colony’s numbers, find homes for adoptable cats and kittens, and educate their fellow students on the importance of spay/neuter and keeping cats indoors.   

ACR thanks Towson administrators for implementing TNR rather than eradicating the cats. TNR is more effective and less costly than repeatedly trying to kill cats. Plus, it gives the students a great sense of responsibility, gets them involved within the community, and fosters compassion for animals. Students who volunteer with campus cat organizations help spread the importance of sterilization and proper pet care. What better way to reach students than by educating their peers. Way to go Towson Tiny Tigers!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kitten Season Is Here!

It’s that time of year when calls start coming in with stories of kittens on back porches, decks, cellar          windowsills, hiding under houses/apartment complexes, and sleeping in bushes. Spring and summer months are the busiest for animal rescues, with, literally, boxes of unwanted kittens flooding shelters. Unwelcomed litters of kittens are left on rescue doorsteps with the hope that someone will find them a home.

And finding a home for a cute fuzzy, energetic kitten is not hard…what’s hard is the time spent in between! Shelters only have “so much” space, resources, and time to care for “so many” animals; limited resources means rescue groups must depend greatly on outside assistance from foster homes. Kittens need to be feed, watered, litter changed, bedding changed, medicated, played with, and loved.

Foster homes not only play an important role in the rescue “business,” by lending a hand to strained shelters but in fighting the cat overpopulation problem. Foster homes get cats off the streets and give them safe loving homes. Foster homes prevent more unwanted kittens through sterilization and prevent the spread of disease through vaccination. Foster homes provide kittens with warm cozy environments for them grow and thrive. Most kittens arrive at shelters without mothers, and some are only days old! This means even more work for dedicated individuals who assume a motherly position for several weeks, by bottle feeding every few hours, bathing, and regulating body temperature. Like I said, it is not as hard to find a cuddly kitten a home as it is to raise one! So, please consider becoming a foster parent for your local animal shelter, I’m sure they could use it.

Again, fostering abandoned cats and litters of kittens is a wonderful way to help combat cat homelessness, while enjoying the experience of watching them grow and thrive under your loving care. Although it may be sad to give up a cat or kitten you've nurtured for weeks, it is also a joyous event to see a kitty go to a permanent loving home. To know that you played a part in that cat’s life and were able to help him have a better life that so many others don’t get a chance to have, is priceless.

3 to 4 million cats and dogs are killed every year in US animal shelters.

90% of those euthanized are adoptable.

Please help us change these figures. Volunteer to be a foster parent and save a life.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator

A new study is out that exposes the truth about tax-payer money and managing free-roaming or feral cats. Commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society and funded by Petsmart Charaties, this study focuses on finding workable community-based solutions to issues facing homeless cats. Under their Friends’ Focus on Felines® program, Best Friends worked to create the Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator, which is capable of figuring out how (Photo: Felix Idan - Flickr) much it would cost a county to eradicate feral cats and how much it would cost to TNR feral cats.

The Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator figures how many cats reside in the selected county (of the selected state) and of the cats, how many are feral (community) cats. The calculator also determines the cost to trap, house, and kill a cat and compares it to the cost to TNR a cat and to TNR a cat using a low-cost clinic. Finally, it calculates the tax-payer savings in the county when TNR is utilized.

The study, completed by John Dunham and Associates (funded by PetSmart Charities), serves as core information for the new online Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator. According to Best Friends, it will help county and local governmental entities determine the true cost of removing homeless cats by destroying them.

Bottom line finding: Trap-neuter-return for community cats could cut costs in half.

With an estimated 87 million free-roaming, homeless cats in the United States, it would cost governmental entities about $16 billion to trap and kill these cats as opposed to about $9 billion for supporting trap-neuter/spay-return (TNR) programs run by rescue organizations and individual volunteers.

Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends said: “With the current economic crisis, cities and counties are laying off animal control staff. Everyone wants to see the number of homeless, free-roaming cats radically reduced, but if you can find a humane way to decrease the number and save money, wouldn’t this be the best alternative? Now more than ever we can use economic arguments to advance humane approaches. After years of eradication programs, we still have an estimated 87 million homeless cats; and trends indicate this number is rising. Eradication only works on an island. The trap and kill method is expensive and it doesn’t work, so why continue to embrace it?"

“Our hope is that government officials and humanitarians will use our Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator to find out how much their community could save by employing TNR,” VanKavage said.

Other key study findings: In most American communities, stray cats are a familiar sight. For more than 10,000 years, the species Felis catus has lived beside humans. With the growing population of feral (community) cats, there has been much policy debate on how to handle the situation. Some argue for eradication, but this doesn’t curb population growth because some new cats that escape trap and kill will always be born. The humane solution is trap, neuter and return, a cost efficient, no-kill means of reducing feral cat populations.

According to the Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator:

In PG County, MD (where ACR is located), there is almost 150,000 cats, with almost 82,000 living as “community” cats. The estimated cost to eradicate one cat is $180 and the cost to TNR one cat (at regular price) is $160. The estimated savings of taxpayer money for the county for one year if TNR was implemented over eradication would be a little more than $1.7 million, with a savings of $8.8 million if discounted sterilization was utilized.

To view the Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator:
http://www.guerrillaeconomics.biz/communitycats/

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NJ Fish & Game Tries to Legalize the Hunting of Feral Cats

Fish and Game Council member, Leonard Wolgast, has sponsored a resolution to have feral cats reclassified by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which could put an end to TNR programs in the state and allow feral cats to be hunted.

No action by the council is expected before a recommendation from an ad hoc committee of the DEP's Endangered Nongame Species Advisory Committee. IT'S NEXT MEETING IS IN APRIL! Unfortunately, Mr. Wolgast is a member of this committee and owns property with a kennel (that is owned and operated by his wife's family) that contracts with several communities in Central Jersey to pick up and euthanize cats.

ACR is urging our members to write to the NJ DEP and tell them TNR is proven effective; current TNR programs in NJ (and across the US) are reducing feral cat numbers and educating the public on the importance of spay/neuter and keeping cats indoors. TNR also saves states money by not having to hold and kill feral cats; rescue organizations are already using private money to implement TNR programs. 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 its inhabitants. Individuals want to see, demand to see, an end to the pointless trapping and killing of thousands of feral cats. Please ask the NJ DEP to help us make a brighter future for feral cats, by supporting TNR.

CONTACT INFO:

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Bob Martin, Acting Commissioner
PO Box 402
401 East State Street, 7th floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402


Bob Martin: 609-292-2885
Sandy Nis, Executive Secretary: 609-777-4327
Fax Number: 609-292-7695

ALSO, please visit The Petition Site to sign ACR’s petition: www.thepetitionsite.com/42/help-stop-the-hunting-of-feral-cats-in-nj

PETCO Pet Food Bank Program


San Diego-based PETCO is launching a pet food bank program to assist financially strapped pet owners struggling to feed their animals.

Customers in PETCO stores will be asked to donate pet food to food banks and animal welfare groups to help struggling people. "Today more than ever pets are part of the family, and we don't believe anyone should have to go through the pain of giving them up because of financial distress," said PETCO Foundation Executive Director Paul Jolly in a statement. "With PETCO stores across the country visited every day by people who love and care for pets, we saw a huge opportunity to help prevent people from having to make such a heart-wrenching choice."

Under the program, PETCO customers will be asked to donate pet food that, in turn, will be given to human food banks and animal welfare groups for distribution among needy pet owners, according to the PETCO Foundation, the company's charity arm.

The rollout of the collection bins will take place in three phases, beginning this week with more than 250 PETCO stores in select markets, including San Diego, Chicago, Orlando and New York City. The second and third phases of the rollout are scheduled for this spring.

Easter Lilies are Toxic to Cats

It is that time of year again! Only a few more days until spring and Easter is right around the corner. Most of us will be buying plants for the garden or our window boxes and loved ones give us colorful bouquets to sit around the house. But for us pet owners, we must keep in mind some plants and flowers are highly toxic and potentially deadly to animals.

The most common Easter flowers are lilies and several types of lilies are highly toxic to cats. These include: Easter lily, Tiger lily, Rubrum lily, Japanese show lily, Stargazer lily, and some species of the Day lily. Unfortunately, all parts of the lily plant are considered toxic to cats and consuming even small amounts can be life threatening.

Other flowers associated with spring and Easter that are also toxic to cats are Azaleas, Tulips, Chrysanthemums, Daffodils, Hydrangeas, Marigolds, Geraniums, and Hyacinths.

Easter is also a time when our homes are filled with chocolate, which is also highly toxic to cats (and dogs). Please remember to keep chocolate and other candy out of your pet’s reach and remind your children and grandchildren not to feed such items to pets as treats.

Being a responsible pet owner means keeping our pets safe and this means removing all potential hazards from our homes (or at least keeping them out of reach). As the seasons change and holidays come and go, please remember to keep your pet’s safety in mind.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Climate Change to Blame for Bird Decline


(Deforestation Photo: The Argentimes.com)

Two recent articles discuss the effects of climate change on birds. One article talks of climate change affecting the body size of birds, while the other speaks of climate change altering habitat and food supplies of birds.

According to a BBC Earth News article, a study of almost half a million birds, belonging to over 100 species, shows that many are gradually becoming lighter and growing shorter wings. This shrinkage has occurred within just half a century, with the birds thought to be evolving into a smaller size in response to warmer temperatures.

Dr Josh Van Buskirk of the University of Zurich, Switzerland and colleagues Mr Robert Mulvihill and Mr Robert Leberman of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Rector, Pennsylvania, US decided to evaluate the sizes of hundreds of thousands of birds that pass through the Carnegie Museum's Powdermill ringing station, also in Pennsylvania.

Of 83 species caught during spring migration, 60 have become smaller over the 46 year study period, weighing less and having shorter wings. Of the 75 species migrating in autumn, 66 have become smaller. In summer, 51 of 65 breeding species have similarly reduced in size, as have 20 out of 26 wintering species. "The headline finding is that the body sizes of many species of North American birds, mostly songbirds, are gradually becoming smaller," says Dr Buskirk. This suggests that bird species in North America are obeying Berman's rule, by evolving into a smaller size as temperatures increase.

According to an article on AFP.com, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar warned that climate change is pushing some bird species "towards extinction," as a new report on the threats facing North American birds was released. Birds that depend upon the ocean for survival "are among the most vulnerable birds on Earth to climate change," warned the report put together by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in coordination with several environmental groups. These species of birds have been producing few offspring each year and their habitats are most susceptible to climate change phenomena.

In mountainous and Arctic regions "increased temperatures will drastically alter surface water and vegetation," meaning species like the White-tailed Ptarmigan and rosy-finches "may disappear... as alpine tundra diminishes."

"Birds are excellent indicators of the health of our environment, and right now they are telling us an important story about climate change," said Kenneth Rosenberg, director of conservation science at Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology, a contributor to the report. "Many species of conservation concern will face heightened threats, giving us an increased sense of urgency to protect and conserve vital bird habitat," he added.

Time after time, we see reports like these that are predicting our world’s future and telling us to take care of our planet. Whether it is the decline in bird populations, tiger populations, or some other species’ population, the cause for their decline and threatened status is from habitat loss and encroachment from humans.

ACR and cat rescues across the US, across the world, want conservationists to STOP scapegoating cats as a way of deflecting attention away from the human impacts on wildlife degradation. Along with habitat destruction, pesticides, pollution, radio towers, and (Photo: Don Northup-IllinoisPhoto.com)window and airplane collisions are main causes for the decline of bird populations, not cat predation. According to an article by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “experts estimate that each minute, 11 football fields of forest are cleared. With all the environmental and ecological consequences, one must question the motives of not only the Brazilian government [referring to clearing the Amazon], 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, deforestation contributes to climate change, which the above articles have shown to affect bird populations. Conservations admit that they are not saying cats are the number one cause of bird deaths, but they also say that it is too late to find solutions or at least try to slow down human impacts, that it is easier to kill cats…so let us take that approach. Using cats as scapegoats is very dangerous, for it fosters cruelty to animals and the time spent placing blame is only time wasted. Blaming cats and practicing “catch and kill” is OUT-DATED, UNNECESSARY, and INHUMANE.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

US Pastor Shoots Cats in Taiwan

According to a news article, an American pastor was turned over for prosecution by Taiwan police for allegedly shooting stray cats with an air gun. "After questioning him, we turned him over for prosecution on charges of cruelty to animals and illegal use of firearms," a police officer from the Gushan Police Bureau in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, said by phone.

Under the Animal Protection Act, if Pastor John Sisk is convicted of animal cruelty, he could face a maximum one-year sentence and a fine of up to 1 million Taiwan dollars (30,000 US dollars).

The article said that police questioned Sisk, who is from South Carolina and is serving the Assembly of God church in Kaohsiung, after receiving a complaint from Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT). ARTT began investigating Sisk's alleged cruelty to cats last week after being tipped off by his neighbors. "We found the body of one cat, shot dead by Sisk, and saw another cat shot and injured by Sisk," Ni Ching-tai, an ARTT member, said. The neighbors said Sisk has shot dead another cat and buried the body. When ARTT members questioned Sisk, he admitted "trying to scare the cats" because they ate his fish and birds and disturbed his sleep, and blamed local residents for not looking after their cats.

The Assembly of God church apologized for Sisk's behavior and offered to cover the medical bills for the injured cat.

Monday, March 08, 2010

SPCA Worker Abused Cats

According to an NBC news article, a central New Jersey SPCA employee has been charged with killing two recovering animals in the agency's care.

Daniel Mann, 31, was arrested on March 1st after his co-workers at the Monmouth County SPCA watched him (Photo courtesy: Eatontown Police) abuse two cats as they recovered from surgery, according to Eatontown Police.

Mann allegedly strangled one cat with its leash and dangled another in the air by its leash before throwing the helpless feline head first into the ground, authorities said.

Monmouth County SPCA Chief Victor "Buddy'' Amato said Mann had worked at the shelter for about 18 months.

Mann was charged with animal cruelty, which holds a maximum term of three to five years in prison. He is being held at the Monmouth County Jail on $30,000 bail.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Adopt a Shelter Pet" USPS Stamps


With this pane of 10 stamp designs, the U.S. Postal Service hopes to raise awareness of the need to adopt shelter pets. The pets depicted on the stamps were photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce near her home in New Milford, Connecticut. All had been homeless at one time; all but one had been adopted when they were photographed.

On April 30th, the USPS will be releasing the stamps. Now, not all post offices will necessarily have these stamps, so be sure to request your Postmaster to order them. So stop by your local post office or give them a call to politely request they order these stamps.

Dave Failor, executive director of USPS Stamp Services says CSAC and USPS staff were split between dog and cat people, so there will be two different booklet covers, one with a dog and one with a cat. Failor says he still gets letters calling for more stamps like the Spay/Neuter pair of a few years ago. So, please request that your post office carry the stamps and tell your friends and family about them. This is a great way to spread the word about adopting shelter animals and reiterating the importance of spay/neuter! Plus, they are cute stamps to spruce up all of your mailings!

Microchip and Sterilize Your Kitty

Did you know that only 2 to 3 percent of lost cats are reunited with their owners? That is a very sad statistic. That also means 97 to 98 percent of lost or missing cats never make it back home. Can you imagine the fear and confusion a cat faces when he is suddenly "lost"? This is especially true for cats that have happily lived their lives indoors and are unfamiliar with the outdoor world. That is why micro chipping is a great way for lost or runaway cats to be reunited with their owners.

You NEVER know when a cat will slip out through an open door or push the screen out of a window, so please make sure that your cat has a microchip. Even if your cat is an indoor-only cat, all it takes is one unknowing guest who innocently opens a door or a curious kitty to find his way outside.

This is also why it is important to ensure your cat is spayed or neutered. Again, even if your kitty lives indoors, the chance exists that he could escape and if unsterilized, he could add to the cat overpopulation problem. Unwanted litters keep animal shelter euthanasia rates HIGH and CREATE feral colonies. Sterilization is the key to prevent cat homelessness.

Plus, sterilization keeps your cat healthier! Spaying reduces the risk of uterine, ovarian and mammary cancer in females, whereas neutering reduces the risk of testicular tumors and prostate problems in males. Unneutered males are at risk of venturing miles from home in search of mates, getting into fights with other males and potentially spreading disease (FIV is mostly transmitted via deep bite wounds and puncture wounds from fighting males). Spaying and neutering your cat, even if he or she lives a strictly indoor life, will help your cat to live a longer, healthier life and cost you less money in the long run.

So, for your sake, your cat’s sake and for the sake of all cats sitting in shelters, please microchip and sterilize your kitty! It is a win-win situation for all.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Animal Rescue Efforts in Chile


(Photo: AP/Roberto Candia - A litter of kittens amongst the rubble.)

The magnitude-8.8 quake and tsunami that followed ravaged a 435-mile stretch of Chile's Pacific coast and killed at least 300 people. The 22-mile deep earthquake caused buildings to collapse, fires to erupt, and unleashed a tsunami across the Pacific. It devastated the city of Concepcion, 70 miles from the epicenter.

Coalition for the Ethical Control of Urban Animals’ (CEFU) executive director, Alejandra Cassino, estimates more than 700,000 companion animals may be affected by the earthquake. CEFU has called upon other Chilean animal organizations to unite for these victims. Under the banner ANIMAL RELIEF CHILE, the coalition provides a national support network to cover veterinary care, resource management, communications, volunteers, etc.


(Photo: AP/Roberto Candia)

ANIMAL RELIEF CHILE MEMBER GROUPS, SO FAR:
- Animanaturalis
- Animal Consciousness
- Rima
- ADAR
- ASPS Talca
- independent animal Enraizarte
- Students from the Universidad Diego Portales, Universidad Mayor, Iberoamericana
and Universidad de Chile

For more information please visit:
(sites are in Spanish)

http://www.cefu.cl/
http://www.sach.bligoo.cl/

Canada’s Hamilton Naturalists’ Club Urge Members to Reject TNR Bylaw

According to a Canadian newspaper, Hamilton Speculator, “a former president of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club (HNC) is asking its 700 members to mobilize against a proposed animal control bylaw that could see stray cats neutered then put back on the street. Glenn Barrett, who notes that he and his family love their indoor cat, Millie, says it’s wrong to let domestic cats outside where they attack birds, get into fights, risk being hit by cars and spread disease.” He also argues that neutering feral cats does not reduce population numbers and says TNR is cruel.

“Barrett’s views appear in a full-page article in the HNC’s March newsletter, the Wood Duck. In it, he encourages members to write Mayor Fred Eisenberger and ward councilors to oppose the neuter-release section of a proposed new, harmonized animal-control bylaw that would replace varying policies in the old city of Hamilton and its former Wentworth county suburbs.”

He also opposes classing feral cats as wildlife; he does not want them to be treated like raccoons and coyotes, which are not normally subject to being impounded and euthanized. Under the newly proposed law, cats picked up in response to complaints and not claimed could be neutered and released.

“Debbie Spence, speaking for the planning and economic development department, said the aim [of the bylaw] is to reduce the number of feral cats, ‘because current measures are not doing that and we know we have to do something different.’ She said staff continue to consult with animal interest groups in an effort to improve the draft bylaw, clarify intentions and deal with any misunderstandings.”

Plans are to present a revised version to council’s economic development and planning committee March 23rd. A council vote is not expected until sometime this summer.

ACR urges our members to help protect the practice of TNR in Canada by contacting Mayor Fred Eisenberger and telling him to support the proposed bylaw. Explain to him the effectiveness and importance of TNR and similar sterilization programs. Tell him individuals do not wish for feral cats to be killed, but rather treated humanely with respect.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Office of the Mayor
Hamilton City Centre
77 James Street North, Suite 230
Hamilton, ON L8R 2K3
Telephone: 905.546.4200
Fax: 905.546.2340
Email: mayorfred@hamilton.ca

Thursday, March 04, 2010

PetLuv Bracelets: Memorial/Living Tribute

Losing a beloved pet companion can be so emotionally devastating. PetLuv bracelets are a unique, stunning memorial or living tribute captured in Sterling Silver. Your personal, heartfelt sentiment is custom engraved as a memorial or living tribute. Wearing your bracelet is a way to keep your love story alive and your memory of your beloved dog, cat, or horse forever close.

PetLuv’s mission statement: PetLuv bracelets believes and supports the hard work of all our animal rescue volunteers and workers throughout the United States. 10% of the proceeds will be donated to a rescue of your choice.

Please check out their website. These personalized items make great gifts and show the world your special bond with your beloved pet. Remember to choose Alley Cat Rescue from their list of charities, so we can continue to help even more kitties!

http://www.petluvbracelets.com

Australians Invent New Ways to Kill Feral Cats

In a 1999 report broadcasted by PM on Australia’s Radio National, it was announced that “Victorian animal scientists have developed the world's first poison pill, designed specifically to kill cats. It's hoped the pill will bring the feral cat population under control. Environmental groups say it will save native fauna and flora and it has the support of at least some animal welfare groups.”

According to the broadcast, the toxic pill has been designed specifically for cats and it will not harm other animals. Gerry Maynes, from the Environment Australia Centre, says “The way it operates is that the chemical affects oxygen transport through the hemoglobin in the blood, and effectively what happens is that the cat goes to sleep and doesn't wake up.” Mr. Maynes also states that the pill is humane and its use is supported by animal welfare groups.

Gerry Maynes says, “…In developing this we've kept groups like the RSPCA Australia, and the Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animals Societies aware of what's happening. Dr Hugh Worth from the RSPCA's had a look at some of the experimental work and his concern as you indicated earlier, that this material not be made freely available to irresponsible people. But, on the basis of the work so far, he is satisfied that it would appear to be a humane control method.”

Just recently, in an article appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald, “New traps that attract cats using sound and light, and then squirt them with poison, will soon be tested in South Australia's Kangaroo Island, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre said on its website.”

"This is a tunnel that emits a... sound and bright features that attract cats to it," said Professor Steven Lapidge. "It requires them to walk through a tunnel and if they set off certain sensors in a certain configuration, then it detects the shape of the animal. If it is a cat then it will deliver a short spray onto its belly of a toxic substance that puts them to sleep."

According to the article, “The [Invasive Animals Cooperative Research] Centre believes Australia may have more than 18 million feral cats descended from escaped domestic pets, which kill native wildlife and are hard to control using conventional poisons.” Australia also is trying to control feral populations of pigs, rabbits, foxes, and even camels.

ACR is urging our members to contact the Australian Ambassador and tell him to look at the US and European countries for humane methods of controlling feral cat populations. Explain to Mr. Beazley that killing cats is not a long-term solution to such a complex situation. Tell him TNR programs should be utilized instead of using toxic pills and poison traps.

Contact Information:
The Honorable Kim Beazley
Australian Embassy
1601 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 797-3000
Fax: (202) 797 3168

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tell Maryland Legislators to Increase Penalties for Animal Cruelty Cases

Tomorrow, March 4th, the Maryland House of Delegates will hear a bill (H.B. 265) that would increase the maximum prison sentence for misdemeanor animal cruelty crimes to one year. This bill would also allow judges to prohibit offenders from ever owning an animal again.

Currently, the maximum penalty for starving an animal or harming one unnecessarily is only 90 days in jail—a slap on the wrist compared to the seriousness of many animal cruelty crimes. Among our neighboring states of Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware, Maryland has the shortest prison sentence for misdemeanor violations.

Increasing penalties and allowing prosecutors to punish these crimes appropriately will protect more animals from suffering in the future—and they may not be the only ones. Research has shown that people who are violent toward animals are more likely to be violent toward people.

Please tell Maryland legislators that you want stronger punishment for those who harm animals.

Contact Information:

Pamela Beidle (D-MD 32nd) pamela.beidle@house.state.md.us
Mary Ann Love (D-MD 32nd) maryann.love@house.state.md.us
Theodore Sophocleus (D-MD 32nd) ted.sophocleus@house.state.md.us

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

2010 Spay Day Results

February 23rd marked the 16th annual Spay Day USA, and to celebrate, Alley Cat Rescue once again hosted a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. The event assisted both domestic cats (housecats) and feral cats. For $30 per cat, individuals had their cats sterilized and vaccinated.

(Picture: Cats in carriers and traps wait for surgery)

On February 25th and 26th, Dr. Manzoor and the Brentwood Animal Hospital partnered with ACR to advocate for low-cost sterilization to combat pet homelessness. Joining the team was Dr. McFadden and Dr. Caroline Preyer. ACR would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Preyer, a graduate of Ohio State University, for volunteering her time to help us out. We would also like to thank Christi Fries, of Terrapin Pets, for helping with trapping and transporting of feral cats. Together, we sterilized 40 cats!


Every year “kitten season” lasts longer, bringing in more kittens than rescue groups can handle; so again before spring arrives, please make sure your pets have been sterilized. Kittens are cute, but unwanted litters only mean higher euthanasia rates at local shelters and countless more forming feral colonies. Please help spread the word of how important it is to sterilize pets and the importance of trap-neuter-return (TNR). 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are killed every year in local shelters. The only effective way to stop this is through low-cost sterilization programs and TNR programs.

Remember to check out ACR’s CATs directory on our website (www.saveacat.org) to help you find a feral cat rescue located near you. The only effective method of fighting pet homelessness is to “beat the heat!”

As always, thank you for your continued support and for caring for our
feline friends! Every little bit makes a difference!

Monday, March 01, 2010

UPDATE: Animal Legal Defense Fund: Exposes Animal Abusers

As mentioned in a recent blog, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to pass legislation that would require animal abusers to register in their neighborhood (much like sex offenders are required to do). On Friday, a bill that would require such action was introduced by the State Senate’s majority leader, Dean Florez. This bill will be the first of its kind in the country.

According to The New York Times, “Under Mr. Florez’s bill, any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s offense.”

The bill was drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund based in Cotati, CA. The group has promoted the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes.

“We know there’s a link between those who abuse animals and those who perform other forms of violence,” said Stephan Otto, the group’s director of legislative affairs. “Presumably if we’re able to track animal abusers and be able to know where they live, there will be less opportunity where those vulnerable to them would be near them.”

Joshua Marquis, a member of the defense fund’s board and the district attorney in Clatsop County, OR added: “I do not think for animal abusers it’s unreasonable [to have them register] considering the risk they pose, much like the risk that people who abuse children do.”

The article goes on to say that “One supporter of the proposed law, Gillian Deegan, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Botetourt County, VA, says such a registry could also be valuable in tracking people who run puppy mills and animal-fighting rings, as well as hoarders, who sometimes collect hundreds of animals, often resulting in neglect. ‘A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught,’ said Ms. Deegan, who has written on animal welfare laws. ‘It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around.’ One Web site — Petabuse.com — already offers a type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes."

Similar bills have been introduced in other states but have never passed. In 2008, a similar bill in Tennessee stalled after passing the State Senate. That legislation was endorsed by the HSUS. Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the society, said that the proposed financing mechanism for the California bill, a small tax on pet food, was “an extremely controversial idea” and unpopular with the pet food industry. Taxes are usually opposed by Republicans in California, and that gives Mr. Pacelle doubts about the bill’s prospects. “The idea of that succeeding in this climate in California is not high,” he said.

But the bill’s sponsor, Mr. Florez, who recently helped establish an Animal Protection Caucus, which includes Republican members of the State Senate and Assembly, says he is confident that he has the votes to move the measure forward and estimates that the registry would cost less than $1 million to establish. He also said his background — he hails from the farming-friendly Central Valley — will help the cause.