Friday, December 19, 2014

Center for Wildlife Health Research: community cat colony reduction in Maine

see today's related Feral Cat Blog! post: survey US veterinary teaching faculty views to owned cat housing practices

December 16, 2014


Center for Wildlife Health Research Receives $38,000 in Grant Support, Seeks Board Members
(FREEPORT, ME) The Center for Wildlife Health Research (CWHR) recently received $38,000 in grant support from two Maine-based foundations. A $30,000 grant from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation will be used to conduct research on community cat colony reduction in Maine. An additional award of $8,000 from the Belvedere Animal Welfare Fund at the Maine Community Foundation is targeted for board development, strategic planning, and organizational capacity building. CWHR is now actively seeking new members for its Board of Directors who have a passion for animals, and bring talents in marketing, financial management, fundraising, law, or human resources.
“The Sewall grant will enable CWHR to conduct groundbreaking research in Maine focused on reducing the number of homeless cats in Maine, protecting both cats and wildlife,” said Dr. Elizabeth Stone, Executive Director and Chief Veterinary Officer at CWHR. “As we expand to encompass this work, we are looking for leaders in the community to join the CWHR team. The capacity building grant from the Belvedere Fund will help us with this goal of strengthening our organization.”
Founded in 2004, the Center for Wildlife Health Research has as its mission to reduce negative impacts of human activities on wildlife. Programs include education, applied research, and early spay-neuter designed to promote responsible pet care. CWHR supports the work of the Community Spay Neuter Clinic, a high-volume, low-cost, spay-neuter operation based in Freeport which has sterilized over 15,000 dogs and cats since it opened in 2010. CWHR also conducts humane & environmental education camps throughout the summer in Freeport, Maine.

The Center for Wildlife Health Research was created to help engage citizens in stewardship of wildlife through choices they make in their daily lives. We strive to empower people by showing the direct connections between individual action in ways that help them appreciate the interconnectedness between our actions and those of the wild animals around us. The Center for Wildlife Health Research conducts research and outreach about leading threats to wildlife, and applies research findings to reduce impact from these causes. We work on causes that are most amenable to change from simple choices individuals can make in their daily lives. Meanwhile, we also monitor bird admission rates to local wildlife rehabilitators to identify emerging threats. We implement change through education, social marketing, citizen science and policy recommendations.

survey US veterinary teaching faculty views to owned cat housing practices

Note Elizabeth Stone also founded the Community Spay Neuter Clinic in Freeport Maine, and note the Center for Wildlife Health Research website content has changed again. See my March 2012 post Feral freeroaming outdoor cats in Maine.

A survey of the views of US veterinary teaching faculty to owned cat housing practices
1. Allen L Salo 1, 2
2. Elizabeth Stone 1
1. 1 Center for Wildlife Health Research, Freeport, ME, USA
2. 2 University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, ME, USA
1. Allen L Salo PhD, University of Maine at Presque Isle,


According to the American Pet Products Association, in the USA there are an estimated 86.4 million owned cats, and approximately 40% of these are allowed to roam outdoors. Little has been written about the contribution of owned cats to problems attributed to feral cats, including wildlife depredation, spread of zoonotic diseases and overpopulation. A recent study found that 64% of cats have visited the veterinarian within the past year, suggesting frequent opportunity for veterinarians to communicate risks and benefits with indoor vs outdoor living. We conducted the following survey to evaluate current views about this role of veterinarians, by surveying veterinary school faculty (n = 158). Our objectives were to assess (i) the degree to which veterinary teaching faculty believe that the issue of clients maintaining owned cats indoors vs outdoors is appropriate for discussion with students within the veterinary school curriculum; (ii) the degree of agreement and understanding there is among the faculty as to the reasons that clients maintain cats either inside or outside the home; and (iii) the degree to which veterinary faculty believe owned cats that are allowed to go outdoors contribute to various identified problems. The results indicated that many participants believed that the discussion of maintaining cats indoors is relevant to the profession, that it belongs in the veterinary school curriculum, that they understand client motivations, that they feel that more practicing veterinarians should discuss cat housing practices with clients and that cat overpopulation continues to be a significant concern for owned cats being outdoors. Additional ways to help maintain the health and wellbeing of cats that are primarily housed indoors is briefly discussed, including through such means as environmental enrichment or by providing cats access to safe areas while outdoors.

Published online before print December 12, 2014, doi: 10.1177/1098612X14561503 Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery December 12, 2014 1098612X14561503

From the updated Center for Wildlife Health Research website:
The Center for Wildlife Health Research was created to help engage citizens in stewardship of wildlife through choices they make in their daily lives. We strive to empower people by showing the direct connections between individual action in ways that help them appreciate the interconnectedness between our actions and those of the wild animals around us. The Center for Wildlife Health Research conducts research and outreach about leading threats to wildlife, and applies research findings to reduce impact from these causes. We work on causes that are most amenable to change from simple choices individuals can make in their daily lives. Meanwhile, we also monitor bird admission rates to local wildlife rehabilitators to identify emerging threats. We implement change through education, social marketing, citizen science and policy recommendations.

[see today's related Feral Cat Blog post: Center for Wildlife Health Research: community cat colony reduction in Maine]

December 16, 2014
Center for Wildlife Health Research Receives $38,000 in Grant Support, Seeks Board Members
“The Sewall grant will enable CWHR to conduct groundbreaking research in Maine focused on reducing the number of homeless cats in Maine, protecting both cats and wildlife,” said Dr. Elizabeth Stone, Executive Director and Chief Veterinary Officer at CWHR. “As we expand to encompass this work, we are looking for leaders in the community to join the CWHR team. The capacity building grant from the Belvedere Fund will help us with this goal of strengthening our organization.”

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Feral Cat Blog! related resource:

University of Florida
Shelter Medicine > Community Cat Management Courses

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts about Maine:

TWS Maine feral cat colony assessment - May 2014

International Society of Anthrozoology July 2013 Conference > cats - October 2013

Feral freeroaming outdoor cats in Maine - March 2012

Maine AC Cats wildlife public health - April 2006

Feral Cat Blog! related permanent resources (right sidebar)

Shelter Medicine Information sheets (Koret)
Indoor Cat Initiative (environment enrichment)
Neighborhood Cats
TNR Collaboration Cats and Wildlife

and other related posts:

use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords and keyphrases: Feline shelter intake reduction, Keeping cats out of shelters, Community Cats Presentations, Feral Freedom, shelter medicine (including guidelines), spay neuter program, community cat management, trap neuter return, spay neuter program, spay neuter clinic(including guidelines), cats and wildlife, cats and birds, Million Cat Challenge - October 2014 (which directs shelters to resources for cat programs and actions including alternatives to intake, managed admission, removing adoption barriers, Capacity for Care, return to field.)

PetSmart agrees to be sold for $8.7 billion

Read the PetSmart news earlier this week. Will see if changes come to PetSmart Charities, the separate nonprofit of PetSmart, which is a large funder of animal protection programs including spay/neuter, trap neuter return, adoption and emergency/disaster. Next grant application cycle for Freeroaming cat spay neuter grants begins Jan 15 2015. Community cats grants (combine a Return to Field (RTF) program with a Targeted TNR project) are by invitation only.

PetSmart agrees to be sold for $8.7 billion
Russ Wiles, The Republic | December 15, 2014


The Phoenix-based company, feeling pressure in the increasingly competitive market for pet food and services, had been reviewing its options for the past several months. The purchase by a new ownership group could chart a different direction for a retailer that counts thousands of Arizona employees and tens of thousands of customers.

Its board agreed unanimously to a purchase by a consortium led by London-based BC Partners in what could be the largest private-equity deal of the year.

About half the company's employees are full time.

"The consortium led by BC Partners will be an excellent partner for PetSmart as we continue to implement our strategic plan to capitalize on our opportunities for growth and meet the needs of pet parents," Lenhardt said.

PetSmart's 54,000 employees include about 3,800 in Arizona, where PetSmart ranked as the 36th-largest non-government employer in this year's Arizona Republic 100. The company also places among Arizona's top half-dozen or so in key categories such as revenue, profits, stock-market capitalization or worth, and executive pay.

In addition to pet food and supplies, PetSmart provides grooming, boarding and veterinarian services in many locations. Its PetSmart Charities, which is active in placing cats and dogs for adoption, ranks among Arizona's largest non-profit groups.

The sale requires shareholder and regulatory approval, the company said. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015 and will be financed in part with debt.

In September, PetSmart cut 176 jobs at its headquarters and in other leadership positions in the field.

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previous relevant Feral Cat Blog! posts:

spay neuter grant, petsmart

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Central New Mexico Audubon > Cats Indoors!

The National Audubon Society participation in the American Bird Conservancy Cats Indoors! campaign is not new but was restrengthened in recent years by the network of vocal individuals and groups who are opposed to freeroaming cats, owned or unowned. It's great to have help with education and awareness about responsible cat care and keeping cats indoors (or contained or supervised, with enrichment) but using created misinformation to further their cause is unacceptable (numbers of cats, degree and impact of cat predation, diseases, recommendations for "euthanasia" (killing) of unowned cats.) Use nonlethal community cat management with programs targeted to address owned and unowned cat issues concurrently.

Domestic cats kill many more wild birds in the United States than scientists thought. Cats may rank as the biggest immediate danger that living around people brings to wildlife. America's cats, including housecats that adventure outdoors and feral cats, kill between 1.3 billion and 4.0 billion birds in a year, says Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C., leader of the team that performed the recent analysis. Previous estimates of bird kills have varied, he says, but "500 million is a number that has been thrown around a lot."

Central New Mexico Audubon Society (CNMAS) proposed the collaborative project, following the guidelines in the NAS Cats Indoors! campaign, to share with the four state chapters: CNMAS, Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society, Mesilla Valley Audubon Society, and Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society.

Promoting Bird-Safe Communities through Keeping Cats Indoors will help to address the greatest source of anthropogenic mortality to birds, help create Bird-Friendly Communities by reducing bird mortality from cats in New Mexico, either feral or owned, through:
1. educating the public and local governments on the risks that cats outdoors pose to bird populations in the state
2. educating the public and local governments on responsible cat care
3. increasing the number of cats kept in enclosed areas where contact with birds is precluded
4. increasing responsible feral cat control in medium to large cities state-wide

For the 2015 Collaborative Funding, National Audubon provided $715 to New Mexico and Audubon New Mexico provided $715 in matching funds. 10,000 copies of a brochure will be distributed to state Audubon chapters, interested New Mexico bird clubs, public venues and events, and at local government hearings to promote the message on how to deal with owned and cared for cats.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: Cats kill more billions > claimed

and use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as: Marra, American Bird Conservancy, Cats Indoors, The Wildlife Society, Audubon, USFWS, Partners in Flight, opposition, and many more!

Minneapolis Minnesota feral cat TNR ordinance

Two pieces I came across early last week regarding feral cats and Trap Neuter Return in the Minneapolis area. I requested further info.

The Challenges of Feral Cat Management: A Case Study on Population Control Methods

Author Jodi Lynn Hendrickson, Hamline University Follow
Term Fall 12-4-2014
Capstone Thesis
Degree Name MAED: NSEE
Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair Renee Wonser
Secondary Advisor/Reader One Jamie Liang
Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two Dan Fjell


This project examines the impact of feral cats through a study of positive and negative effects on the environment, our communities, and people; while looking into the variety of population control methods being used. The research was accomplished with the use of a questionnaire designed to determine what population control methods are currently being used and what are the biggest concerns in regards to feral cats in the Minneapolis-St Paul area. This Capstone challenges the argument that there is only one solution to control feral cat populations and research shows more collaborative work should be done in order to see a significant change in feral cat populations.

Recommended Citation
Hendrickson, Jodi Lynn, "The Challenges of Feral Cat Management: A Case Study on Population Control Methods" (2014). School of Education. Paper 51.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Ordinance in Minneapolis: Legislative Process, Effect, and Update

Date: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Venue: Minnesota State Bar Association Minneapolis, MN United States

Cities across the country have handled the unique issues presented by un-owned community cats in differing ways ranging from euthanization to trap-neuter-return. This panel discussion will focus on the City of Minneapolis’ Trap-Neuter-Return ordinance targeting feral cat colonies within the city. We will discuss the specific problems facing the City of Minneapolis prior to the ordinance and the efforts made to pass the ordinance. We will also outline the ordinance’s structure and requirements as well as its effects on Minneapolis’ citizens and feral cats one year after passage.
Lunch and registration will begin at 11:30 and the program will start at noon.
Dawn M. Isackson, J.D., Free-Roaming Cat Committee Co-Chair, Board Director and Secretary, Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Project (MNSNAP)
Jeanette Wiedemeier Bower, Program Development Coordinator at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control
Christine E. Hinrichs, J.D., Bassford Remele, Clinic Coordinator and Board Secretary of Pet Project Rescue

For those unaware, the Minneapolis ordinance Title 4 Animals and Fowl > CHAPTER 67. - MANAGED CARE OF FERAL CATS was adopted in September 2013 and effective January 1, 2014.

Of related interest Summary of Legal Arguments in Humane Society Stray Cat Dispute
Published 01/11/2010 by Mike Fry of Animal Ark and now No Kill Learning.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as Minnesota, Minneapolis, ordinance, municipal code, statute, state agency regulation, law, legal, legislation, trap neuter return, and so on.

Depauw thesis-The Feral Cat Conundrum: Assessing the Science and Ethics of Trap- Neuter- Return

DePauw University > Senior Thesis Poster Presentation
The Honor Scholar Class of 2015 presented their findings, ambitions, conundrums, and challenges of their senior projects thus far. Thank you for your support, discussion, critique, suggestions, and questions on their many, fascinating topics!

Emily Vincent
The Feral Cat Conundrum: Assessing the Science and Ethics of Trap- Neuter- Return

DePauw University is in Greencastle, Indiana.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords DePauw, conference, presentation, poster, theses, thesis, research, study, paper, PhD, graduate student, fellow, and many more!

Idaho Predator Damage Management Environmental Assessment

Predator Damage Management in Idaho.
Docket ID: APHIS-2014-0105
Agency: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Parent Agency: Department of Agriculture (USDA)


We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services Program plans to prepare a new environmental assessment (EA) on alternatives for reducing damage to agriculture, natural resources, and property; and risks to public health and safety caused by predators in Idaho.

download pdf: Invitation for Public Involvement
Environmental Assessment: Predator Damage Management in Idaho

Opportunity for Public Comment
Environmental Assessment: Predator Damage Management in Idaho

December 12 2014

You are invited by the United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services Program (WS) in Idaho to participate in the planning process for the development of a new Environmental Assessment (EA) on alternatives for reducing damage to agricultural and natural resources, and property; and risks to public health and safety caused by predators in Idaho. Once completed, the new EA will replace existing EAs on Idaho WS’ involvement in Predator Damage Management (PDM). Predator species involved in the majority of conflicts and damage in Idaho which will be addressed in the EA include badgers; black bears; black-billed magpies; bobcats; common ravens; coyotes; feral/free-ranging dogs and wolf-dog hybrids; grizzly bears; mountain lions; raccoons; red foxes; and striped skunks. Other predators in Idaho that have historically caused only localized damage on an occasional basis include American crows, feral/free-ranging cats, long-tailed weasels, mink; short-tailed weasels, and spotted skunks. Predation by wolves and fish-eating birds are addressed in separate EAs and will not be included in the new EA

The new EA is being prepared in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Idaho WS is also consulting with the U.S. Departments of the Interior Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Idaho National Laboratory, and Idaho Department of Lands. WS has tentatively identified alternatives for involvement in predator damage and conflict management in the state and issues which should be considered in the new EA. The agencies are seeking your input, and issues or concerns you may have regarding 1) the Idaho WS’ involvement in PDM; 2) PDM alternatives which should be considered; and 3) any other relevant information and data you believe should be considered in the analysis.

Additional information on the project may be obtained at the Federal eRulemaking Portal (!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0105), or by calling or sending a written request to the Idaho WS state office: USDA, APHIS, WS, 9134 West Blackeagle Dr., Boise, ID 83709. Phone: (208) 373-1630. We request that all comments be submitted in writing to the Federal eRulemaking Portal or the Idaho WS state office by January 14, 2015 for full consideration in the new EA. All comments received, including the names and addresses of those people who comment, will be part of the public record and will be released for public review as required and allowed by law.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords or keyphrases such as predator damage management, environmental assessment or ea, environmental impact statement or eis, pest management plan, usfws, usda, aphis, wildlife services, mammal damage, state wildlife action plan, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies ( ,) teaming with wildlife ( ,) Florida Keys, and many more!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Simulating Free-Roaming Cat Population Management Options in Open Demographic Environments

previous Feral Cat Blog! posts on this project since July 2012 using keyword simulation and other related posts by entering keywords
simulating, Nimbios, ACCD or Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, population model, individual author names, nonlethal, cat management, feral cat management, community cat management, immunocontraception, nonsurgical sterilization, and so on
in the search box at left of top blue menu bar, then scroll down or use your browser's Edit/Find function with the keyword.
Simulating Free-Roaming Cat Population Management Options in Open Demographic Environments
Philip S. Miller, John D. Boone, Joyce R. Briggs, Dennis F. Lawler, Julie K. Levy, Felicia B. Nutter, Margaret Slater, Stephen Zawistowski
Published: November 26, 2014
•DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113553


Large populations of free-roaming cats (FRCs) generate ongoing concerns for welfare of both individual animals and populations, for human public health, for viability of native wildlife populations, and for local ecological damage. Managing FRC populations is a complex task, without universal agreement on best practices. Previous analyses that use simulation modeling tools to evaluate alternative management methods have focused on relative efficacy of removal (or trap-return, TR), typically involving euthanasia, and sterilization (or trap-neuter-return, TNR) in demographically isolated populations. We used a stochastic demographic simulation approach to evaluate removal, permanent sterilization, and two postulated methods of temporary contraception for FRC population management. Our models include demographic connectivity to neighboring untreated cat populations through natural dispersal in a metapopulation context across urban and rural landscapes, and also feature abandonment of owned animals. Within population type, a given implementation rate of the TR strategy results in the most rapid rate of population decline and (when populations are isolated) the highest probability of population elimination, followed in order of decreasing efficacy by equivalent rates of implementation of TNR and temporary contraception. Even low levels of demographic connectivity significantly reduce the effectiveness of any management intervention, and continued abandonment is similarly problematic. This is the first demographic simulation analysis to consider the use of temporary contraception and account for the realities of FRC dispersal and owned cat abandonment.
Subject Areas: Adults, Cats, Contraception, Demography, Male contraception, Population density, Population growth, Population size
Citation: Miller PS, Boone JD, Briggs JR, Lawler DF, Levy JK, et al. (2014) Simulating Free-Roaming Cat Population Management Options in Open Demographic Environments. PLoS ONE 9(11): e113553. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113553

This paper was tweeted by Tim Doherty in Australia, one of the latest PhD candidates working on ending feral cat predation.

Addendum: ASPCAPro Blog post by Slater and Zawistowski How many cats do we need to sterilize to reach zero population growth?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Vermont state-subsidized spay neuter program shut down

Very unfortunate; hopefully this will get fixed soon! Statewide subsidized spay neuter programs for owned dogs and cats as well as unowned cats are needed in every state. Over two-thirds of states have publicly funded programs for spaying and neutering pets (some include unowned feral or community cats.) The majority of programs are funded from animal friendly license plate sales, followed by dog license fees, tax refund check-offs, rabies or pet food surcharges, and a few other means. Some are fortunate to incorporate several sources. Roughly 35 states require preadoption sterilization by animal shelters via several methods (although deposits and vouchers are not effective.) Think New Jersey was the first state with a statewide program, the most recent state is Maryland, and one is being considered in Iowa.

State-subsidized spay/neuter program shuttered
Laura Krantz Nov. 30 2014

[excerpts, always read entire]

The state this year abruptly shut down a program that helps low-income Vermonters spay and neuter their pets, documents show, leaving pet owners without an affordable way to have their animals fixed and inundating local shelters with calls for help.

The Department for Children and Families says the Vermont Spay and Neuter Incentive Program, or VSNIP, ran out of money because more people than ever want vouchers. The state took over the program a year ago after it had been run by two third-party contractors.

But DCF officials also admit they made mistakes administering the program, and documents show that under the prior administrator, the program significantly boosted the amount it pays vets who perform the surgeries for pet owners.

Meanwhile, another former program administrator has filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging DCF purposely prevented her from receiving a bid and instead gave it to someone else, who had a conflict of interest.

The deputy commissioner of DCF, Sean Brown, in November wrote a memo to three lawmakers whom Skaskiw has contacted about the program, to explain the situation.

VSNIP needs more than $300,000 this year to run the program and more than that in future years, according to DCF. Meanwhile, annual receipts are around $235,000, meaning an annual shortfall of around $65,000 each year.

The DCF memo invites lawmakers to offer suggestions on how the program could become sustainable in the future.
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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as state spay neuter, statewide spay neuter, subsidized spay neuter, animal friendly license plate, and so on!

and visit my spay/neuter webpages created well over a decade ago (always available in right sidebar as well:)

Neuter/Spay Oregon
Neuter/Spay Washington
Neuter/Spay Nationwide
Early (Pediatric) Spay Neuter

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Washington County Animal Services proposed ordinance changes (Oregon)

Major Revisions Proposed to Washington County Animal Services Ordinance
For Immediate Release Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Sponsored by: Health & Human Services Department, Animal Services Division

Washington County Animal Services is proposing a major revision to the ordinance that regulates pets in the county.

"We haven't had a major update to our local animal laws in about 30 years," says Animal Services Manager Debbie Wood. "We are taking this opportunity to provide a wholesale revision to our code, making it a modern, enforceable instrument for the protection of the people and pets of our community."

County staff have spent two years looking at best practices codes in the Portland area, around the nation and even in Canada.

"Our biggest concern in our current code has been our dangerous dog provisions, which broadly define many behaviors as 'dangerous' and don't provide any specific remedies for the community," says Wood. The proposed code lists increasingly problematic behaviors with concomitant increasingly serious sanctions.

The proposed code is available on the Animal Services website at

Community Meetings: Animal Services will be holding two "Code Chat" sessions, one on Thursday, December 11, 6-8 p.m. and another on Saturday, January 10, 12-2 p.m. Wood and Animal Services Field Supervisor Randy Covey will be on hand during those hours to answer questions and discuss with any interested people the proposed code changes. The meetings will take place at the Bonnie Hays Small Animal Shelter, 1901 SE 24th Avenue, Hillsboro.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will later hold a hearing on the changes, which is likely to be scheduled for January.

Among the proposed changes to the code are the following:

##Dangerous Dogs: The current code defines a dangerous dog as one that harms a person or animal. The only enforcement is a prohibition against owning a dangerous dog. We are proposing a modern, proven system of classifying dangerous dogs. The new system provides for progressive penalties, depending upon the seriousness of the incident.
##Cats: The current ordinance only uses the word "dog." The proposed code gives explicit authority to impound cats and other domestic pets and, if their owners do not reclaim them, take appropriate measures for their welfare (including spaying/neutering and adopting them to new homes). This does not change our current practices, but ensures current practices are clearly stated in the code. The proposed code revisions do not call for licensing cats in Washington County.
##Licensing of "Animal Rescue Entities": SB 6 passed the 2013 legislature, requiring counties to license "Animal Rescue Entities" and verify certain record-keeping requirements. The proposed code change allows Animal Services to implement this mandate.
##Clearer Definitions of Nuisance Violations and Other Community Conflict: Animal Services receives thousands of calls every year regarding barking dogs, dogs defecating in peoples' yards, dogs that are off leash, etc. These are issues of great conflict among neighbors. This code clarifies and updates our code to allow reasonable and clear responses to take place. Examples include:
##Barking dogs: The current ordinance has sanctions against barking dogs –but no definition of how long and loud barking must be. The revisions will make definitions and fines specific, and therefore greatly reduce the frustration around these issues in the community.
##Dog waste matter: We currently have no legal requirement to pick up dog waste. This is a matter of great community conflict as well as public health. In a survey of fecal bacteria in local streams conducted by Clean Water Services, dog waste accounted for almost 15% of the problem.
##Sale of animals in public areas: The most disreputable breeders typically sell puppies in public places so that purchasers cannot see the conditions in which the animals live. This provision limits sale of animals to private property and to appropriate public areas (such as the Fairgrounds) when an animal sale is specifically approved.

##Kennel Licensing: The proposed code provides specifically for revocation of a kennel license for criminal animal abuse and neglect, language that is missing from the current code.
##Notification Procedure for Rabies Vaccination Certificates: Under state law (and universal practices globally), dog licenses are used to track rabies vaccinations. This has been one of the most important public health successes of the past century, and continued vigilance is important. We are asking to join other counties in the state, including Multnomah, Clackamas, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Polk and Klamath Counties to change the procedure to have veterinarians notify the County when the vaccine is given (or they may alternatively sell a license for the dog at that time).
##Revision of County Administrative Enforcement Provisions: In addition to the Animal Services code changes, changes are proposed to the County's Administrative Enforcement Code to replace an unwieldy and costly (to the complaining party) process in which citizens can cite each other for code violations. Instead, Animal Services Officers or law enforcement officers would issue all citations for violations of the Animal Services ordinance. It also provides for a new fine schedule that allows for larger fines for serious violations (such as a dog attacking a human) and smaller fines for less serious offenses (such as barking dogs). Under current code, all violations are subject to the same $500 maximum.

Deborah Wood, Animal Services Manager

Virginia Trap Neuter Return legislation 2015

[Addendum November 27, 2014: As expected, more from existing opposition Cat Crisis: TNR equals abandonment by Sharon Quillen Adams of Virginia Alliance of Animal Shelters (VAAS). Again, reference my Nov 21 post giving opposition and support positions.]

Original Post:

Yesterday (November 25, 2014) the Virginia SB 693 Trap, Neuter and Return activity bill was introduced by State Senator Steve Martin (R) Senate District 11 Chesterfield and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources.

Trap, Neuter, and Return activity. Permits a person or organization, such as an animal shelter or humane society, to trap and sterilize a feral cat before returning it to the site where it was trapped, or to a suitable alternative site. The bill excludes a participant in such an activity from the definition of "owner" regarding custody of the subject cat; under current law, abandonment of an animal by an owner is a misdemeanor. The bill also exempts a participant from liability to the owner of a feral cat for capturing, sterilizing, releasing, or providing medical care to the cat.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts:

TNR Progress for Virginia feral cats stonewalled - November 21, 2014

and use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as Virginia, statute, law, legal, legislation, ordinance, code, policy, position statement, trap neuter return or trap neuter release, etc. and scroll down or use your browser's Edit/Find function with the keywords.

Washoe County Nevada legal opinion animal abandonment and TNR

[I'm not going to include all the links to the source info in this post right now as I have done for years. Those interested can contact me or as in recent years online more easily locate the info.]

At a Washoe County commissioners meeting in February 2014 a District Attorney opinion prepared December 2013 was given. It interpreted the return portion of Trap Neuter Return TNR as illegal based on language in the Nevada abandonment statute, and therefore not legal in Washoe County where TNR has been practiced for many years. The opinion states an existing agreement between Washoe County Regional Animal Services WCRAS and Nevada Humane Society NHS can be amended to include "non-adoption disposition of feral cats" (for awareness, Clark Co Nevada has an ordinance for Managed Care of Feral Cats) and a change needed in state statute definition of abandonment (in process but not yet on the published list.) The attorney response was initiated by an inquiry from WCRAS in early 2013 stemming from citizen complaints to WCRAS about feral cats being returned to neighborhoods by NHS and property owners questioned as to capture locations.

Separately I had noticed that John Reed, Chair of the Washoe County Wildlife Advisory Board (part of state Nevada Department of Wildlife NDOW) mentioned at a Mar 2014 meeting that he was considering a presentation about impact of feral cats on wildlife with NHS and a biologist from NDOW. (Reed wrote a lovely article about Nevada Humane NHS in January 2014.)

Changes at Washoe County Regional Animal Services in 2014 have been new structure (from being under the Sheriff’s department to a new department within the county,) interim director Kevin Schiller, search for a new director (was in process but I noticed the selection announced today (Nov 26)
The director of Kern County Animal Services has accepted a new job in Nevada.
Shyanne Schull announced her resignation Tuesday. She'll begin work as director of Washoe County Regional Animal Services in Reno after the first of the year.
and last, WCRAS was required to review / update county code or animal ordinances including feral cats and regulation of Trap Neuter Release for which many notices and comment periods went out to the public beginning in July. The written October 1 2014 staff report was given for the commissioners meeting on October 14. It includes the December 2013 attorney opinion mentioned at the beginning of this post, public input, info in support of TNR, and expected opposition letters and attachments from Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada Department of Agriculture > Animal Industries Div State Veterinarian, and PETA. An October 30 2014 announcement stated that code changes will be finalized in January 2015 after the new director was in place.

Watch here for updates.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords or phrases such as:

legal, law, legislation, statute, ordinance, municipal code, policy, Washoe County, Nevada Humane, trap neuter return, trap neuter release, shelter neuter return snr, no-kill, opposition, wildlife, birds, conservation, and many more!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shelter neuter return SNR aka Return to Field, Feral Freedom etc

I often read comments about animal protection programs that a vocal animal advocate is unfamiliar with, disagrees with, or misinterprets honestly or deliberately. Some do not realize what they do not know! In early November I contacted the leading creators and promoters of Shelter Neuter Return SNR sharing some commentary and reactions* while seeking clarification on my understanding that attempting to identify and return owned cats was a basic practice. I received some helpful responses.

* An Embrace of SNR, With Caveats by Nathan J. Winograd of No Kill Advocacy
* TZI Recommends Shelter Should Not Let You Have Your Lost Cat Back on Yes Biscuit
* Michigan Humane Goes Rogue on Mandatory Holding Periods for Stray Cats Lacking Identification

Below is an example of a citizen's reaction or perspective on a different aspect of SNR:

Published: November 23, 2014 3:00 a.m.
Stray cat episode ends with a lesson
Frank Gray Journal Gazette
It's been about five months since the city adopted a community cat program, and most people would probably agree that it's a lot better than the way stray cats used to be treated.
Under the program, strays are caught, neutered, implanted with a microchip and brought back to where they came from. The idea is that once they are neutered, they won't reproduce, and eventually the population of stray cats will diminish.
It's a more pleasant alternative to catching cats and killing them.
But the program can have unintended consequences, it seems, and it's got one local resident pretty upset.
A few days ago, Karen McClintock was visiting a restaurant in the area of Stellhorn and Maplecrest when a cat approached her. It was cute. It was very friendly. She might have even taken it home, except she has several animals already.
A friend with McClintock said she wanted the cat. But that wouldn't be right, McClintock said, giving away what could be someone else's cat that had just wandered away from home.
She called the SPCA, hoping she could drop the cat off there, but she says she was told they didn't accept strays.
That's technically not correct. The SPCA says it will take strays, but the shelter can handle only so many cats. The shelter could have put McClintock on a waiting list and called her when space opened up, but that meant she would have had to keep the animal, perhaps for several days.
So she took the cat to Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, figuring the cat would be held for a few days and then put up for adoption if the owner, if there was one, never came looking for the cat.
Eventually McClintock decided she'd go to animal control in a few days and adopt the cat herself if the owner didn't show up.
To her shock, though, she found out the animal wasn't held at the shelter but had been declared a community cat, something she wasn't familiar with. It had been almost immediately sent to another organization, which had neutered the animal, cut a notch in its ear and implanted a microchip. It would then drop the cat off approximately where it was found.
McClintock was beside herself and angry that this could happen.
But with a community cat policy, that's the way anything reported as a stray is handled these days.
So if you find a stray and you want it, keep it.

A few days ago Best Friends wrote about SNR in How the U.S. shelter system is failing cats by Francis Battista
The strategy of making cats immediately available for adoption if they don’t have ID is gaining traction in the sheltering community. Chicago recently implemented a new city-wide policy that includes this provision as part of a broader effort to move animals out of the shelter environment more quickly. Meanwhile, in neighboring Michigan, the strategy of eliminating hold times for cats with no ID (implemented by the Michigan Humane Society) appears to be in violation of state law, so it is likely that the property rights issue will have to be sorted out on a state-by-state basis.
I sought and located answers to questions on all aspects of animal and cat issues in 2001 (when little was available) and since. Here is a related resource from my files:

Lost and Found: Humane Societies' Rights and Obligations Regarding Companion Animal Ownership by Patricia Bolen in 2005 on Animal Legal and Historical Center ( .) Read the entire, but note particularly sections on shelter's duties plus holding periods. AnimalLaw is a great resource and appreciation to them again for placing cat and feral cat law information since 2005 when I broached the topics to Prof Favre.

I've mentioned before, the tragic cat issues faced today were made clear at least 15 years ago. For me, this was first learned in 2001 from the 1998 book Save Our Strays by Bob Christiansen. I am deeply appreciative though for each slow step of progress that some front line stakeholders have made.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords shelter neuter return or SNR, return to field or RTF, Feral Freedom, feline shelter intake reduction, cat diversion program, keeping cats out of shelters, trap neuter return, community cat management, feral cat management, nonlethal cat management, comprehensive cat management, and many more!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Stray Animal Control in Northampton County, PA: analysis of community needs

I read the Animal Control assessment below on October 26, 2014 and now getting posting! Have for years located, retained, and shared similar animal control or animal protection info by cities or counties or states or animal shelters and organizations because it is (still) somewhat rare to find even basic information. Such reports will often be incomplete or contain questionable information but at least it is an attempt by some animal entities to do a basic assessment of what the animal shelter or community has and what is needed. Sometimes these are done by staff in the source government, other times a consultant will be hired; they have also been done by knowledgeable volunteer animal advocates or animal nonprofits. In this case, one notes Section II was prepared by consultants Humane Society Management Services, LLC. John Snyder retired from Humane Society of the US in summer 2011. (There have been a variety of consultants in animal protection including the more recent "no-kill" consultants. Maybe I'll list them some time.)

Analysis of Community Needs: Stray Animal Control in Northampton County, PA
August 2013

Section I: The Handling of Stray Dogs in Northampton County
Prepared by David L. Woglom, Associate Director for Public Service Lafayette College, Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Center for the
Study of State and Local Government

Section II: Stray Animal Facilities and Management: Models and Options for Northampton County
Prepared by Karel Minor, Chief Executive Officer, Damon March, Chief Operating Officer; and John Snyder, Consultant Humane Society Management Services, LLC

This reported was supported by a grant provided by the Northampton County Gaming Revenue and Economic Redevelopment Authority


This reported has outlined a wide range of service models. These range from the least beneficial to animals, government and residents; merely shipping off a the 808 stray dogs handled by municipalities each year to another county to face a 50% or higher euthanasia rate; to comprehensive service models in which a high end estimate of perhaps 6,000 animals of all species, stray and
relinquished, could be housed, cared for and adopted with a save rate as high as 90%. Although an enormous divide exists between the two levels of service and the number saved- up to 7.5 times more assisted and saved- there divide between the cost to provide these two disparate level of service to the community could be as low as a multiple of 1.5 to 4 times.

Nationally, the cost of municipal animal control services is estimated to be $4 per resident 9. In Northampton County, with a 2010 population of 298,476, that would amount to $1.2 million dollars. This is an amount which would allow Northampton to provide spectacular services to its animals and residents if it was approached in a well thought out, thoroughly planned, and sustainable fashion. Certainly anything less than this amount would provide more service and value which is currently being offered: next to nothing.

Northampton County is fortunate in some ways to have been forced into a position of taking action. Animal welfare efforts are undergoing a renaissance in Pennsylvania as the performance of many of its organizations and the models under which they operate are improving and beginning to keep pace with better models around the nation after decades of stagnation. State and local government are
now, by choice or by necessity, beginning to take on the responsibility of community animal control. And increasingly, the public expects that our communities will direct the resources needed to keep both people and animals safe and secure. Northampton has an opportunity to become a leading humane community in Pennsylvania and do so in an effective, efficient, and fiscally responsible
manner. This report provides many means of accomplishing those possibilities should Northampton County’s governments and resident determine they have the will to do so.

Multiple nonlethal approaches needed to deal with cat issues

Read this when published a few days ago.

Creative approach is needed to deal with cat issues
Diane Crocker
Published on November 19, 2014

[excerpts, always read entire]

The Newfoundland and Labrador Landbird Recovery Team has undertaken a project to help municipalities in the province find ways to deal with cat issues.

Darroch Whitaker of the Newfoundland and Labrador Landbird Recovery Team spoke at a meeting of the Humber Natural History Society in Corner Brook on Tuesday night.

That’s because scientific research is showing that cats — in particular feral and free-roaming cats (pet cats that are allowed outside) — are the main threats facing wild birds in North America.
In terms of direct mortality of birds, things like motor vehicles, power lines, wind farms and oil spills, cats count for about 70 per cent of all bird mortality in Canada.

And while it brings with it questions of inhumane treatment of animals, when compared to trap, neuter and release, Whitaker doesn’t think euthanization of cats should be written off.
He said the case can also be made that trap, neuter and release is not humane.
“You’re essentially re-abandoning them,” he said
But Whitaker also thinks that you have to be more creative than looking to euthanization as the only alternative, and that is what the recovery team is doing.
Some ideas discussed so far include the licensing of cats with different fees depending on if it is spayed or neutered, breaking the economic and geographic barriers to getting cats spayed or neutered, the use of devices to reduce the ability of cats to catch birds and education for pet owners on the dangers of letting their cats outside.
No new info here. While it's good to make new people aware of the long-existing multiple and concurrent nonlethal actions and programs needed to help cats and birds, the negatives of this effort above are the use of some "scientific research" as fact and "euthanization" or killing.

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previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: using the search function at top left menu bar of blog with keywords such as blancher, Cats in Canada, Cats and Birds in Canada, Canada bird conservation strategies, Environment Canada, Craig Machtans, Partners in Flight or PIF, avian mortality, bird deaths, anthropogenic, human dimensions, Tom Will, Nico Dauphine, Peter Marra, Scott Loss, American Bird Conservancy or ABC, The Wildlife Society or TWS, US Fish and Wildlife or FWS, Tri Shared Vision,, NAOC, NABCI, AFWA or, opposition or opponents, and many more!