Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nico Dauphine Sentenced

Nico Dauphine, who holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and was a former researcher at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, received a one-year suspended sentence this week for trying to poison feral cats in the Columbia Heights area of Washington D.C. (Credit: Huffington Post)
Dauphine's sentence included a year of supervised probation and 120 hours of community service. Plus she must stay away from cats.
Cat from Colony ACR has TNRed
Dauphine was found guilty of placing rat poison in the food that one of her neighbors had left outside their apartment building for felines. Prosecutors said Dauphine was upset because feral cats prey on migratory birds.
Do migratory birds live in Columbia Heights—a busy and highly populated part of the city? Matt Todd, who has been bird watching for 15 years, told The Huffington Post he doesn't know of any birds in Columbia Heights that would be considered "endangered." Rock Creek Park, he said, has some interesting migrating songbirds -- like warblers -- but "they don't really venture into the city," he said. "They're sticking to the green highway the park provides."
Columbia Heights does have birds, Todd said, but they are very common types -- pigeons, sparrows and starlings. "Not birds that are necessarily endangered," he noted.
Steve Pretl, president of the Montgomery Bird Club, says he doesn't know of any unusual birds in Columbia Heights, either. "When I walk in the area, I see the normal complement of city birds -- pigeons, house sparrows, the occasional mockingbird," he wrote in an email.
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In a later (Huffington Post) interview, Pretl said it was possible that Meridian Hill Park (located directly across from the Park Square apartment building) could be home to a red-tailed hawk, although he wasn't aware of one actually living there -- and even if there were, he said, a cat probably wouldn't put it at risk.
"Among birders and conservationists, a lot of people really decry outdoor cats as big killers of birds," Pretl said. "But this sounds like an indiscriminate thing. I'd be surprised if there were any fragile populations of birds in this neighborhood, in downtown D.C."
Alley Cat Rescue for many years has been concerned about this anti-cat sentiment that the environmental groups have circulated. They have turned the cat into a scapegoat for the many ills of the planet. Damage that humans have caused with our buildings, golf courses, shopping malls, roads has caused a massive loss of habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Louise Holton, ACR President, says: “At Alley Cat Rescue we care about ALL animals, including birds and wildlife. By providing TNR services to reduce cat populations and by doing a few simple things to reduce our own impact on the world, we can help cats, birds and other wildlife.”
She called for “calmer heads” to prevail and for environmentalists to work with TNR groups, not against them, to help reduce and control outdoor cats.
Said Holton: “We have been working on reducing feral cat population for over 20 years, but none of us have enough resources to do this alone. It has been left up to “ordinary individuals” to use their own money to spay and neuter feral cats. We need an influx of funds to enable us to do more.”
“And we do NOT need this constant distraction having to defend our humane and effective work. Total eradication on continents will never be achieved. And on islands where this has been tried, it took many years, several methods like poisoning, shooting, and hunting dogs. And even then caused the rodent population to explode, causing even more problems.”
The environmental groups never give any real solution. They vaguely say “build sanctuaries” or take them to animal control for adoption.
Well one cannot build enough “sanctuaries” and, in any case, who will fund these?
And “take them to animal control” means killing the cats, as ferals are usually killed immediately by animal control. In any event animal control agencies can barely keep up with all the cats dumped on them daily, how on earth can they still send out trappers to catch-and-kill?
Those folks who care about humane, nonlethal control should ALL tell the environmental groups, bird groups, and local authorities to embrace TNR for feral cats. It’s the only thing that DOES work.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Help ACR Without Spending Any Money

Did you know that you can help ACR raise money without spending any money for your own?  With the holidays right around the corner, there are several ways to  shop your favorite websites and search online while doing something great to help Alley Cat Rescue!

Whenever you need to search for something on the Internet, we recommend you start by signing up at www.goodsearch.com and choosing Alley Cat Rescue as your chosen organization. If 1000 people used Goodsearch twice a day, ACR could earn over $7,000 a year! You can also use the Goodsearch site to do online shopping at your favorite retailers, like Target and Vistaprint.


Adopt-A-Shelter allows you shop online and support your favorite animal shelter.  You can support ACR by visiting www.adoptashelter.com and then shopping online at retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and PETsMART.

Another website where you can search and shop to support Alley Cat Rescue is www.onecause.com. You can download a toolbar that allows you to search through Yahoo and support ACR.  You can also shop at retailers such as Origins, Neiman Marcus and Verizon Wireless!

Of course, ACR is always in need of donations to help us continue our work and support our adoption, trap-neuter-return and low-cost spay/neuter programs.  Donations can be made through Network For Good or Razoo

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another Attack on Feral Cats from ABC




The American Bird Conservancy is continuing their ruthless 
fight to get TNR banned all across  America. 
Their most recent stunt is outlined in the press release they just 
sent out titled "Nation’s Mayors Asked to Stop Spread of Feral Cats".

The press release begins with "American Bird Conservancy (ABC),
 the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, has called on
 the mayors of U.S. cities  to stop the epidemic spread of feral cats 
 that threaten national bird populations as well as scores of other
 wildlife. Letters were mailed to mayors 
of the fifty largest cities in the Unites States, urging they support 
responsible pet ownership and oppose Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs that 
promote the feeding of outdoor cats."

Why isn't the ABC writing letters to US mayors asking them stop building high 
rises, so that birds don't fly into them and die?  Why aren't they writing to 
farmers, asking them to stop using pesticides that kill birds? 

It is because cats are easy to vilify, but that does not mean that we have to 
stand for it.  Please, write to everyone, from your local town council to the 
state government to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency, to support TNR as the 
ONLY effective way to deal with feral cats.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Message from Louise Holton, ACR President


The Wildlife Society, The American Bird Association and other environmental groups like Audubon have for years supported the so-called “science” showing that cats are causing the end-of-days on the planet. Now their star player, Nico Dauphine, has been convicted of cruelty to animals, despite hiring Michael Vick’s attorney, which in itself is pretty ironic. Many people in Athens, Georgia “lost” cats while Dauphine lived there.
It is actually with a heavy heart that I write this. It is so sad that environmentalists, who should be promoting compassion towards animals, actually have set the stage for this hatred towards feral cats. This scapegoating of cats causes cruelty. People become desensitized to their suffering.
During the last forty years feline predation studies have been conducted across the world. From these studies, most researchers have concluded with British biologist Roger Tabor that: “In terms of the cats as threats to wildlife, generally for countries like Britain and America where other species have coexisted with the cat family for a long time, cats are no more harmful than other predators. Only in cases of small islands has the effect of cats, both feral and domestic, been harmful. In biological systems it is insufficient merely to have found one animal will eat another, that after all, is what predators do - but is that predation pressure within normal limits? Is the prime predator the cat?” Tabor suggests that “disturbances by man” should be considered as the major cause of losses in wildlife populations.
Some studies on feral cat populations in cities have found almost no prey animals in the cats. In one study of 43 cats only one rodent and one bird were found. Birds usually make up 4 to 6 percent of a cat’s diet, when a cat relies solely on finding his own food. Scientist Peter Neville who worked in England for two decades with feral colonies, says: “a deliberate strategy of scavenging has enabled many feral cats almost to give up hunting altogether. They may learn instead to lie around waste bins of hotels for fresh supplies or to cadge from well-meaning human providers in urban areas.” Cats are opportunistic feeders and hunters, living off the easiest source of available food.
The famous German biologist Paul Leyhausen who studied cats for decades found that the cat is a rodent specialist. Its sit-and-wait strategy is better suited to catching rodents, as cats will wait for hours for animals to come out of burrows. Birds fly in any direction and are more difficult to catch. Cats have a predilection for ambush as a hunting skill. They believe that any animal on the ground will stay there and are usually not prepared for birds who hop and fly away. Some cats do however become bird specialists, but most prey on mammals.
Even in Australia where there is an outright war against cats who are accused of decimating the native wildlife, the first comprehensive study concluded that domestic cats were not the threat they were alleged to be. The results showed that 41% of the animals caught by cats were introduced mammals such as mice, rats and rabbits, while only 2 percent were native mammals. Twenty percent of the cats caught introduced bird species, while only 7 percent caught native birds. Overall 56 percent of the cats surveyed hunted while 44 percent did not hunt at all.

Cat Predation On Islands
Cats have been given a bad reputation largely due to the so-called damage done by them on islands. Cats were left behind by whalers, and explorers. They were introduced along with mongooses to control burgeoning rodent populations. (Rodents had been transported accidentally in cargoes of food and equipment.) Islands are unique because they usually have no mammalian predators for birds to adjust to, and the birds therefore have few defense mechanisms against the imported cats, mongooses and rodents. However even on islands the ever-opportunistic cat will live on carrion and the introduced rodents. Feral cats in both urban and island environments are often hungry, which contradicts their image as wanton killers. In her landmark 1982 book Maverick Cats, author Ellen Perry Berkeley, reports that on San Nicolas Island, off the coast of Los Angeles, 22.5 percent of ferals showed mottled livers, a sign of inadequate diet.

Human Toll On Predators
Throughout history the persecution of predators has taken a tremendous toll on the earth’s animals and caused enormous ecological imbalance. People usually kill predators because they see them as competitors for food.
This war on predators has occurred all over the globe, along with the destruction of habitat and forests. This has caused our current situation today, where we may be threatening our very existence on the planet. All things on the earth need to die to replenish life. Bacteria and fungi are part of this pattern to kill and redistribute the earth’s resources. University of Chicago historian, William McNeill, said: “We’ll never escape the limits of the ecosystem. We are caught in the food chain, whether we like it or not, eating and being eaten.”
Scientist and researcher Christopher McBride spent years studying lions in Southern Africa. He believed from his field work studying lions, that they usually killed very young animals (easy to replace) or the old and sick. He believed that the killing of predators in National Parks, in the hopes of increasing the prey populations, had simply been a waste of time and probably been very harmful to the health of prey populations. The domestic and feral cat is an intelligent predator. The above can be applied to these cats as well as the bigger ones.

Cats As Scapegoats
An American wildlife biologist, famous for his studies on migratory birds, told me that U.S. biologists were “obsessively preoccupied with predation by cats and often overlooked other causes of wildlife depletion.”
An investigative journalist found that many U. S. biologists, using the much publicized studies by Stanley Temple and by Churcher and Lawton (where limited data were extrapolated across whole continents), were unaware that international studies conducted during the past forty years all clearly show the predominance of feline predation on mammals over birds. They were also unaware that many researchers agreed with the conclusion reached by New Zealanders Brian Coman and Hans Brunner: “The common belief that feral cats are serious predators of birds is apparently without basis. Although birds were common in all sampling areas, they were a relatively minor item in the diet.
The environmental think tank, WorldWatch Institute, cites deforestation due to razing of forests for croplands, pastures and real estate as one of the major factors contributing to the loss of all birds, including songbirds.
Although songbirds are in decline, other birds such as blackbirds and greenfinches, and blue jays and brown-headed cowbirds (both nestling-eating birds) are exploding. Year-round U. S. bird residents are stable or increasing in numbers. This should give us serious consideration. Tropical deforestation is occurring at the rate of 142,000 to 200,000 square kilometers each year, an area roughly the size of Florida. At this rate the tropical rainforests will disappear in just 30 years, and along with the forests, the songbirds. Each year millions of acres of tropical rainforests are burned to make way for agriculture. In Central America the primary motive for clear-cutting forests is for cattle ranching. Over 120 million pounds of beef are imported from Central America to the U. S. each year.
Today enormous areas of the globe carry huge herds of cattle. This has led to University of Georgia biologist David Wright Hamilton stating that: “an alien ecologist observing…earth might conclude that cattle are the dominant species in our biosphere.” Nearly one half of all the land area in the U. S. is devoted to livestock. We destroy 220 million acres of forests to raise cattle, yet biologists want to rid the U. S. of alien and introduced species including cats, but not cattle.

Double Standards
At this crucial time in human history when humans cause so much destruction to the earth and her animals, we need to remind ourselves of our species’ responsibility and consider our “double standards.” Over 100 years ago livestock ranchers captured wolves, killing them by pulling them apart with horses or by setting them alight with kerosene. This cruelty and slaughter continues to this very day as our tax dollars support the governments’ Animal Damage Control (ADC) program.
In 1990, ADC spent almost $30 million to kill nearly 5 million animals and birds. Then acting deputy administrator Bob Acord said: “Our objective is not to kill everything in sight. We serve agriculture. We want to see more meat, wool, sunflowers and catfish reach the market.” Yet even when predators kill relatively few farm animals, the predators are hunted down and killed indiscriminately by this government agency. The ADC killed 109 ravens blamed for killing 20 lambs and taking 50 hen eggs and 25 golf balls! In 1990 the ADC also killed over 76,000 coyotes, 5,100 foxes, 1,163 bobcats and over 4 million birds.
Plate glass windows on homes and office buildings take a tremendous toll on birds. The Journal of Field Ornithology estimates that up to 975 million birds die each year from striking windows in the U.S.
Urban sprawl, constructing shopping malls, roads and golf courses, all play a part in reducing habitat and have a negative impact on wildlife. We poison our air with exhaust fumes from over 120 million automobiles and we spray 4 billion pounds of pesticides into the atmosphere annually. This causes havoc with wildlife populations, especially birds.
There are hardly any areas in the world today where humans have not altered the landscape, and brought alien animals, insects, and exotic plants. So to try to return to the original pristine existence would be impossible. However, we need to have a better understanding of the world we inhabit and create a respectful relationship with the earth and all her inhabitants. We need to live more sensibly and simply, eating lower on the food chain to preserve the environment and stop the unnecessary destruction of the planet.
As compassionate people concerned with all the earth’s creatures, let us use nonlethal methods of control when animal “problems” occur, whether introduced, exotic or native species are affected. Cat populations need to be controlled, but let us not turn the cat into the scapegoat of the century, or we could be returning to the Dark Ages of persecution towards Felis catus.
This creature who captivated the Egyptians centuries ago, now the most popular companion animal in American homes, deserves our respect and compassion, whether owned or unowned, wild or so-called domesticated.
Especially in urban environments, cats represent one of the few remaining predators since humans have either killed off all native predators or caused their demise through urban expansion.
Even though some cats can become efficient hunters and do kill birds, many international biologists agree that only on small islands do cats possibly pose a severe threat to the wildlife populations. They agree with biologist C.J. Mead that “Any bird populations on the continents that could not withstand these levels of predation from cats and other predators would have disappeared long ago…”
And so we offer an olive branch to environmental groups. Join with us to implement humane, nonlethal control of feral cat colonies. Stop promoting hatred and cruelty and the poisoning of cats. Have you ever seen an animal die after being poisoned? There is NOTHING humane about that. Besides which it is illegal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hornell, NY to start TNR program

According to an article on the the Evening Tribune website, Hornell- a town in western New York State, is working on instituting a Trap-Neuter-Return program.  They are currently working on setting up a site for a temporary spay/neuter clinic that can be up and running soon, while they also work on constructing a permanent site by the Humane Society.

We applaud towns like Hornell that embrace TNR. Time after time it has been shown to be less expensive than catch-and-kill programs, and community cats provide services to the towns where they live, like rodent control.  You can read the entire article here.

Does your town or county have a TNR program?  If not, you can encourage your town council to embrace TNR by using the sample letter in our activist packet.  You can find it here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Update: Kittens with Eye Condition Receive Surgery

Thanks to the Animal Eye Care clinic in Laurel, Maryland, Linus, Snoopy and Charlie have received surgery for their eye condition and have recovered nicely! These once feral kittens were born with an eye condition called eyelid agenesis, meaning their eyelids did not properly develop. Subsequently, the hairs around their eyes were irritating their eyes and causing scarring that would eventually lead to blindness. The surgery entailed creating a hairless margin around each eye which was done by freezing the hairs. Now, no more hairs are causing irritation and the kittens are much more comfortable!
Linus playing
 These three kittens were a delight to foster, providing hours of entertainment. They loved chasing balls, strings and each other. They would race to the top of the scratch tower and push each off and hide under things waiting for unexpecting feet to walk by to launch their attack! Charlie was the explorer, Snoopy was the lap kitty and Linus was the more reserved, acting like a true Siamese.
Charlie
Thank you to everyone who helped make their surgery possible. All three kittens are up for adoption and looking for their loving furrever homes. However, we are still paying for medical costs, so please consider contributing to their fund by visiting their Chip-In page or by visiting our website to make a tax-deductible donation. Thank you for your compassion!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Proceeds Help ACR Cats

Exciting news! ACR is now partnering with award-winning cat writer and artist Wendy Christensen to raise money to help save cats.

Wendy’s creations can be purchased at her Etsy shop Wendycats Cat Jewelry for Cat Lovers. Wendy’s shop features unique handcrafted cat jewelry using gemstones, silver, copper, vintage cat jewels, millefiore glass, lampworked glass and much more. Wendy fashions one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets, earrings and sets - all featuring cats. 

Some pieces include genuine KeyCycled computer keys, spelling out feline-friendly phrases such as "Purrrr" and "Cat Writer." Wendy will be happy to design and craft a special piece of cat jewelry just for you, using your favorite colors and gemstones -- and maybe your name or your cat's name, or a special message (like "Don't Declaw") spelled out in keys!

You can contact Wendy at wendy@wendycats.com with your requests and ideas. And remember to mention Alley Cat Rescue when placing your order and Wendy will donate ten percent of your purchase price to Alley Cat Rescue! Also, remember to use coupon code ACR/10 when checking out at Wendy’s Etsy shop. So get shopping and start supporting cats!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kittens with Eye Condition Find Relief at ACR


Meet the Peanuts gang! This family of Siamese-mix kittens was rescued by ACR in College Park, Maryland as part of a TNR project. Being born to a feral mother meant these kittens were little spitfires in the beginning, but after some time in a foster home with lots of patience and love, these kittens now welcome the company of people. Each kitten has a unique personality and loves to show it off when you enter the room.
Rerun and Woodstock
 There’s Rerun and Woodstock. Rerun is very outgoing and has a milk mustache. Woodstock is a little more relaxed and enjoys butt scratches. Charlie is the fuzzy one in the bunch, who flattens out like a pancake when you pet him, and there’s Linus, who is a little more reserved and enjoys hanging back and watching the others’ antics. Snoopy is the only girl in the family and has the Siamese shaped face but not the coloring. She may be petite but her strong-willed nature will quickly convince you to make a lap for her to curl up on.

Snoopy and Linus
Besides their cuteness, there is something else special about this family of kittens…they all have an eye condition called eyelid agenesis. This means their eyelids did not properly develop, which causes the hairs around their eyes to irritate the eyes. If this condition is left untreated, the irritating hairs will cause scarring on the eye that would eventually lead to blindness. ACR has successfully treated several cats in the past for this condition, which is most likely the result of genetics and poor nutrition in the early stages of life. Rerun and Woodstock’s eyelids are only slightly underdeveloped and do not require treatment; however, Charlie, Linus and Snoopy do need corrective surgery. Charlie, the fuzzy one, is also blind in his right eye due to the malformation of his eye. But you would never know it, with the way he romps around with his brothers and sister!
Charlie
 In following the No-Kill policy, ACR only euthanizes a cat if absolutely necessary, and in this case, these kittens will live happy, comfortable lives once they receive corrective surgery. And despite the financial strain to treat these kittens, they will undergo surgery very soon. If you wish to help Alley Cat Rescue provide surgery to Charlie, Snoopy and Linus, please consider making a donation through Chip-In. These kittens are also available for adoption and will need special loving homes, so if you are interested in adopting one of the kittens please contact Alley Cat Rescue at 301-277-5595 or at ACR@saveacat.org.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

ACTION ALERT: US Fish and Wildlife Service to Hold Anti-TNR Workshop


On November 5th, at the Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Waikoloa, Hawaii, representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct an all-day workshop entitled,  Influencing Local Scale Feral CatTrap-Neuter-Release Decisions,” to teach biologists and conservation activists how to protest TNR efforts. The workshop will equip participants with tools on how to encourage local decision makers away from supporting non-lethal management practices for free-roaming cats. The workshop will actually teach participants how to sway local decisions against TNR through “role playing activity” of public meetings to “debrief and design local strategies.”

Of course this workshop is NOT going to provide statistical information that has been gathered for decades on the countless benefits of TNR or explain how costly and ineffective trap and kill is, but rather reinforce that eradication is the only method that should be utilized when managing community cats, as they continue to exaggerate cat predation on wildlife. The Wildlife Society’s website says that “cats kill an estimated 1.4 million birds a day, every day—and at least as many small mammals and herps.” It goes on to say that cats kill more birds than do “collisions with wind or communications towers, oil spills, or other sources on which conservation agencies invest time and money.”

The Wildlife Society also stresses that “Municipalities across the U.S. are being pressured by cat advocacy groups to adopt Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs… establishing populations of subsidized invasive predators that continue to depredate wildlife.” Therefore, this workshop is designed to arm biologists and conservationists with the tools necessary to counteract the work on animal organizations to ensure that TNR is not embraced in anymore communities.

If it’s a fight they want, then it’s a fight we will give them! It’s time for cat advocates and supporters of non-lethal management practices to band together and let our voices be heard that we do NOT want our tax money to be used to kill cats! Especially, when history has shown us that trap and kill does NOT work and that TNR DOES!

What you can do to help:

*  Contact the USFWS and tell them you oppose their efforts to kill cats.
    Daniel M. Ashe, Director, USFWS
    Loyal Mehrhoff, Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands
    Robyn Thorson, Regional Director, Pacific Region

* Contact Secretary Salazar of the Department of the Interior

* Contact President Obama
   
*  Spread the word about the benefits of TNR with friends, family and neighbors. Remember to share important TNR emails, blogs and helpful links to your Facebook!

*  Find out about laws in your area and attend council meetings where TNR legislation is the subject of discussion.

*  Learn more about TNR and communities by visiting our website and stay up-to-date on action alerts and hot topics by subscribing to our E-newsletter.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tipsy Went Home!

Here is some great news for all of our members: Tipsy, our cat with CH (cerebellar hypoplasia), has gone to her forever home! (You can read our previous E-Newsletter about Tipsy here).

After our last email detailing Tipsy and her condition, one of our members who lives in Detroit contacted us about adopting her.  Wendy already has one cat with CH and was familiar with the difficulties that can result from that condition.  When we saw that Wendy had a CH kitty already, we knew it would be a great home for Tipsy, so arrangements were made to meet in the middle.

On Saturday morning, Kylie, our Executive Director, and her husband Scott set out early for a 5 hour drive to Cranberry Township, PA to meet Wendy.  Tipsy was an angel in the car, and just relaxed and didn't cry at all the whole way.  When they got there, Wendy got to meet Tipsy for the first time, and it was love at first site.  It was a bittersweet moment for Kylie and Scott who had been fostering Tipsy since she was 8 weeks old, but they were happy to see her go to a wonderful home! Thank you to all who contributed to her medical care!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Killing Trees While Blaming Cats

(Photo: Care2.com; Clear cut forest)
Everyday I read a new article or receive a new e-alert revealing a sad reality for our planet’s environment. Habitat destruction, land development, global warming, pollution and the use of herbicides and pesticides are all on the rise and their side effects on the natural world are devastating. Every year, the planet is stripped of between 3 and 6 BILLION trees and that is just for paper products and fuel; that figure does not include the number of trees cut down to make room for commercial building or those killed off by herbicides and pollution. YET wildlife organizations are more concerned with managing (aka killing) animal and plant species, claiming invasive species are higher on the list of environmental enemies, than fighting those who are truly responsible for the planet’s declining wildlife. The US Fish and Wildlife Service puts cats as the number one killer of birds—placing them well above pesticides and other man-made causes like building, power line and vehicle collisions. And they seriously expect us to believe this?! When…

According to a New York Times’ article, an herbicide called Imprelis, which is widely used by landscapers because it was thought to be environmentally friendly, has emerged as the leading suspect in the deaths of thousands of trees on lawns and golf courses across the country. Manufactured by DuPont and conditionally approved for sale last October by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Imprelis is used for killing broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover. But guess what—this supposed “environmentally-friendly” herbicide is now under investigation for killing thousands trees. And DuPont continues to sell the product, which is registered for use in all states except California and New York, claiming there are many places where the product had been used without damaging trees.

“This is going to be a large-scale problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of trees, if not more,” said Dr. Bert Cregg, an associate professor of horticulture and forestry and an extension specialist with Michigan State University. Imprelis is used on athletic fields and cemeteries as well as on private lawns and golf courses, he noted. While landscapers are replacing some of the trees, they cannot replace large mature ones, meaning that some homeowners have lost some of their biggest and oldest trees. There’s your explanation for declining bird populations…loss of suitable habitat, not to mention the adverse affects these chemicals have on birds and other wildlife.

AND WHEN...America's rainforest, the Tongass National Forest, continues to be under attack from legislation that proposes the forest be used for industrial clearcut logging and other private development. Sealaska Corporation has already clearcut some 300,000 acres of the best and biggest trees on the Tongass, exporting the timber to international markets (which requires tons of oil for transportation). And there’s a proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport some of the world’s dirtiest oil from the tar sands pits of Alberta, Canada across the U.S. to heavily polluting refineries down in Texas. Not only will this project destroy forests, it will also threaten miles of country side with potential toxic spills and contribute to global warming—another hot topic that is responsible for the deaths of wildlife species.

(Photo: Universetoday.com; Air pollution)
According to a newly published study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, climate change is speeding up the rate at which animals and plants are becoming extinct. By the end of the century, one in 10 species could be on the verge of extinction because of the effects of global warming. The Independent, a London newspaper, discussing the study says “The findings support the view that the earth is currently experiencing a global mass extinction where the rate at which species are being lost is many times greater than the historical extinction rate. It is the sixth great mass extinction in the history of life on earth.” Dr. Ilya Maclean of the University of Exeter and co-author of the study says, “Our study is a wake-up call for action. The many species that are already declining could become extinct if things continue as they are. It is time to stop using the uncertainties as an excuse for not acting. Our research shows that the harmful effects of climate change are already happening and, if anything, exceed predictions.” Dr. Robert Wilson, also from the University of Exeter and co-author of the study reiterates, “From birds to worms to marine mammals, from high mountain ranges to jungles and to the oceans, scientists seem to have been right that climate change is a real threat. We need to act now. This means cutting carbon emissions and protecting species from the other threats they face, such as habitat loss and pollution.” Both men agree that their findings are just “further evidence that we are experiencing a global mass extinction.”

How much more evidence do these wildlife organizations need to see that the number one causes for wildlife decline, with at least 10% of today’s species on the verge of extinction, is due to habitat destruction and pollution?! Evidence that human activity is to blame for species extinction is slapping them in the face, yet they continue to advocate for the eradication of countless plant and animal species who have as much of a right to life on this planet as we do. Humans need to take a hard look at our interactions with the planet and see every move we make has a direct or indirect effect on the world around us…before it is too late. Sadly, some of us have been saying this for a long time and only time itself will reveal if we have already passed the “too late” mark. Let’s hope not.

Friday, July 15, 2011

International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats


In South Korea, there thrives an industry that subjects companion animals to some of the cruelest forms of abuse and exploitation. Each year two million cats and dogs are tortured, slaughtered, and consumed for the meat’s supposed medicinal properties. Kept in tiny, filthy cages, cats and dogs are killed in unimaginable ways. Despite laws protecting cats and dogs from this mistreatment, the Korean government has refused to uphold its responsibilities and enforce these laws.

In stopping this horrific tradition, International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats was borne. On Tuesday, August 16th, In Defense of Animals will support animal allies on the ground in South Korea - Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) and Korean Animal RightsAdvocates (KARA). Both organizations hold protests, conduct investigations, report illegal activity at dog farms and slaughterhouses, engage in rescues, offer education, and pressure the South Korean government to strengthen legislation. Another organization involved in helping animals in Korea is International Aid for Korean Animals (IAKA); their brand new adoption and education center is now home to dozens of stray animals and provides a wealth of information to the community.

This day is used to organize outreach events to educate communities around the world about this needless suffering. Individuals are encouraged to hold protests or leafleting in a public place to raise awareness or to have a table at a local venue or event. For more information and to register your event, please click here. Also, please take a moment to visit ACR’s Call to Action page for contact information to send letters to the Korean embassy in Washington, DC.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Columbia Missouri Passes Not-So-Friendly Feral Cat Ordinance

Yes, Columbia city council passed an ordinance that permits individuals to practice TNR for stray and feral cats HOWEVER the requirements spelled out in this piece of legislation will make actually carrying our TNR almost impossible. According to the new ordinance, all cats in a colony are now required to be annually tested for feline diseases like FeLV and FIV. Plus, along with ear-tipping the cats, city council is also requiring that every cat also be micro-chipped.

These requirements are ridiculous and basically undermine the entire point of implementing such a program. Requiring individuals to annually test for feline diseases and to micro-chip all cats is highly unnecessary and the added cost of such services is counterproductive to the program. If Columbia wants to reduce its feral cat population then all funding needs to be allocated to actual spaying and neutering (and vaccinating) community cats, not wasted on unnecessary procedures.

The percentage of cats who actually have FeLV or FIV is very small and sterilization helps prevent both diseases from being transmitted. Not to mention, mass screenings of healthy cats can result in large numbers of false positives. And neither disease is a death sentence; cats can live long healthy lives despite having either disease. Although many people still deny this, which leads to wrongly requiring that cats who test positive for either disease be killed. This new ordinance provides an excuse to kill cats, when its purpose is to support a life-saving program.

And requiring that all cats be micro-chipped is beyond a waste of resources. A vital part of the TNR process is to ear-tip each cat for identification purposes. Ear-tipping is a widely accepted means of marking or tagging a feral cat who has been spayed or neutered. It often identifies a cat as being part of a managed colony. Ear-tipping is safe and rarely requires special aftercare. Ear-tipping is especially important as it prevents an already spayed or neutered cat the stress of re-trapping and more importantly, an unnecessary surgery. The silhouette of an ear-tipped cat is very distinct and easily recognizable.

It is clear where Columbia’s city council stands on the issue of TNR. This ordinance was simply a strategic way for the city to look as if it supports TNR, while imposing restrictions that cripple the possibility of it actually being carried out. If Columbia is serious about humanely managing its community cats and reducing their populations, then annual testing and micro-chipping must be removed from the ordinance, so the majority of the funding can be spent on sterilization and vaccination. Dr. Julie Levy is right on when she says, "that reproduction causes more miserable deaths (in colonies) than do these viruses. We have to remember that the largest cause of death of cats in the U.S. is overpopulation and homelessness. Euthanasia of unwanted cats claims the lives of more cats than all infectious diseases combined."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ACR Saves 14 Kittens from Ohio

On Monday, June 13th, ACR received an email that a transport van from Ohio had driven 14 kittens and 1 adult cat to Maryland to transfer them to a local rescue group.




When the transport arrived, and the rescue group discovered that one of the kittens had an upper respiratory infection, they would not take any of the kittens. 

The wonderful volunteers who had driven them over 450 miles were devastated, because they were going to have to drive them back, where they would most likely be euthanized.


Emails started flying back and forth between groups, and one wonderful person put up $1,000 to whoever would take them and save them from certain death.  We decided that we would not see these kittens and mother cat end up in the shelter, so we decided to take them.

We are hoping to raise an additional $2,000 to help cover the costs.  The kittens have some of their vaccinations, but still need to be spayed or neutered and receive other vaccines. Please use the chip-in below to donate directly to these kittens care! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Court Case Could Set Precedent


Jan Van Dusen is a volunteer and foster parent for Fix Our Ferals, a charitable organization in California dedicated to TNRing community cats. She has been caring for about 70 cats in her home, while she works to find them new homes. She has also been keeping track of the associated expenses her volunteering has incurred, on items like veterinary bills, food, litter, and a portion of her utility bills. Now, most accountants would advise against individuals claiming such deductions on their taxes, unless they are prepared to be challenged by the IRS. And that is exactly what happened to Ms. Van Dusen; the IRS came knocking.

Photo Credit: Michael Mullady for the Wall Street Journal
Representing herself in court, Ms. Van Dusen explained to the judge what each of the deductions was for and that she volunteers her services and uses her own money to help cats from Fix Our Ferals find permanent homes. According to Ms. Van Dusen, IRS lawyers tried to discredit her case by playing up that she is “crazy cat lady,” but Van Dusen said the judge in her case was very patient and ended up ruling in her favor, saying in a 42-page decision that some of her bills “were unreimbursed expenses incurred to help a charitable group in its mission.” It is still unclear the total deduction Ms. Van Dusen won, but according to the Humane Soceity of the United States, “It estimates that many…volunteers spend up to $2,000 of their own money a year to help animals in need, with some spending up to $15,000 a year when all expenses are counted.”

The IRS has 90 days to appeal to a federal appeals court regarding this case. Hopefully the ruling will stand and provide precedent for countless animal volunteers who selflessly acquire hefty bills while providing their community a much-needed service. To read the entire story, click here.