Friday, October 31, 2014

Nuisance Cat Ordinance Pulled From Charleston Council Agenda (WV)

One of the cat challenges observed and documented since I became aware in 2001. This is Charleston West Virginia, not South Carolina!

Nuisance Cat Ordinance Pulled From Charleston Council Agenda
Updated: Thursday, October 30, 2014 | Latasha Hughes, Taisha Walker, Jeff Morris

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The nuisance cat ordinance has been pulled from Charleston City Council's Monday agenda.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said that the bill has been removed from the agenda to allow more time to understand the problem and work with the Kanawha Humane Association for a better solution.

The bill, the latest version of which was approved Tuesday night by the Ordinance and Rules Committee, said that a property owner can call and have unwanted cats that wander onto their property removed, and then the cats’ owners can be fined.

But some cat owners have argued the ordinance would do more harm than good.

Josh Kent, a member on the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association board, said Charleston has a feral cat problem, not a nuisance cat issue.

Jack Harrison, chairman of the Ordinance and Rules Committee, disagrees. He said the ordinance is basically designed so that homeowner who is experiencing an unwanted cat on their property has a mechanism to call and have the cat picked up. The humane officer would then have to take the cat to the animal shelter. The cat's owner would have to pay $30 fine (if it's a first offense) to retrieve the animal.

Kent said the proposed ordinance is flawed because it would cost the pet owner, humane officers and the shelter additional money. He said the ordinance would become a nuisance to the local shelter, which is already overpopulated with 139 cats and only 92 cages. He said that doesn't include kittens, nor does it address the city's real problem, feral cats, without owners.

Harrison said the ordinance isn't perfect, but it's a start.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* use your favorite search engine with key phrase Charleston West Virginia feral cats and so on to explore more about this situation.
* see Alley Cat Allies > Future Five > Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association Charleston, West Virginia
* previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts using search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as Charleston, nuisance, ordinance, municipal code, county commissioners, city councilors and so on!

In my extensive files are all references related to cat policy or legal -- including feral cat or freeroaming cat or community cat or trap neuter return tnr and legislation, statute, ordinance, municipal code, etc. and I include a segment on Cat Management in Communities (needs updating!) during the wait for experts to provide leadership and guidance. Leading or just vocal stakeholders pro or con occasionally provide opinions and interpretations. I may post the latest if have an opportunity.

Polk County FL Parks Ordinance revision to clarify that abandonment, feeding of feral cats prohibited

On the Tuesday November 4 2014 agenda for Polk County Board of County Commissioners BOCC meeting
35. Public Hearing to consider adopting an Ordinance repealing Ordinance 77-009 and its Amendments, 81-012, 09-064, 10-084, and 11-021, which set forth the rules and regulations for the parks and recreation areas, and Ordinance 93-026 which authorized fees for parks and recreation areas, and updating and combining them into one ordinance.
Attachment: Parks Ordinance 110414.pdf
Agenda Item 35
Revisions/additions include:
Section 2.9 (B), Protection and Preservation of Wildlife, has been revised to clarify that abandonment and/or feeding of feral animals (including cats) is prohibited in county parks.
Proposed new wording from the Attachment Parks Ordinance 110414.pdf
[excerpt, always read entire]
SECTION 2.9: Protection and Preservation of Wildlife
B. No person shall place, dump, abandon, feed or leave any animal, reptile or bird, either wild, feral, or domestic including but not limited to cats, dogs, swine, snakes, rabbits, lizards, ducks, chickens, and roosters, within any county park.
I looked up a previous ordinance version where B. was
No person shall place, dump, abandon or leave any animal, reptile or bird, either wild or domestic.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For some history, use your favorite internet search engine with phrases Polk County Florida feral cats or Saddle Creek Park feral cats.

previous related Feral Cat Blog! use keywords such as ordinance, park or parks, abandonment, feeding, Polk County, Florida, and many more!

cat culling increased feral cat abundance and activity

in Wildlife Research, published by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is Australia's national science agency)d
Ecology, Management and Conservation in Natural and Modified Habitats
Just Accepted
This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Effects of low-level culling of feral cats in open populations: a case study from the forests of southern Tasmania
Billie Lazenby, Nicholas Mooney, Christopher Dickman


Context. Feral cats (Felis catus) threaten biodiversity in many parts of the world, including Australia. Low-level culling is often used to reduce their impact, but in open cat populations the effectiveness of culling is uncertain. This is partly because options for assessing this management action have been restricted to estimating cat activity rather than abundance.
Aims. We measured the response, including relative abundance, of feral cats to a 13-month pulse of low-level culling in two open sites in southern Tasmania.
Methods. To do this we used remote cameras and our analysis included identification of individual feral cats. We compared estimates of relative abundance obtained via capture-mark-recapture and minimum numbers known to be alive, and estimates of activity obtained using probability of detection and general index methods, pre- and post-culling. We also compared trends in cat activity and abundance over the same time period at two further sites where culling was not conducted.
Key results. Contrary to expectation, the relative abundance and activity of feral cats increased in the cull-sites, even though the numbers of cats captured per unit effort during the culling period declined. Increases in minimum numbers of cats known to be alive ranged from 75 – 211% during the culling period compared to pre and post cull estimates, and probably occurred due to influxes of new individuals after dominant resident cats were removed.
Conclusions. Our results show that low-level ad hoc culling of feral cats can have unwanted and unexpected outcomes, and confirm the importance of monitoring if such management actions are implemented.
Implications. If culling is used to reduce cat-impacts in open populations, it should be as part of a multi-faceted approach and may need to be strategic, systematic and ongoing if it is to be effective.
WR14030 Accepted 18 October 2014

© CSIRO 2014

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As I've previously mentioned about immigration
I've often noticed that federal or state wildlife agency predator eradication projects also have the problem of new animals or cats (immigration, abandonment, new births) which opponents to freeroam cats claim as a problem of Trap Neuter Release! Unfortunately every week there are new "science" journal articles in which the authors plan multiple ways in which eradication (killing) can be better done.
and I've regularly urged addressing the varying owned and unowned cat issues with concurrent, comprehensive and multi-pronged initiatives and programs -- nonlethal solutions only.

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as Dickman, Australia, immigration, cull or culling, eradication, cat removal, lethal cat control, "humane" "euthanasia", nonlethal community cat management, and many more! From the results, then use your browser's edit/find for the keywords and continue scrolling down all the posts.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shelter Neuter Return SNR effect on shelter cat intakes and euthanasia

Thanks Karen and Jon for your ongoing work!

Johnson and Cicirelli
Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0
[full text available!]
Study of the effect on shelter cat intakes and euthanasia from a shelter neuter return project of 10,080 cats from March 2010 to June 2014
Karen L. Johnson 1 and Jon Cicirelli 2

1 National Pet Alliance, San Jose, CA, United States
2 San Jose Animal Care and Services, San Jose, CA, United States


Cat impoundments were increasing at the municipal San Jose animal shelter in 2009, despite long-term successful low cost sterilization programs and attempts to lower the euthanasia rate of treatable-rehabilitatable impounds beginning in 2008. San Jose Animal Care and Services implemented a new strategy designed to control overall feral cat reproduction by altering and returning feral cats entering the shelter system, rather than euthanizing the cats. The purpose of this case study was to determine how the program affected the shelter cat intakes over time. In just over four years, 10,080 individual healthy adult feral cats, out of 11,423 impounded at the shelter during this time frame, were altered and returned to their site of capture. Included in the 11,423 cats were 862 cats impounded from one to four additional times for a total of 958 (9.5%) recaptures of the previously altered 10,080 cats. The remaining 385 healthy feral cats were euthanized at the shelter from March 2010 to June 2014. Four years into the program, researchers observed cat and kitten impounds decreased 29.1%; euthanasia decreased from over 70% of intakes in 2009, to 23% in 2014. Euthanasia in the shelter for Upper Respiratory Disease decreased 99%; dead cat pick up off the streets declined 20%. Dog impounds did not similarly decline over the four years. No other laws or program changes were implemented since the beginning of the program.

Subjects Veterinary Medicine
Keywords Shelter, Trap, Neuter, Return, Feral cat, Population control, Cat euthanasia, Population policy


The SNR program is recommended to other communities wishing to reduce the euthanasia of healthy cats, increase save rates, lower cat impoundments, and reduce free roaming cat populations.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as
Karen Johnson, Cicirelli, Shelter Neuter Return SNR, Return to Field RTF, Feral Freedom, Feline Shelter Intake Reduction, Keeping Cats Out of Shelters, Community Cat Diversion, Trap Neuter Return TNR, Trap Neuter Release TNR, Feral Freedom, Reduce Shelter Cat Intake, rethinking cats, DuCharme, Levy, Community Cat Management, Feral Cat Management, animal shelter statistics, and many more!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Intl wildlife rehabilitation feral cats and dogs position statement

In September 2014 the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) posted their new position statement on Feral Cats and Dogs.

[beginning paragraph, always read entire]

Wildlife rehabilitators around the globe have at least one thing in common—they can all expect to be presented with the victims of cats (Felis catus) and dogs (Canis domesticus) – be they birds, mammals, or reptiles, over the course of their practice. Free-roaming cats and dogs, whether feral or pets, will stalk, chase, hunt, and kill prey if given the opportunity. The impacts of cats and dogs may be seen or felt directly through injury and predation. Other impacts may be less obvious such as behavioral disturbance and disease transmission. The intensity and effects of those interactions between domestic and wildlife populations varies, depending on context and other stressors on a particular wild population, but the impact of cats and dogs on individual birds, mammals, and reptiles is indisputable.

IWRC Guidelines for Wildlife Rehabilitation
The US National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association (NWRA) and The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) have jointly published the industry standard in rehabilitation management since 1989.
Position Statements [click on Feral Cats and Dogs]
IWRC has begun creating position statements on current issues involving wildlife rehabilitation. These statements are meant to compliment the Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation and provide useful information for policy makers and individual rehabilitators.

The IWRC 2014 symposium will be held December 1-6 in Cincinnati Ohio, Working Together for Species Survival. download pdf IWRC 2014 Symposium Schedule with Abstracts

a cat-related presentation:

Mayhem and Carnage on the Urban Landscape: Tracking Two Years of Phone Data from Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Care Center
Lacy Campbell Audubon Society of Portland Wildlife Care Center
The Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center (WCC) is the busiest Wildlife Care Center in Oregon and the only facility in the Portland Metro area that is available to respond to the public’s concerns regarding urban wildlife 365 days a year. The WCC treats over 3,000 injured and/or orphaned
wildlife, and responds to more than 10,000 wildlife related phone calls in an average year. Since 2011 we have been tracking phone calls to our center using a standardized data collection form. We collect: time and date, caller identification and contact info, species location, identification and call type. We record call details, advice given and caller satisfaction. We collected and analyzed caller data from 2011- 2013. The dataset was analyzed using a variety of parameters including: temporal (day, week, and month) and spatial distributions (Metropolitan region, national), call type (window strike, cat caught, general natural history etc.), specific species impacted and caller satisfaction. For example we can perform analysis on calls pertaining to window strikes or cat attacks and look at temporal and spatial distribution of calls as well as caller satisfaction to be able to refine our outreach to the public. This information will be very valuable in documenting how humans and wildlife interact on our urban landscape, how to identify and prioritize existing and emerging threats to wildlife and help us better target and engage the public through educational outreach and materials.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

See previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts using the search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords Portland Audubon, wildlife rehabilitation or rehabilitator, and so on.

Palen solar power tower project withdrawn

I read in late September:

Massive Solar Power Project for California Desert Scrapped
by Chris Clarke
September 26, 2014 5:10 PM
The consortium of solar companies seeking to build a 500-megawatt solar power tower project in Riverside County has formally withdrawn the project's application from consideration by the California Energy Commission.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

previous related Feral Cat Blog! post:

Resource Equivalency Analysis for cat control program as compensatory mitigation for incidental take of songbirds July 20, 2014

Maui feral cat survey Kanahā State Park and ʻĪao Valley

In September 2013 I noticed an announcement for a public meeting to discuss feral cats and chickens on Maui. I read in September 2014 that results of a preliminary survey would be presented at a public meeting October 14. Below is a link to a summary news article . And yes of course, as with most information, advocates or opponents will use it as they will!

1,100 cats estimated near bird sanctuary
Survey conducted in areas of Kanaha Beach Park, Iao Valley
October 20, 2014
By EILEEN CHAO, The Maui News

KIHEI - About 1,100 free-roaming and feral cats loiter around Kanaha Beach Park and surrounding areas in Kahului, according to a December survey, and researchers say "serious management attention" should be paid to control the cat population in that region.
The surveyed area includes Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, which endangered species such as the Hawaiian coot (alae), the Hawaiian duck (koloa) and the Hawaiian stilt (ae'o) call home. While the survey showed that cats did not congregate in exorbitant numbers at the sanctuary, the community should still make efforts to better manage the area to ensure that native species are protected, experts said.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

see previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts using the search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as Hawaii, Hadidian, John Boone, invasive, alien, predation, Lepczyk, Lohr, ACCD, and many more!

new Bowie Maryland cat Trap Neuter Return group

Monday, October 20, 2014
Bowie cat lovers unite to address growing feral cat population
Group finds alternatives to euthanasia
A group of about 30 residents and animal experts gathered Oct. 15 to discuss forming a robust “Trap-Neuter-Release” program in Bowie. The goal of TNR programs is to capture free-roaming cats, neuter or spay them, then release them back into the wild so that the population eventually decreases, said Bowie animal control officer Mike Morreale.

The Oct. 15 meeting was the first time cat caretakers met in a coordinated effort to develop a TNR program, said Connie Carter of Bowie, who co-runs the animal charity organization Connie and Teri 4 Animals and convened the meeting.
Carter and her business partner, Teri Stumpf of Bowie, are in the process of launching an animal assistance program that will provide resources and assistance to caretakers and pet owners who need help caring for their animals, Carter said.

An interesting aspect of this news is that Prince Georges County Maryland has had another feral cat / TNR nonprofit in Bowie for many years. As I've seen versions of in many other communities, this might be due to a variety of reasons. Sometimes a new group is unaware of other efforts, organizations and resources in their own community (one of the reasons in 2002 I created AnimalResources and listings of neuter/spay and feral cat / TNR resources) or they have a different mission, vision or area covered, or there is conflict, or simply additional or more effective resources are needed, or this news article was focused on this specific group, and so on.

Another interesting note is that City of Bowie makes reference on their website to the significant Prince Georges County eartip law (CB-41-2012 Animal Control – Ear Tipped Cats) which became effective in January 2013 but Prince Georges County Animal Management does not. (This law can be credited to individuals and the county council.) As Councilwoman Mary Lehman described in her District 1 News, December 2012
Lowering Animal Euthanasia Rates (CB-41-2012)
Prince George's County Animal Management has the region's worst euthanasia rates. I rewrote the impound procedures for ear-tipped feral cats to limit when and where they can be impounded and allow animal rescue organizations to retrieve them from the shelter. The ear tip is a sign the cat has been neutered, vaccinated against rabies and is being cared for by someone in the community. Previously, ear-tipped cats were treated the same as other feral cats and almost all were euthanized. This change is a best practice used in Baltimore City, Fairfax County, Arlington County and the District of Columbia.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

TWS Wildlife Society conference 2014 > freeroam cats

Finally specifics on the program! The following presentations relate to feral freeroam domestic cats or related interests. This was a very brief review so will look again at the entire program.

The Wildlife Society 21st Annual Conference
October 25-30 2014
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

downloadable pdf: TWS Pittsburgh 2014 Program

Non-Native Species: An Animal Welfare Perspective
John Hadidian; Katie Lisnik
[see previous related posts using keywords Hadidian and Lisnik in search box at left top of blog]

Fitoaty, Feral Cats, and Fossas: The Occurrence of the Black Forest Cat in Madagascar’s NE Rainforests
Hailey M Boone; Zachary Farris; Marcella J Kelly; Sarah Karpanty; Asia Murphy

Activity Patterns and Interspecific Interactions of Free-Ranging Domestic Cats at Urban Feeding Stations
Austin Klais; Rachael E Urbanek; Catherine Normand

Feral Cat Population Abundance and Multi-Scale Seasonal Habitat Use in an Exurban Landscape
Catherine M Normand; Rachael E Urbanek
[see previous related posts using keyword Urbanek in search box at left top of blog]

Session 31: Contributed Papers
Conservation and Management of Birds
Moderator: Ian Gregg, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Spring Mills, PA
Nest Predator Identity in Forest Parks and Adjacent Residential Neighborhoods
Jennifer S Malpass; Amanda D Rodewald; Laura J Kearns
[see previous related posts using keywords Rodewald and Kearns in search box at left top of blog]

Session 32: Contributed Papers
Human Dimensions and Conservation Education
Moderator: Coren Jagnow, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Harrisburg, PA
Applying Social Science to Inform Management of Owned Outdoor Cats in Urbanizing Landscapes
Ashley Gramza; Tara Teel; Susan VandeWoude; Kevin Crooks
[see previous related posts using keywords Gramza, Teel, VandeWoude or Crooks in search bar at left top of blog.
I noticed Gramza's thesis went online about October 3 2014; she gave several presentations in 2014 under its title, Applying social science to inform conservation solutions regarding owned outdoor cats in urbanizing landscapes, Gramza.]

Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma Gondii in White-Tailed Deer and Free-Roaming Cats Across a Suburban to Urban Gradient in Northeastern Ohio
Greg Ballash
[read this paper first week of October 2014 when it went online, have not posted yet Toxo White-Tailed Deer and Freeroam Cats Northeastern Ohio]

Determining Spatial and Temporal Overlaps of Endangered Small Mammals and Their Invasive Predators in the Florida Keys: Inference from Camera Traps
Michael Cove; Ted Simons; Beth Gardner; Allan O’Connell; Phillip Hughes
[see three Feral Cat Blog! posts in last few days and many previous about this Florida Keys Predator Study and search with keywords Florida Keys Michael Cove, Ted Simons, Beth Gardner, Allan O'Connell, Phillip Hughes.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

other previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as: The Wildlife Society TWS, Vertebrate Pest, invasive, cat predation, cat management, conference, opposition, and many more!

Alabama veterinarian battle over spay/neuter clinics

still going on ...

Cat fight! Alabama veterinary organizations battling each other over spay/neuter clinics
Joey Kennedy
October 19, 2014


Two state veterinarian professional groups are battling each other over their positions on low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter services.

The Alabama Veterinary Medical Association's top leaders are meeting today to discuss presenting a bill to the Legislature to change the state Practice Act that governs veterinary medicine to allow the non-profit spay/neuter clinics to operate.

But the Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association, a group formed primarily to fight the nonprofit clinics and to limit supposed competition from low-cost veterinary clinics, is once again actively lobbying against any change that would allow nonprofit clinics to operate.

The AVPOA has used misinformation in its campaign over the years against the nonprofit clinics. Its members have been behind the charges against Dr. William Weber and Dr. Margaret Ferrell, both vets of record with the Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic.

freeroaming cats > difficult conversations, ethics

Dr. Margaret Slater on the ASPCA blog:

Why Are Conversations About Free-Roaming Cats So Difficult?
I recently met with a philosopher who has been writing about animals and values and how we think about different animals differently. ...

... Dr. Clare Palmer, the philosopher, had also just published a chapter on the conflicts about TNR vs. trap and euthanize, and how human values lead to the arguments for and against each option. I found it fascinating, and she included comments on how the existing philosophical theory would lean in different cat-related situations.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: using keyword Clare Palmer

Value Conflicts in Feral Cat Management: Trap-Neuter-Return or Trap-Euthanise? - May 06, 2014

Ethics Conservation and Animal Welfare: Wildlife and Outdoor Cats - October 05, 2012

Routine Neuter of Companion Animals? - July 28, 2012

also enter related keywords in the search box at left of top blue menu bar such as ethics, cat management, community cat management nonlethal, nonlethal solutions, and many more!

~Barb, AnimalResources - connecting open minds to accelerate knowledge, resources and nonlethal animal protection solutions

Saturday, October 18, 2014

free-ranging cats important to wild felid biologists - Michael Cove

[see previous posts on the Florida Keys Predator Study, including two yesterday: Florida Keys Predator Study > spatial temporal overlaps of endangered woodrats cottonmouse and cat predators and federal feral cat trapping Florida Keys update]

The Wild Felid Research and Management Association
The Wild Felid Monitor
Summer 2014, Volume 7, Issue 2

In this issue. This issue’s invited article on free-ranging cats; why they matter by Michael Cove (page 14) discusses biological and ecological problems caused by the increasing numbers of feral and free-ranging domestic cats. In 2011 The Wildlife Society (TWS) approved a position statement on this issue with 10 policy points. One of the opening lines is “Exotic species are recognized as one of the most widespread and serious threats to the integrity of native wildlife populations and natural ecosystems.” If you haven’t seen the statement, it is worth a read. It is on the WFA website under ‘news.’
[excerpts, always read entire]
Why are free-ranging domestic cats important to wild felid biologists?

Michael Cove, PhD Candidate, Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University,

Continuing research on free-ranging cats

As part of my dissertation research, I am pairing camera trap data with spatial capture-recapture models to estimate feral and free-ranging cat abundance and movement and their effects on endangered small mammals within the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Pelage patterns, permanent markings, and individual behavior at cameras have enabled me to identify a high proportion of cats for analyses. Preliminary findings have already revealed that cats move further into protected areas than previously suggested by Kays and DeWan (2004) who observed most cats within 50 m of the forest edge. Some pet cats with collars were found greater than 500m from the closest residential homes, while other cats (presumed to be feral) were identified at camera trap sites greater than 8 km apart. The long distance movements may be reduced in areas where wild felids and other large predators potentially limit the distribution of feral and owned cats. Since habitat and landscape changes induced by humans are likely the primary causes of high feral and free-ranging cat abundance and strong overlap with wild felids, the issues and effects associated with them will likely increase in the future.

Cultural Concerns, TNR, and responsible management

Cats have achieved the status of popular culture icons, particularly among cat advocacy groups and internet video searchers. Given such popularity among advocacy groups, there is considerable debate regarding management of free-ranging cats. The most common management practice promoted by cat advocacy groups is trap neuter-release (TNR – more appropriately “reabandon”). Although groups such as The Wildlife Society, the AVMA Committee on Environmental Issues, and the American Bird Conservancy (among others) oppose TNR, all groups agree that there are too many homeless cats and management is necessary. Many opponents of TNR support the removal of feral and free-ranging cats from the environment and advocate for adoption when possible. When adoption is unfeasible, they support euthanasia as more humane than reabandonment of cats into the wild. Additionally, The American Bird Conservancy has a “Cats Indoors” campaign, which provides useful resources and data to educate the public (who may lack professional training in ecology or wildlife science) about the responsible ownership of cats and the importance of keeping them inside to protect birds and other wildlife. Wild felid biologists must realize that the feral and free-ranging cat issue affects more than birds and small mammals; it affect wild cats all across the globe. This is particularly worrisome considering the goal of many feral cat advocates is to provide cats the status of “legally protected wildlife”. We should make our concerns public and be sure to support cat legislation and responsible management plans.

Trap Neuter Release Jan 2015 DePaul University College of Law

Events - DePaul University College of Law


For the 2014-2015 academic year, the Center will be focusing on issues relating specifically to companion animals. These four events, which include two hour-and-a-half lunchtime panel discussions and two three-hour seminars, will provide valuable insights into these matters to attorneys, students, and the general public.

Trap Neuter Release--January 2015
A humane method for controlling the feral cat population, Trap Neuter Release programs enable people to bring cats to a veterinarian where they can be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped before being monitored by a feral-neighborhood cat caregiver. Since 2007, Cook County has adopted a TNR ordinance. This event will discuss the benefits of these programs, their status across the nation, the controversy surrounding feral cats, and local efforts in Chicago

more Scott Loss media on "cats kill billions" and other bird mortality

Continuation of yesterday's post: 2014 joint ornithologists conference > cats Loss Will Marra

Scott Loss (co-author of Impact of Cats on Birds in Nature, January 2013) just presented again:

The Environmentor v3n2 October November 2014
The Internet Site for Environmental Information in Oklahoma


Ornithological Society
2014 Fall Meeting
October 10–12
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

You are cordially invited to the fall 2014 technical meeting of the OOS at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Banquet Speaker: We are pleased this year to host as our banquet speaker Dr. Scott Loss, Assistant Professor in the department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at OSU. Scott joined our faculty in 2013 following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center where he conducted groundbreaking work on sources of mortality affecting wild birds. His work has been cited more than 600 times in the peer-reviewed literature, and has been featured many hundreds of times in national and international news outlets.
For our banquet presentation, Scott will present A Comparison of Different Sources of Accidental Human-Caused Bird Mortality in the US.

Hard to miss the increasing build-up of Dr. Scott's work!, which now includes not only the estimated impact of cats on birds but the later estimates by Loss Will Marra on the other human causes of bird mortality. See my November 2013 post impact of cats on wildlife media coverage and December 2013 post Cats kill more billions - claimed.

Loss's early 2014 CV now lists many citations of media coverage about "cats kill billions" which is a reflection of media ignorance and hype, parroting on social media by a naive public as well as the restrengthened communication and media strategies of the vocal opponents to freeroam cats and Trap Neuter Return who make good use of the long-established and extensive network of bird wildlife and conservation groups, state land university programs, and layers of government agencies and programs for wildlife, environment, health.

Research on feral and free-ranging pet cat impacts on U.S. wildlife
• Paper in Nature Communications covered by >300 media outlets worldwide, including most major television and radio outlets.
• “Cats kill billions” the #1 trending topic on both Google and Yahoo! on 1-29-13.
• New York Times article “That cuddly kitty is deadlier than you think” the most downloaded and most emailed article of the week for
• Smithsonian Office of Public Affairs estimated media coverage (not including TV) reached ≥550 million unique viewers and generated media attention equivalent to ≥$5.2 million spent on advertising.
• Paper ranked #62 globally on Altmetric 2013 top 100 of academic research (

Cat Press Highlights:
United States:
• “Canadian and U.S. studies agree: Cats are the most lethal threat to birds”. 1-6-14. Bird Watching Magazine.
• "Cats Kill Billions of Animals Annually, Study Finds". 1-29-2013. ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and
• "On the Hunt" 1-29-2013. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and
• "Study: Cats kill billions of animals a year". 1-29-13. CBS This Morning and
• "Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions of Creatures Every Year" 1-29-13. NPR Radio
• "Behind Cute Face, A Cold-Blooded Killer: Study Finds Cats Kill Billions of Animals" 1-29-13. NPR News
• "That Cuddly Killer is Deadlier Than You Think" 1-29-13. New York Times (most emailed and shared article of the week).
• "Cats, Soft and Deadly" 1-30-13. New York Times Editorial.
• "Cats Kill up to 3.7B Birds Annually" 1-29-13. USA Today.
• "Outdoor Cats Kill Between 1.4 and 3.7 Billion Birds A Year, Study Says" 1-31-13. Washington Post
• "Cats Kill 2.4 Billion Birds Annually" 1-31-13. Smithsonian Science
• "Cats Kill Billions of Small Critters Each Year" 1-29-13. Smithsonian Magazine
• "Cats Kill More Than One Billion Birds Each Year" 2-23-13. Science News
• "When Domesticated Cats Turn Deadly" 1-30-13. Voice of America
• "Hello Kitty! Please Don't Kill Me!" 1-29-13. National Geographic
• "Cats Kill Billions of Animals A Year" 1-29-13. Discovery News
• "Domestic Cats Kill Billions of Mice and Birds Per Year, Study Estimates" 1-30-2013. Huffington Post
• "Free-roaming Cats are Top Bird Killer Researchers Say" 1-29-13. Bloomberg News International:
• "Cats Killing Billions of Animals in the US" 1-29-13. BBC. Front page story on BBC News Website.
• "Killer Cats Take Down Billions of Birds, Report Says" 1-29-13. CBC News.
• "Killer cats leave billions of avian, rodent victims, study finds" 1-31-13. CNN International
• "Cats Are Responsible For Killing Billions Of Animals In The US, Warn Scientists" 1-30-13. Huffington Post UK
• "Cats killing billions of animals in US" 1-30-13. News Track India
• "Cats in US kill billions of birds, mammals" 1-30-13. The Australian
• "'Stone-cold serial killers': Domestic cats slaughter billions upon billions of animals in US every year" 1-30-13. The Independent
• "The Biggest Threat to U.S. Wildlife? Cats" 1-31-13. Time Magazine Europe
• "Cats responsible for 15 billion deaths a year" 1-31-13. Voice of Russia
• "US study says cats kill 'billions" 1-30-13. The New Zealand Herald
• "Loving and Cute Cats – Greatest Threat to Wildlife" 1-30-13. Top News Arab Emirates

Also on the CV, an interesting grant -- maybe evaluation of biases influencing estimates of bird mortality by cats can be funded!!!
U.S. Geological Survey; Research Work Order #47; Amount: $85,000; Period of Service: 4-30-13 to 12-31-15. Title: “Systematic analysis of collision mortality data to investigate impacts of wind energy development on U.S. wildlife and to evaluate biases influencing mortality estimates.”

For the record, note the February 2014 presentation by Loss at the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Biomedical Sciences Spring Seminar (Research):

Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine – Seminar Series. “Predation of US wildlife by free-ranging domestic cats: A systematic data-driven approach to mortality estimation.”

As often the case at institutions like universities, different departments (or even the same) have what can seem like conflicting programs. In Stillwater Oklahoma, the President of the nonprofit Trap Neuter Return organization, Operation Catnip Stillwater is Dr. Lesa Staubus of the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. See the great article on page 60 of VetCetera Fall 2013, the OSU Vet magazine.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Florida Keys Predator Study > spatial temporal overlaps of endangered woodrats cottonmouse and cat predators

Central Plains Society of Mammalogists
2014 Annual Meeting
Bull Shoals Field Station, Missouri State University
10-11 October 2014

downloadable pdf: Central Plains Society of Mammalogists 2014 ABSTRACTS

Determining spatial and temporal overlaps of endangered small mammals and their invasive predators in the Florida Keys: inference from camera traps.
Michael Cove* and Ted Simons, USGS, NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Beth Gardner, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, and Allan O’Connell, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

The Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli) and Key Largo cottonmouse (Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola) are both federally endangered subspecies endemic to the Florida Keys. Although a variety of confounding broad-scale factors (e.g., sea level rise, climate change) presumably threaten these two species, invasive predators such as domestic cats (Felis catus) mare believed to play a major threat to these small mammals. Management strategies have focused on habitat restoration and variable amounts of predator control over the years; however, research on predator population dynamics and their interactions with these endangered subspecies is limited and has not yielded strong inference. Thus, our objectives were to integrate noninvasive sampling and modeling procedures to estimate woodrat and cottonmouse occurrence and their co-occurrence with predator populations. We used camera traps set to specifically target the small mammals and separate but concurrent surveys of predators to determine direct and indirect effects. Preliminary results reveal that the endangered small mammals exhibit high spatial and temporal overlap with the invasive predators. As invasive predator management continues, we will use dynamic occupancy models to determine these relationships and evaluate its effectiveness for endangered species recovery.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts:
Southeast Partners in Flight Conference - March 2012
Key Largo woodrat and cats project - July 2012
Florida Keys Predator Study Update - July 2012
Florida Keys Predator Study - Michael Cove - December 2012
Federal feral cat trapping Florida Keys - October 2014
Feral Cat Blog! keyword Florida Keys
and many more!

UFAW Intl Animal Welfare Science Symposium 2015 > cats

Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW)
UFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium
Animal Populations – World Resources and Animal Welfare
Zagreb, Croatia 14-15th July 2015

[excerpt, always read entire]

This meeting will consider issues surrounding the rationales and methodologies of humane control of animal populations (kept and free-living) in pursuit of preserving biodiversity and minimizing welfare risks to animals.

Programme: The following speakers have already been confirmed:

•Professor Donald Broom (University of Cambridge, UK) ‘New directions for sustainable animal production systems and the role of animal welfare’
•Professor David Fraser (University of British Columbia, Canada) ‘Cars, cats, climate change and other neglected problems of animal welfare’
•Professor David Macdonald (University of Oxford, UK) ‘Animal welfare: From rough trade to compassionate conservation’
•Professor Frauke Ohl (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands) ‘Considering animal welfare: Does context matter?’

Contributing to the symposium:
UFAW is inviting further contributions to the symposium on subjects related to the theme of humane control of animal populations. Areas that we would be interested in this conference addressing include, but are not limited to, contributions relating to:
•Domestic animal/wildlife conflicts, e.g. feral dogs, domestic cats
. . .
•Humane control of invasive vertebrates
•The implications for wildlife and their resources of maintaining unwanted domesticated animals
. . .

PetSmart Charities 2014 US Shelter Pet Report

Gratifying to see the animal issues progressing that I early identified (from various no kill pioneers) and focused on, although needlessly delayed and slow by some.

PetSmart Charities 2014 U.S. Shelter Pet Report

"Attitudes on Pet Homelessness Are Shifting"

Humane Solutions Gain Ground
Adoption, Spay/Neuter Gain Acceptance
Adoption is the Best Option, for Families and Shelter Pets
With So Many Pets in Shelters, Why Would People Choose Not to Adopt a Pet?
Spay/Neuter Efforts Are Paramount in the Fight Against Pet Homelessness
What’s Next and How You Can Help
Pets, Families and Shelters Win with Open Adoptions
Early-Age Spay/Neuter Saves Lives
Why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

federal feral cat trapping Florida Keys update

Florida Keys News
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Managers: Trapping program helping at refuges
BY BRIAN BOWDEN Free Press Staff

[excerpts, always read entire, and critically!]

The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo and the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge in Big Pine Key, which are responsible in part for protecting native species from domestic cats, know this first hand.
While some object to the trapping of feral cats, wildlife proponents will tell you it's necessary. Two of those people are crocodile refuge complex manager Jeremy Dixon and deer refuge complex manager Nancy Finley.
"There is a very large reproducing feral cat population on Big Pine," Finley said. And she classifies them as a "persistent problem."
[please define "very large reproducing feral cat population"]

Dixon says the program at the crocodile refuge is doing its job and has netted 50 cats since early 2013, some of which are repeat trespassers.
"Absolutely [it's a success], especially with respect to the woodrats," Dixon said.

Finley says the program at the deer refuge has caught more than 20 cats this year alone. And that's not counting the summer months, when she says the water and temperatures are too high to trap.
Once cats are captured, they are handed over to a county animal shelter where staff checks to see if they have been fitted with a microchip and have an owner. If not, neuter and re-release or euthanasia are the two options.
"I'm strongly against the trap, neuter and release method," Dixon said.
Finley said she hasn't seen many repeat trespassers, but notes she also hasn't seen a decline in feral cats roaming the deer refuge either.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: use search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as: Florida Keys, Key Largo, Crocodile Lake NWR, Key Deer NWR, Big Pine Key, woodrat, marsh rabbit, Florida Keys Refuges Pest Management Plan, Florida Keys Predator Study, US Fish and Wildlife Service, FWS, USDOI, USDA, Wildlife Services, and many more!

2014 joint ornithologists conference > cats Loss Will Marra

Recurring Feral Cat Blog! note: All research, studies, reports, journal-published and media articles etc. need critical analysis!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Loss, Will and Marra are opponents to freeroam cats and Trap Neuter Return. Renewed plans, strategies and efforts by some bird, wildlife and conservation individuals and networks were made in recent years to find and create "evidence" that freeroam cats are THE "largest source of direct human-caused mortality for birds" and "reservoirs for several diseases that pose a health risk to humans" (see first presentation below.) Misinformation then gets repeated as fact in "scientific" journals, by media outlets and the public.

Annual meeting of the American Ornithologists’ Union (132nd Stated Meeting), the Cooper Ornithological Society (84th Stated Meeting), and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists
September 23 – 28, 2014
Estes Park Colorado


AOU COS SCO 2014 Abstracts

Elizondo, L., Oklahoma State University, USA
Maple, A., Oklahoma State University, USA
Loss, S. R., Oklahoma State University, USA


Free-ranging domestic cats likely constitute the largest source of direct human-caused mortality for birds, and cats are reservoirs for several diseases that pose a health risk to humans. Despite these ecological and public health concerns, methods for determining free-ranging cat population size and patterns of habitat use remain underdeveloped. We conducted a field study cross an urban-to-rural gradient in Stillwater, Oklahoma to assess whether trail cameras can be used to estimate cat abundance, to determine whether cat abundance is related to human population density, and to investigate whether relative abundance of individual bird species is related to cat abundance. We were able to confidently identify 91.5% of individual cats photographed by trail cams. We found no difference in the abundance of freeranging cats among urban population density classes, and we also found no relationship between relative abundance of several common and widespread bird species and cat abundance. The data collected to date suggests that freeranging cats are relatively abundant regardless of human population density within a small U.S. city and that larger cat populations are not necessarily associated with reduced abundance of common bird species. However, further modeling of cat and bird detectability is needed to generate density estimates for both animal groups, and research at a larger number of survey points is needed for confident conclusions to be drawn and management recommendations to be made. Nonetheless, we conclude that trail cameras provide a viable means to identify the vast majority of free-ranging cats and are therefore a viable tool for estimating cat population density based on sight-resight data analysis. (ID 16136 | Poster 39)

Addendum: see October 17 related post: More Scott Loss media on "cats kill billions" and other bird mortality
As often the case at institutions like universities, different departments (or even the same) have what can seem like conflicting programs. In Stillwater Oklahoma, the President of the nonprofit Trap Neuter Return organization, Operation Catnip Stillwater is Dr. Lesa Staubus of the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. See the great article on page 60 of VetCetera Fall 2013, the OSU Vet magazine.

Loss, S. R., Oklahoma State University, USA
Will, T., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USA
Marra, P. P., Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Migratory Bird
Center, USA


A tremendous number of birds are directly killed by anthropogenic mortality sources, yet there is great uncertainty about the magnitude of this mortality and the relative importance of different threats. We reviewed hundreds of studies and synthesized data to quantify annual U.S. bird mortality and to identify over-arching research needs for several threats. We estimate that domestic cats cause the greatest annual mortality (billions of birds); followed by collisions with buildings (hundreds of millions to one billion), automobiles (hundreds of millions), and power lines (tens of millions); electrocutions at power lines (1-10 million); and collisions with wind turbines (hundreds of thousands). For building collisions, estimates of species vulnerability could be generated, but many threats lack the data to inform rigorous species-specific analyses. Nonetheless, Neotropical migrants appear disproportionately vulnerable to collisions at many types of manmade structures. We identified several over-arching research needs that are crucial to an improved understanding of anthropogenic mortality, and of population-level impacts in particular, including: (1) increased focus on randomly selected study sites and structures (as opposed to focusing only on known mortality hot spots), (2) sampling and reporting all bird species potentially killed (as opposed to focusing on particular species), (3) sampling throughout the entire year (as opposed to focusing only on periods thought to have the greatest mortality),(4) quantification of biases that cause carcass counts to underestimate mortality (searcher detection, scavenger removal, and crippling rates), and (5) standardization of protocols to increase comparability of data among locations and years. Importantly, when the data allows it, an increased focus should be placed on identification of disproportionate impacts on species and locations in addition to quantifying gross mortality numbers. (ID 15852)

Johnson, D. H., USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, USA


The Anthropocene Period is marked by increasing risks of mortality to birds, most recently wind energy development. To evaluate anthropogenic risks, investigators attempt to estimate the number of birds killed by, for example, wind farms. Doing so requires not only diligent searching for carcasses, but also adjusting the numbers found to account for 1) incomplete sampling, both spatially and temporally; 2) decomposition of carcasses before searches are conducted; 3) removal of carcasses by scavengers; and 4) imperfect perceptibility by searchers. Much attention has been given to these issues. Less consideration has been given to casting estimates of fatality numbers in an appropriate context. Sometimes the number of fatalities at a studied wind facility is divided by the output capacity of the facility; this is done to allow projections of fatalities to unstudied facilities with known output capacity. Sometimes estimated wind-related fatality rates are compared with rates associated with other risk factors, such as cat predation. Estimated numbers of fatalities can be divided by estimated population sizes, to compare species, for example. Each of these approaches has some purpose. If the objective is to assess the effect of wind-related fatality on population dynamics, however, I suggest that a preferable denominator for the number of wind-related fatalities is the (estimated) annual mortality of the population in question. (ID 16188)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts: in the search box at left of top blue menu bar use keywords such as Loss Will Marra, Scott Loss, Tom Will, Scott Marra, FWS, Smithsonian, avian mortality, bird deaths, anthropogenic, cat predation, opposition, opponents, American Bird Conservancy, ABC, The Wildlife Society, TWS, NACBI, NAOC, ornithological, ornithology, Partners in Flight, PIF, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, AFWA,, Tri-Lat, Blancher, Environment Canada, Pimentel, and many more!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Million Cat Challenge

The latest national animal protection campaign will launch this week. I learned of the Million Cat Challenge in summer 2013 from the presentations Making the Case for a Paradigm Shift in Community Cat Management and Tipping Point 2013: Radically rethinking our response to cats.
The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of 1 million cats in North America over the next five years. The core strategy of the campaign will be five key initiatives that offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats.
This is a joint project of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, led by veterinarians Kate Hurley and Julie Levy. Additional supporters and participating organizations initially include Maddie's Fund, Best Friends Animal Society, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States.)

The progress of the shelter challenge will be documented online and resources provided for the five key initiatives:

alternatives to intake
managed admission
removing adoption barriers
Capacity for Care
return to field *

[*As I previously explained, Return to field (RTF) programs for community cats are also referred to as Shelter Neuter Return (SNR,) Feral Freedom (scroll to bottom resource,) and recently labeled Community Cat Diversion by Target Zero whose founders include Rick DuCharme of First Coast No More Homeless Pets and Feral Freedom in Jacksonville.]

The Million Cat Challenge is the topic of the last webinar (this Wednesday October 15 2014) in the 2014 webinar series, Supporting Community Cats, that I announced in January 2014. The new website url will be announced then, and unless changed should be .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Previous related Feral Cat Blog! posts:

Shelter Crowd Control: Keeping Community Cats Out of Shelters - JANUARY 13 2012

Feline shelter intake reduction-Keeping cats out of shelters - JANUARY 20 2013

2014 Community cats presentations - JANUARY 01 2014

Reduce shelter cat intake with TNR and adoption - MAY 20 2014

Also use the search box at left of top blue menu bar with keywords such as Christiansen Save Our Strays, Levy, Hurley, Maddie's, Winograd, no-kill, Alley Cat Allies, Neighborhood Cats, shelter statistics, community cat management, HSUS, ASPCA, Feral Freedom and many more!