Tuesday, May 24, 2011

National Zoo Researcher Accused of Attempted Animal Cruelty

Researcher at the National Zoo's Migratory Bird Center, Nico Dauphine, has been charged with attempted animal cruelty after evidence shows she was putting rat poison and antifreeze in cat food left for community cats in her neighborhood of Columbia Heights, in Washington, DC.

(Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoological Park)
Dauphine, a PhD and bird conservationist, is known for her articles on cat predation and anti-TNR sentiments. Back in 2008 when she lived in Athens, GA, Dauphine wrote a letter to the St. Petersburg Times saying: “cats may be the single biggest direct cause of bird mortality, far outnumbering all other causes (including human hunters) put together!” It is also Alley Cat Rescue’s understanding that Dauphine was allegedly accused of similar crimes against community cats while living in Georgia.

According to an NBC article, Dauphine denies the charges saying, “her whole life is devoted to the care and welfare of animals.” In the meantime, the National Zoo is allowing her to continue her job with them saying she is no threat to zoo animals.

For those of you who may follow the Vox Felina blog, Dauphine’s name should sound familiar to you. Dauphine’s work is just some of the studies regarding cat predation that Peter Wolf has been critiquing. Thanks to Vox Felina, the truth surrounding such studies and articles is finally coming to light – the research wildlife organizations are using to base their claims on that cats are to blame for declining wildlife ergo TNR should be outlawed is highly plagued with errors, exaggerations, glaring omissions, and inexcusable bias. Unfortunately, a handful of these deeply flawed studies have become the “holy grail” of statistics for these groups, and they continue to ignore statistical information regarding the effectiveness of TNR; which has been gathered by countless highly accredited veterinarians and cat organizations through years of research and rescue. 

Scapegoating cats not only fosters cruelty towards cats, but it also creates hatred for a species based on exaggerated reports and persuades individuals to take matters into their own hands by acting out in illegal ways. Alley Cat Rescue vehemently disagrees with keeping Dauphine in her current position at the National Zoo and believes she should be removed until an investigation into these allegations of animal cruelty has been completed. Please take action by signing our petition to stop her from working with other animals.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Remember Your Companion Animals in Your Estate Planning

(Image credit: Associated Press)
Back in 2007, Leona Helmsley, “The Queen of Mean” died, leaving behind quite an estate. According to news articles, Helmsley's instructions for the dispersal of her trust, estimated to be in the neighborhood of $5-8 billion, stipulated that the the majority of the money go towards the care and welfare of dogs. Her white Maltese dog, labeled by the media as “a rich bitch,” was left with a trust fund of $12 million and directed that the dog be cared for by two of Helmsley’s relatives.

The Helmsley Foundation provided for a part of her $450 million estate to benefit animal welfare. However, to date, only $100,000 has been distributed to animal welfare organizations. "The statement is an expression of her wishes that is not necessarily legally binding," says William Josephson, a lawyer, speaking in regards to how Helmsley’s trust will be divided up. A judge ruled that the trustees have sole discretion of how the money should be distributed. 

Please ensure you take the time to create a will or estate plan, specifically pronouncing your final wishes. Remember to include provisions for your companion animals (e.g. who will take care of them, money for care-taking), so they will be safe and loved even after you are gone. And please, in honoring your compassion for animals, remember to include a donation gift to your favorite cause(s) and organization(s), so they may carry on your dedication to improving the lives’ of animals everywhere.

For more information on estate planning and Alley Cat Rescue’s Gift Annuity Program, please click here.   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brian's Free Feral Cat Spay Day Story

Thank you to the French Creek Veterinary Hospital in Pottstown, PA for providing a few spays/neuters for cats helped by the Cat NAPS organization in honor of Free Feral Cat Spay Day. The founder of Cat NAPS shared one of the TNRed kitty’s stories with us and we wanted to share it with you.

One male cat, who has been named Brian, was a stray living on someone's porch for the last several months. He is very friendly & adoptable, but because he is FIV positive, he'll be a long-term foster resident at the organization. Along with neutering Brian, the French Creek Vet took extra time that day to do bilateral eye surgery on this poor guy. His lower lids were turning in and the hair was irritating his eyes to the point where he was having trouble opening them.  He is doing much better now and sure is thrilled to be able to see clearly now without irritation!

ACR gives the French Creek Veterinary Hospital and Cat NAPS a BIG thank you for providing TNR services to feral cats and for going above and beyond for Brian!

For those who think that TNR is about trapping cats, sterilizing them and “dumping” them back on the streets, countless stories like the one above are the true experiences of a proper TNR program. Friendly, adoptable cats are removed for adoption or sanctuary life and any wounds, injuries or illnesses are treated and monitored prior to being released. Cats are provided with vaccinations and it is becoming more common practice for organizations to also provide flea and de-worming treatments for feral cats. They are ear-tipped for easy identification and caretakers provide daily food and water for these cats.

TNR is NOT the horror stories wildlife organizations and PETA like to make it sound like. Yes, from time to time, groups will make mistakes, and we will learn from them, but that will happen, no one is perfect. However, for the most part, those providing TNR and caring for feral cats do it out of compassion for the animals and for the sanctity of life. We do it because we know killing does NOT work and is inhumane for the animals being culled. Sterilization is the key to preventing homelessness and reducing shelter euthanasia rates. Spay and neuter saves lives. By helping just one cat, we save the lives of many! 

Cat NAPS is a small rescue organization primarily serving Montgomery County, PA. Their mission is to advocate Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) as a humane solution to control the feral cat population; locate appropriate homes for adoptable stray cats and kittens; and provide a limited number of special-needs cats with a place where they can live a quality life until adopted. For more information, please visit their website. They also work closely with Forgotten Cats, Inc. to find homes for foster cats.

The French Creek Veterinary Hospital is a full-service veterinary medical facility, located in Pottstown, PA . Their professional and courteous staff seeks to provide the best possible medical care, surgical care and dental care for their highly-valued patients. For more information, please visit their website.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Alley Cat Rescue Needs Foster Families for Kittens

Mom & babies being fostered by ACR volunteers
Every year,  ACR takes in hundreds of kittens and cats that have been rescued from the streets. But before they can find homes, they need to grow strong and be socialized — we are constantly in need of compassionate individuals who live in the MD, VA, DC area to foster!!

Fostering is a great way to teach children about responsibility and respect for all animals. Fostering is FUN the whole family can enjoy! Fostering is also a great way to expand your furry family without adding permanent residents.  For more information on how you can save lives, please contact us by email at acr@saveacat.org or by calling our office at 301-277-5595. Thank you for your interest!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Another Successful Campaign!

A feral cat waits to be TNRed
Thank you to everyone who once again participated in National Free Feral Cat Spay Day! Over 300 veterinary clinics (that's more than double the amount of participants last year!!) across the US, Canada and South Africa used this day to show their compassion for community cats and their support of trap-neuter-return (TNR). We are currently gathering the results, and as soon as they are all counted, we will let you know how many feral cats were spayed or neutered.

Not all communities are as accepting of feral cats and TNR, however, as the involvement from the veterinary community increases and the truth (the facts) about TNR reach the public without being misconstrued by those who oppose humane control, TNR will be accepted as the preferred method of controlling community cat populations and all those who manage these cats will be able to work free of persecution and will be recognized for their compassion. Thank you to all who support the humane treatment of feral cats!!