Thursday, April 29, 2010

More from American Bird Conservancy on TNR

Besides trying to use the “cats kill birds angle” to stop the practice of TNR, the ABC also says feral cats are a public health concern. These wildlife groups claim that TNR promotes cats to congregate in particular spots, which allows for disease trans-  (Photo: Don Northup - IllinoisPhoto.com) mission. They say that this increases the likelihood for diseases like rabies to be transmitted to humans because TNR puts cats and humans in close contact with each other.

According to a recent press release by the ABC, President George Fenwick says that feeding stations artificially concentrate animals, which increases the risks of disease transmission. George Fenwick said, “feral cat colonies present an ongoing hazard to human health in communities where they are established as well as birds and other native wildlife.”  The Wildlife Society Blog also adds that rabies is not the only disease potentially transmittable to humans–there’s also toxoplasmosis, cat scratch fever, and a variety of other maladies.

The Wildlife Society Blog also says, “If TNR advocates aren’t concerned about the future of our native wildlife, then perhaps human health concerns will get their attention–especially when feral cat colony managers themselves start getting bitten.” The writer goes on to say that us cat activists “reject science and conservation in [our] short-sighted focus on the ‘rights’ of individual cats…”

The ABC constantly tries to convince the public and the government that because cats kill birds, we should kill cats. They also insist that cats are “disease carriers,” providing another reason why we should kill them. Obviously these statements are incorrect, so I will be preaching to the choir, but I will anyway. I will start off by commenting on this last sentence that cat activists “reject science and conservation.” We only reject science when it is “fake” and when wildlife activists refer to studies that have limited data and have not been published. To make a general statement that cats kill “billions” of birds each year when these same “scientists” say they don’t really know how many birds are killed is ridiculous. They want us to believe their “science” when they themselves say that are unsure?? 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.”

And to say that cat activists are opposed to conservation and that we simply do not care about other animals is absurd! The majority of individuals fighting for cats loves and respects ALL animals. For the ABC to imply that because we support cats that we don’t care about birds is irresponsible. We advocate TNR to not only assist cats but to help improve the situation for all animals (including humans). Those practicing TNR are NOT killing animals; the organizations that are killing animals are the ABC and other so-called wildlife conservation groups. Those who promote TNR reduce cat numbers over time by stopping the breeding cycle; we are not killing anyone. It is the conservationists and the wildlife biologists who support and advocate the eradication of one species over another, when deciding how the natural world should “look.” The game of “cat and mouse or bird” has long been the ways of nature; cat rescuers cannot control this and neither can conservationists. In reaching a compromise both TNR advocates and wildlife conservationist can live with, we all must ask ourselves “why are we (humans) so obsessed with managing the natural world?”

Finally, to claim cats are disease carriers and contact with them increases our chances of contracting a disease is just a scare tactic. I am not denying cats get certain diseases, some which can be transmitted to other species, but the same is true for other animals (squirrels, raccoons, birds, etc). Caretakers, trappers, and veterinarians take precautious when handling feral cats; they wear gloves, use traps, tranquilizers, and some, especially vets/techs/rescuers, have had pre-exposure rabies vaccines. Not to mention, TNRed cats are healthier cats because they are feed, vaccinated and sterilized, reducing the risk of disease transmission. This actually decreases the risk that residents will encounter an unvaccinated cat. PLUS, most feral cats avoid humans and only come in contact with them during the actually trapping and sterilization process…so I say nice try when the blogger says it will get our attention when we start getting bitten.

If anything, cats should be rewarded for their assisting us with public health and safety. Thanks to cats, rodent populations are naturally kept in check; which assists in preventing the spread of certain diseases. Australian Environmentalist Frankie Seymour explains the important role cats have in preventing disease as seen in history. Due to the Witch hunts, “by the late Middle Ages, cats in Europe had been hunted, hanged and burned almost to extinction. Then, of course, the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) arrived in Europe and 25 million people…died in five years because, for several hundred years before, there hadn’t been enough cats to keep the rat population healthy. For the next couple of centuries after ‘the Death’ – centuries which just happened to coincide with the Age of Exploration - cats became popular again. Ships traveling to Asia and Africa were particularly vulnerable to pick up Plague – so cats on ships were considered lucky and necessary.” This is why travelers used to keep cats aboard ships and take them to whatever new lands they were discovering—to control rodents and prevent disease. And they do it naturally; they don’t use poisons or traps like humans, and they get a meal out of it. 

People who strongly oppose cats act like those of us who handle cats get bit ALL THE TIME and that cats go out of their way to “attack” people. It’s a good thing we know the truth and that is why we must continue to spread the truth about cats and TNR!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Action Alert: Help Pass the New Crush Act Bill

The day after the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn a law that made it illegal to sell videos that depict animal cruelty as entertainment (because of vague wording in the bill), Representative Gallegly (R-CA) introduced H.R. 5092-- a new bill designed to overcome the Court’s decision to strike down the Crush Act. The new bill amends the Crush Act to give it a much narrower focus, but would still prohibit selling or offering to sell any depictions of animals being crushed, drowned, impaled or burned where such actions are illegal.

H.R. 5092 will help ensure that the crush video industry is not revitalized in the absence of any enforceable federal law. The original Crush Act was passed with little opposition—help us get this revision passed quickly, too.

Please contact your US Representative today, urging him or her to support and co-sponsor H.R. 5092 to amend the Crush Act (if he/she has not already done so).

To read the entire bill, please click here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Feline was made for Walking


Kitty is perhaps the most adventurous cat in the world. She is the beloved cat pet of a French couple/explorers, Guillaume and Laetitia who are on a mission to travel from Miami, Florida to Ushuaia, Argentina purely on foot. They are currently in Columbia, heading south.
Their cat, Kitty, is often seen resting in the backpack carried by Guillaume while they are hiking down the road. They even set up a little umbrella on the backpack to give the kitty some shade from the sun.
Kitty enjoys the trip as much as the couple. She often climbs on the shoulder of her daddy to get a good look at every new scenery. She does not seem to be shy or bashful about meeting new people and visiting new places. If we have an award for the most adventurous cat in the world, I’d said Kitty is purr-fect for it. You can see the updates on their journey and more photos at their website.

Supreme Court Decision on Animal Cruelty Videos

So I read some disturbing news this morning. Was not the way I wanted to start my day, but it happens. I received several emails regarding a recent decision by the Supreme Court to overturn a law that made it illegal to sell videos that depict animal cruelty as entertainment. Apparently, the decision was reached because the law is said to be written in too broad of terms and there are First Amendment rights being compromised. The Court struggled with the vagueness of when the depiction of animal cruelty is or is not (i.e. legal hunting/fishing) an illegal act. From the decision:

"(2) Section 48 creates a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth. The statute's definition of a "depiction of animal cruelty" does not even require that the depicted conduct be cruel. While the words "maimed, mutilated, [and] tortured" convey cruelty, "wounded" and "killed" do not. Those words have little ambiguity and should be read according to their ordinary meaning. Section 48 does require that the depicted conduct be "illegal," but many federal and state laws concerning the proper treatment of animals are not designed to guard against animal cruelty. For example, endangered species protections restrict even the humane wounding or killing of animals. The statute draws no distinction based on the reason the conduct is made illegal."

According to reports, “the case throws out the conviction of Robert Stevens, who sold videos depicting dogfighting, which is illegal in every state. Stevens was convicted under a 1999 law passed to ban the sale of ‘crush videos,’ in which women crushed to death small animals, to satisfy the sexual fetishes of internet customers. Crush videos virtually disappeared from the internet following passage of the law, before the government initiated a single prosecution. The Bush Administration's indictment of Stevens in 2004 was the first time this law was used.” But with this new decision, animal protection organizations are saying cruel videos are already returning to the internet.

Animal rights groups, like In Defense of Animals (IDA), are urging Congress to immediately write a new bill that will be able to pass the Supreme Court’s First Amendment analysis. "Cases like this have immediate consequences that can only lead to more cruelty and abuse. Real animals will suffer and die in horrific ways because the Court has declared that animal cruelty and suffering can be sold as entertainment. This case is a huge step backward for the evolution of a humane society," said Dr. Elliot M. Katz, a veterinarian and president of IDA.

Okay, so the law was vague and others feared First Amendment Right infringements, THEN let’s sit down and re-write the law before more animals are harmed. Yes, I know it takes FOREVER to write laws, but when someone’s life depends on it, I think that counts of high importance. Animal rights organizations will be working hard to ensure a new law gets passed and animals remain protected. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Charles the Cat: New Mexico to Illinois (and Back)


When I read this story, I felt a special connection with the family because I have a cat names Charles and he looks a lot like their Charles! Apparently, Charles went missing about eight months ago when his owner was out of town and a friend was cat sitting. According to the AP, Robin Alex, of Albuquerque, said, "Oh, I was crushed, and I found out while I was away volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and I was so upset because I was in New Orleans so there was nothing I could do."

However, earlier this week, Charles was picked up by an animal control unit in CHICAGO! Luckily, Charles was micro-chipped so Alex was contacted that he was rescued in Illinois and she would need to make arrangements to have him returned.
But Alex said she could not afford the round-trip ticket to Chicago to bring Charles home and she was afraid he might be euthanized.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending when fellow Albuquerque resident, Lucien Sims, tells Alex he is on his way to Chicago on Thursday for a wedding, so he would go to the shelter, pick up Charles and bring him back to New Mexico. According to the story, “Sims said he has a tabby cat who strongly resembles Charles, and was moved when his mother sent him an online story about Alex and her pet.” Sims even made arrangements for Charles' return, by getting a company to donate a cat carrier and American Airlines to waive the cat's travel fee.

Now, my Charles is very old and can barely make it down the stairs, so I don't think he will be making any long-distance trips but he is micro-chipped just in case he would escape and make it down the block. PLEASE MICRO-CHIP YOUR PET. For more information on micro-chipping please see our newsletter article in our Alley Cat Mews.


(Photo: AP - Charles from NM)















(Photo: MMF - My Charles)  




Me and My Recent TNR Attempts

Recently, I have had a couple of frustrating attempts at TNR that did not turn out as well as I wanted. Sometimes, trapping cats can be time-consuming and cats have a mind of their own, so things don't always go according to plan. At the end of March, there were about 5 tomcats prowling around in the bamboo behind my house. I could hear them yowling in search of mates. The plan was to TNR them, but the week I got traps it rained and I haven’t seen them since. Ugh. I tried. I just wish I could have fixed them, so they are not out producing babies.

And this past weekend, I tried to trap another cat but I was unsuccessful. A neighbor of my parents abandoned his cat, so my mom asked me to help. The cat is a housecat and was friendly, but after several months with limited human contact, she is turning feral. You can get close to her but she does NOT like people. I set a trap but she was not interested in going in...no yummy tuna for her. I tried to encourage her into the trap from under a couch but she would not go in. She is a really pretty cat, black and white; she’s small. I left the trap with my mom, so hopefully we will be able to catch her. Then, we can get her vetted and work on socializing her or at least find her a barn home.

My dad and I talked about how people can just leave their animals behind. I told him if I knew, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing. I told him ACR sees situations like these everyday. And it doesn’t get any easier. I think working to catch this cat really made my dad realize what TNR is all about. He has always appreciated animals and my love and respect for them, but being a part of this situation enlightened him on cat homelessness and the special person it takes to do what us rescuers do…give a little piece of us everyday, to every animal. I intend to see these projects through; I will keep searching for the tomcats in my neighborhood and I will check with my parents to see if they have any luck with trapping the semi-feral. As the story goes, us cat rescuers are constantly working on the problems caused by other people who dump their unwanted cats. It is a sad fact of life but again, someone has to do it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bird Advocates Who Oppose TNR

Recently, I blogged about the Fairfax County Animal Shelter embracing TNR, now I want to share one individual’s response to the county shelter’s positive actions. According to the FairfaxTimes.com, Linda Cherkassy of Voorhes, NJ says, “a ‘trap-neuter-return’ program is a misguided, ineffective and controversial method of management for feral cats.” She goes on to support the American Veterinary Medical Association’s claim “that any reduction through such programs is insignificant.” She continues to also agree with bird advocates saying “cat predation may supersede habitat loss as a primary threat to birds' survival.” Really? She thinks cat predation is more of a threat to birds than habitat loss? But that is exactly how most “conservationists” think, and therefore, they advocate for the “removal” and out-right killing of feral cats and oppose TNR programs.

I Googled Linda Cherkassy to see if she is associated with any organizations and I came across the Cat Defender’s blog. The writer mentions her and several others who side with bird and wildlife proponents saying, “For her part, Cherkassky is far more honest, albeit murderous, when she argues that all feral cats should be killed outright. As far as this monster is concerned, cats are merely vermin and do not have any rights. Furthermore, she and Donato would even like to see the feeding of feral cats, but not birds of course, criminalized.”

The writer goes on to dispute comments from Cherkassky and other bird advocates that say “since cats are not native to North America they have forfeited their right to exist on these shores.” The blogger points out that “If that is to be the standard by which all species are to be judged, then neither the USFWS, the ABC, Cherkassky, nor Donato have any right to be here because they, too, constitute an invasive species. The same rationale would equally apply to America's more than one-hundred-thirty-seven species of non-native birds.”

Then, the writer reminds us that “Felis domesticus were…forcibly shipped to America and elsewhere against their will…the first cat is believed to have been brought to Peru in 1535 by the Spanish conquistadors in order to combat the rampant spread of rats that they and other imperialists (Vikings, e.g.) had introduced to the Americas.” The blogger says that “Considering their history as victims of imperialism, the invaluable contributions that they have made in protecting grain stores and checking the spread of diseases carried by rats, as well as their inalienable right to both life and liberty, cats have without question earned the right to live wherever they please or circumstances dictate and that includes outdoors.”

To read the entire blog post, please click here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

NEWS UPDATE: ACR Sends Petition to NJ DEP

On Tuesday April 6th, ACR mailed a petition to the NJ DEP requesting them to NOT reclassify feral cats as “exotic,” preventing them from being hunted. We gathered over 1,200 signatures from individuals who agree feral cats should be TNRed instead of being trapped and killed or HUNTED.

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. The meeting is to be held sometime this month. I called two different numbers (departments) for the NJ DEP to find out when the meeting is to be held, but no one could tell me and I never received my follow-up phone call from them. So far we have not received word on any decision, but we will update you on the situation as we learn more information.

Until then, please continue to contact the NJ DEP and urge them NOT to allow feral cats to be hunted. Instead suggest TNR programs as the humane method of managing their numbers.

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

----------------------------

More on the topic: ACR was contacted by a woman who informed us of her friend’s research on feral cats, predation, and TNR programs. Laurie Goldstein of Stray Pet Advocacy sent her study and findings to the NJ DEP and other appropriate legislative bodies to urge them to rule in favor of TNR programs. Her letter can viewed here, along with the US Fish and Wildlife NJ Office letter of support for the proposed resolution on feral cats and TNR.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Brookhaven to Ban Feeding of Feral Cats

It is highly possible that Brookhaven National Laboratory located on Long Island, N.Y, presently owned by the United States Department of Energy but formerly by the Atomic Energy Commission Brookhaven is in the process of making it illegal to feed animals on most of the town’s land. Presently, Brookhaven has a ban, which forbids residents from feeding pigeons and waterfowl on beaches and parks, but they plan to take this a step further.

At the scheduled June 1 public hearing, the town will present their plans to broaden the ban to include all “wildlife and domestic animals” which will apply on all town's “nature preserves and designated open space,” according to documents filed at the Town Hall.

It will be against the law for Brookhaven residents to help any of the feral cat colonies by feeding them cat food or table scraps within town boundaries. Punishment for breaking the law could result in a fine of as much as $250 and 10 days in jail for each offense. These proposed stronger additions to existing laws have been designed to lessen the impact made on other species by predatory animals.

According to a news report, “Jane Bonner, a town Councilwoman said that the changes were proposed by the town's Feral Cat Committee created in 2008 when the nesting site for the rare pippin plover bird was threatened by ‘wild’ cats at Cedar Beach. However, at this time the feline population is under control in this location. Nonetheless, town officials are concerned about the cats remaining a problem in other parts of the town. Bonner feels that stronger laws will help protect the wildlife, but that law enforcement would be difficult, and said, ‘We're not supposed to bring domesticated animals into our parks and beaches anyway, but we do. Quite frankly I don't know how we're going to enforce it.’”

Well that says it all folks…a Councilwoman doesn’t even know how the town will enforce such a law, so why bother wasting taxpayer money and time creating such an outlandish law? Let’s fine people and throw them in jail for helping the cats and trying to improve the situation?? And the article even says that cat population is currently under control, so why change things? Preventing people from caring for feral cats will only make the situation worse! And I would like to know who is on this “Feral Cat Committee” because anyone who knows anything about cats knows that feeding bans do not work and are cruel to the animals.

Starving the cats will not improve the situation but make it worse. Now the town will have starving, malnourished cats more inclined to hunt, since their regular food source is being taken away; this will obviously not help local wildlife. Feeding cats is part of proper TNR programs; providing food ensures cats are healthy, less prone to diseases and parasites, and is necessary in trapping the cats to get them spayed/neutered.

Feeding bans are pointless and compassionate people will continue to feed and care for the cats even if it means risking punishment. I said it before and I will say it again: Individuals who feed stray/feral cats should NOT be blamed or penalized, but rather encouraged for their acts of compassion. City officials should be assisting them with the resources and information available to care for and sterilize these animals. After all, it is not necessarily their fault the cats are homeless; they are just trying to be upstanding citizens and do good for their community and for the cats. Caretakers use their own money to feed and sterilize feral cats, so it makes no sense to use tax-payer money to hand out fines and take people to court (or put elderly ladies in jail). Under current laws, indi­viduals and rescue organizations work everyday in a shadow of fear from being persecuted for helping animals, and we are tired of working this way. Again, it makes no sense to penalize people who are trying to improve the situation for homeless animals and for being involved in their communities. Out-dated laws HAVE to change and compassionate people should be encouraged to continue to take care of feral colonies.  

Please visit Care2's Petition Site to sign the petition started by the town’s compassionate individuals. 

 Also please contact Brookhaven’s Town Council to urge them NOT to change the current wildlife feeding ordinance. Tell them feeding is an important part of TNR programs and that feed cats are healthier and less likely to prey on local wildlife. 

Brookhaven Town Council
One Independence Hill
Farmingville, NY 11738
(631) 451-TOWN

(631) 451-6447, fax

Follow this LINK to click on each town council member’s photo to submit an online email form with your request.

Fairfax County Animal Shelter Embraces TNR

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia has said goodbye to trap and kill and hello to TNR! Michelle Hankins, community outreach program manager says removing the cats from an area does not work because cats quickly move in and fill the vacant territory. Instead, she says the shelter has been educating and training the public on how to care for feral cat colonies and ensure the cats are sterilized and vaccinated.

According to The Washington Post, “sterilization services are funded through Fairfax County's share of the ‘Animal Friendly’ Virginia license plate fees [and] since its inception in October 2008, the program has trained more than 150 volunteers and processed more than 500 cats.”

“There's a pretty amazing network of interested and compassionate and concerned citizens who really want to try and solve the issue of outdoor cats," Hankins said. "We're trying to work with neighborhoods and communities and individuals so that the cats can remain where they are and the residents can peacefully coexist with them."

The Post also cites “the results of a long-term study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association in 2003 [which] found a 66 percent population decrease in a managed cat colony on the campus of the University of Central Florida over an 11-year period for which researchers monitored the animals.”

Thanks to studies like these and to biologists who explain why eradication attempts are not the solution to cat homelessness, more and more county shelters are adopting TNR programs and discontinuing the practice of trap and kill. Whether or not individuals “like” cats, the American public does not want them to be killed; they want cats to be cared for in a humane non-lethal manner. And as more and more county-run shelters get on board with TNR, it will make it a lot easier for feral cat rescues already practicing TNR to save even more cats. It makes more sense for these two groups to work together rather than against each other…slowly cat homelessness will be reduced. 


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Karma Cats Contest

Thank you to all who submitted pictures to the Karma Cats contest sponsored by PartSelect.com. 250 photos were submitted and can be viewed at KarmaCats Gallery

The contest raised $1250! Thanks again for those who submitted kitty photos and thank you to PartSelect for partnering with us. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

(Photo: Jack, a contest entry)

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
Phone:(415)553-1551
Fax:(415)553-1554

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mister Finds a Home!

About a month ago, ACR found a stray dog, who was not wearing a collar or tags. After thoroughly checking the neighbor- hood for his owners and speaking with animal control, no one claimed him. So, he was in need of a new home. Being a dog who is five-years-old, we knew it would be a little more difficult to find him a home, since most people want puppies. So, I wrote a short biography and took a few pictures and submitted it to a writer for the Baltimore Examiner, hoping to get responses from the news article. Unexpectedly, after reading my email and seeing his pictures, the writer instantly fell in love with him!

Mister, now Scooby Doo, absolutely loves people and to sit on their laps. He is constantly wagging his tail and gets very “wiggly” when he sees people. He is already spoiled in his new home, taking up the bed, making room for himself on the couch, and making friends with his new kitty roommates. He is such a happy dog and is even more so in his new home! His new parents could not be more thrilled and neither could ACR.

So, please, the next time you are looking to adopt a new member of the family, whether it be a dog or cat, please keep in mind that older animals make great pets. It is the kittens and puppies at rescues that easily find homes and who are first choices for most people; however, they might not always be the best fit. Yes, kittens and puppies are adorable and it is a joy to watch them grow, but with today’s busy schedules, it is not always easy to find time to train a kitten or puppy and to be watching them constantly to keep them out of trouble.

Older pets are usually trained and already know the basic routines of mealtime, potty time, playtime, and sleepy time. Their personalities are already “defined” so you know who you are adopting, whereas kittens and puppies may be playful while little, but it is not always certain what their personality will be like when full grown. Also, older pets are usually better with small children; they are not as rambunctious and a little calmer in general, but still know how to have fun and play when it is time. Not to mention, older pets once had a home and were (hopefully) loved by their family, but now they find themselves alone and scared waiting and hoping for someone else to come along and give them a second chance…another chance at love and life. Just like people, they come with a story, some happy and some sad. In adopting an older pet, you can add to his/her story and make new memories, giving him/her a happy ending.

Friday, April 02, 2010

NEWS UPDATE: Feds Grant Lanier Feral Cats a Reprieve

The US Army Corps of Engineers, who consider the cats a threat to wildlife, had originally planned to work with animal control to catch the cats and euthanize them. According to WSB Radio, “a reprieve for the more than 30 feral cats roaming Lake Lanier's West Bank Park in Forsyth County, [Georgia]” has been granted.

The Corp's Chris Lovelady tells WSB they've been flooded by people from as far away as Pennsylvania, who were concerned about the cats. "The local SPCA and the Forsyth County Humane Society will get the cats from the shelter and they will take them to either be adopted or they will provide healthcare to the cats and then put them out in a feral cat colony, somewhere other than on the Corps of Engineers property at Lake Lanier," said Lovelady.

Lovelady insists that park rangers aren't cat haters; in fact, many of them got into the field because of their love for animals. "From a health stand point, from a safety stand point, from a natural resource stand point, a large colony of cats on a small 28 acre park that's the most visited recreational area on Lake Lanier, just doesn't work for us," said Lovelady.

"We're real happy that the local groups have stepped up and introduced themselves to us so that we can work with them and they can work with us and get these cats - instead of having them euthanized - get them moved out to some other location," said Lovelady.
__________________
This comes as good news, for innocent cats will not be put to death; however, with time, the Army Corps may come to realize relocating the cats is not necessarily a solution. Removing the cats will open the territory for new cats to move in, whereas a sterilized colony would keep new cats out with their presence and also stop the reproductive cycle. (Not to mention, unlimited space to relocate feral cats does not exist.)

I had to laugh at the comment about the SPCA and Humane Society “stepping up” to help, when they were helping volunteers TNR the cats prior to this situation and tried talking with the Army Corps. See what can be accomplished when enough people come together to fight for a common cause…great things can happen! Thank you to all who called, emailed, faxed, and wrote letters to the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to implement TNR over eradication. Please feel free to thank the Army Corp for their humane decision.