Monday, March 07, 2005

Hunting Cats? - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources [WI DNR] Conservation Congress

Today's Items on Feral Cats in the News ~ the Feral Cat Blog!

On this page: [permalink] Latest update - March 31, 2005
The Question: Hunting Cats?
Predation Studies / The Wisconsin "Study"
Daily News and Info ~ February 11 through March 31
Petition and Poll
Wisconsin Animal Organizations - Statements
Wisconsin DNR / Hearing (7pm April 11) Info and Locations
Pre-Question 62: Wisconsin DNR and Feral Cats ~ 2002 to Feb 2005
Wisconsin State Statutes
Wisconsin Legislators
Map of Wisconsin from wisconline
Hunting in Wisconsin

[Feral Cat Blog! Note ~ March 7, 2005: The initial news article on this issue was published February 11, at which time it was posted on Feral Cats in the News ~ the Feral Cat Blog! and e-mailed to national and leading Wisconsin feral cat and animal groups.]

The Question: Hunting Cats?

On April 11, 2005, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Congress seeks input on feral cats. "At present free roaming feral domestic cats are not defined as a protected or unprotected species. Unprotected species can be hunted year-round in Wisconsin. The congress asks if the DNR should define free roaming feral domestic cats as an unprotected species."

[The Wisconsin DNR categorization of Unprotected Wild Animals means: "No closed season, bag limit, size limit or possession limit applies to these animals."
in the 2004 Small Game Hunting Regulations pamphlet, a downloadable pdf file]

Text of Question #62
Conservation Congress Advisory Questions
[Scroll down to Question #62]

Wisconsin DNR Conservation Congress
Feral Cats [new webpage posted March 11, 2005]
Thank you for your feedback concerning the Conservation Congress advisory question asking whether feral cats should be classified as an unprotected species. Members of the Conservation Congress and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have received many comments about this advisory question and realize this is an issue of great public interest.
We are pleased to share information on some frequently asked questions about the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the upcoming advisory question on whether feral cats should be classified as an unprotected species.


Check these links for action alerts!

Don’t Shoot the Cat [March 6, 2005 new website]
[MadCat / Wisconsin Cat Action Team webpage]

Alliance of Animals [February 18, 2005? posted on website]
Cat Hunting in Wisconsin -- Conservation Congress at it again!
Monday, April 11, 2005: Conservation Congress Delegate Election and Spring Hearings

Year round Cat Hunting in Wisconsin?!
Madison Indy Media, WI [February 18, 2005 posted on website] [March 6, 2005 posted on website]
Category: Actions You Can Take > Companion Animals > Cats
Don't Shoot the Cat

Alley Cat Allies [March 11, 2005 posted on website]
Wisconsin Cats in Jeopardy
On April 11, 2005, Wisconsin residents will be asked to vote on whether feral cats should be listed as an unprotected species, thereby making it legal to hunt them year round. These cats need your help! If you're a resident of Wisconsin click here to find out what you can do to help. If you are not a resident of Wisconsin, click here.

Feral Cat Blog! Note ~

What communities must do CONCURRENTLY:

Implement, or support existing, high-impact programs to
For 'owned' cats
* spay/neuter 'owned' cats
* keep 'owned' cats indoors, supervised or contained
* identify 'owned' cats with collars and microchips
For 'unowned' cats
* practice Trap-Neuter-RETURN
* adopt or foster cats

;-) Ask Professor Temple ("The Wisconsin 'Study'") and Linda Winter (Cats Indoors!, a program of the American Bird Conservancy) to help raise funds for fences!!! ;-)

Predation Studies / The Wisconsin "Study"

Stray Pet Advocacy
Predation Webpage:
* Feral Cat Predation and It’s Effect on Wildlife - Searching for the Truth
"This topic has become a battleground of competing studies and experts. A study supporting any stance can be found, and are often cited and quoted without seriously analyzing the actual study. However, some conclusions can be reached regarding feline predation and its effect on wildlife:
* There is no strong support for the viewpoint that cats are a serious threat to wildlife, except perhaps for fragile populations in isolated or fragmented ecosystems;
* The role of other predators, including foxes, feral dogs, and some bird species has not been adequately addressed;
* The role of feral cats in a healthy ecosystem has not been studied;
* Finally, the effect of humans on sensitive ecosystems and disappearing species is often ignored."
"It is an undeniable fact that cats are carnivores; their physiology demands this. However, the debate on cat predation focuses on the impact on the other species in their ecosystem. While it is clear that cats can and do have a large impact in exceptional situations (isolated ecosystems being the primary example), it is much more apparent that in our normal, everyday environments the actions of humans have a much greater effect on vulnerable and threatened species. Urban sprawl, fragmentation of forested ecosystems, the increase in motor vehicles and the related increase in roads, and the use of pesticides, fertilizers and poisons do much more damage to bird and small vertebrate species than do domestic and/or feral cats. However, feral cat predation, and its’ supposed effect on vulnerable species, is frequently used as an argument against trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs. As cats are opportunistic feeders, providing them with a readily available food source as a part of a TNR program will reduce any effect they have on their traditional prey species. All cats, and feral cats in particular, have become convenient scapegoats for the loss of many species, especially songbirds. However, we can no longer ignore the role that we humans have played in this process. Before we can sentence cats to death for being carnivores, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and what we have done to our ecosystem."

* Addressing “The Wisconsin Study”
"... addresses the study which is cited most often by wildlife conservationists to show the decimating effect that free-ranging cats have on bird populations. The conclusion of the article is that this study simply does not stand up to scientific scrutiny."
"Though the study results were never published, there are four articles written by the authors on the subject of cat predation on birds. One of the articles was co-authored by Scott R. Craven.
Coleman, J.S. and S.A.Temple. 1993. Rural residents' free-ranging domestic cats: a survey. Wildlife Society Bulletin 21: 381-390.
Coleman, J.S. and Temple, S.A. 1995. “How Many Birds Do Cats Kill?” Wildlife Control Technology: 44.
Coleman, J.S. and S.A.Temple. 1996. “On the Prowl.”Wisconsin Natural Resources 20(6):4-8.
Coleman, J.S., Temple, S.A., and Craven, S.R. 1997. “Cats and Wildlife: A Conservation Dilemma.” University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Publications. Madison, WI."
"So in the end, one of the authors of the infamous “Wisconsin Study” debunks these estimates published by pointing out that the numbers presented aren’t actual data. Yet wildlife conservation groups, in particular the Cats Indoors program of the American Bird Conservancy, continue to propagate the myth that there was a University of Wisconsin study that indicates that free-ranging cats may be killing 219 million birds in the state of Wisconsin alone. There was a University of Wisconsin Study – it was never published (and the numbers cited were projections based on the study, not the conclusions of the study). Critical analysis of the study and extensive research into the available literature on cat predation raises serious doubts as to validity of these findings. And so the question remains – why is this study used so frequently to support the idea that feral cats are decimating wildlife (especially bird) populations? Is it because it’s easier to accept what “experts” say when it supports your point of view than it is to critically evaluate the studies? When such numbers are used to support or deny programs and funding availability – or even eradication of living creatures – we feel it is imperative that they stand up to scientific scrutiny. In this case, the numbers published that were extrapolated from “The University of Wisconsin” study do support the conservation groups’ position with the strongest numbers, but the projections based on the study simply do not stand up under such scrutiny."

Alley Cat Allies (ACA)
[Scroll down to]
Wildlife Issues
* Understanding Cats & Predation
* An Assault on Stray and Feral Cats
* Feral Cats on the Firing Line: For all the Talk of Cat Predation, Science Exonerates our Feral Friends - San Francisco SPCA
Scientific Studies
* Plight of the Vanishing Songbirds - Defenders of Wildlife

TNR - The Most Viable Option for Expedient Reduction of Stray and Feral Cat Populations
by: Susan B. Krebsbach, D.V.M.
Dane County Friends of Ferals veterinarian

News and Info ~ February 11 through March 31
[Feral Cat Blog! Note: began posting news articles and Public Statements March 14 on their website, but I will continue compiling and posting here for now, although one of my goals for animal groups is to avoid duplication of effort!]

[Duplicate articles are not posted unless to show a particular source.]

March 30, 2005

Should Feral Cats be Hunted?
WBAY - Green Bay,WI,USA
... The Bay Area Humane Society takes in hundreds of feral cats every year. ... States like Minnesota and South Dakota allow residents to kill feral cats. ...

Cat Lovers Unite
WXOW - La Crosse,WI,USA
Wisconsin cat lovers are forming a group in opposition of a proposal to make shooting free-roaming cats legal in the state. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to Mark Smith of La Crosse. He wants the state to declare stray cats as unprotected species, meaning homeowners can shoot them if they invade their property. Immediately after Smith's proposal, the controversy started. In response, people throughout the state are teaming together to form a cat-action team to speak out against the idea. Estimates put the number of wild cats in Wisconsin at around two million. On April 11th, people in every Wisconsin county will have a chance to weigh in on the issue. In La Crosse, the meeting is in the La Crosse Center North Hall at 7p.m.

March 29, 2005

Plan to declare cats a nuisance sparks criticism
Associated Press
... Some estimates indicate 2 million wild cats roam Wisconsin. The state says studies show feral cats kill 47 million to 139 million songbirds a year. ...

Fur flies in Wisconsin over idea to hunt cats, IA
... We have reason to be concerned about our bird populations, and feral cats are one of the reasons.". ... Experts say feral cats also harm bird populations in Iowa. ...

March 27, 2005

You know, you never know ...
Green Bay News Chronicle, WI
... But write one eensie-weensie column about an honestagod proposal to hunt cats in Wisconsin, and EVERYONE gets a hairball in the throat! ...

Your views
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... On one page we have folks who want to save cats threatening with death, the man who wants to kill stray cats, liberal state Rep. ...... article about Mark Smith, and the death threats he has received for proposing that the state permit hunters on private lands to kill feral cats, was appalling ...

March 25, 2005

Proposal shines light on irresponsible cat owners
Onalaska Life, WI
... That suddenly changed when the Wisconsin Conservation Congress proposed making feral cats an unprotected species, which would allow hunters to shoot them. ...

March 24, 2005

Reader's Alley
Helena Independent Record, MT
... Jonah Goldberg's opinion piece, March 18, "First, kill the cats," made the point that Wisconsin is justified if it allows hunting and killing of feral cats. ...

March 23, 2005

Guest view Author of cat proposal says idea is a worthy one
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... family. The cat and animal lovers have stated they are "outraged" that I have made my proposal to the state concerning feral cats. I ...

March 22, 2005

Editorial: Conservation Congress proposal shines light on ...
The Tomah Journal - Tomah,WI,USA
... For years, the problem of cats devouring Wisconsin wildlife has been ignored. That suddenly changed when the Wisconsin Conservation ...

Editorials from Wisconsin newspapers
Duluth News Tribune - Duluth,MN,USA
... has studied the problem. He said cats, especially rural cats, kill millions of birds in Wisconsin every year. But even Temple is ...

Please pass the cat soup
Green Bay News Chronicle - Green Bay,WI,USA
... Mark Smith, a great hunter-trapper from LaCrosse, has asked that quizzical body called the Conservation Congress to recommend an open season on feral cats. ...

March 20, 2005

Letters to the editor for Sunday, March 20, 2005
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
[Scroll down to]
Cats, birds and the food chain
Both sides need to compromise

Tony Walter column: Dog-cat fight has more bark than bite
Green Bay Press Gazette, WI
... resident advisory board to the state Department of Natural Resources pass a rule to allow anyone with a small game license to shoot feral (wild) cats at anytime ...

Emotional attachments endanger nature at work
Houston Chronicle
... This week in Wisconsin, the debate concerns whether feral cats may be killed. The fast answer from cat lovers is an emphatic "no ...

March 19, 2005

Going rate for a cloned cat? Now only $32,000
Wisconsin State Journal - Madison,WI,USA
… Genetic Savings & Clone Inc. is having a sale on cloned cats.
The company, which has its laboratories in Waunakee's business park and bills itself as the only pet cloning company in the world, has reduced its price for a cloned cat from $50,000 to $32,000.
A banner headline on the company's Web page, "Cat Cloning Proves Popular!," announces the deal. …
…In addition to announcing its cloned cat sale, the company has started a new Web page to counter arguments against pet cloning being raised by such organizations as the American Anti-Vivisection Society, a group that campaigns against cruelty to animals. In its literature, the organization denounces pet cloning, arguing that it exacerbates pet overpopulation and misleads grieving pet lovers.
Carlson said the Web page is part of the company's campaign to counter the arguments of such groups and to fight a proposal to ban pet cloning in California, where the company has its headquarters. The law would ban the sale and transfer of cloned pets in the state.
Meanwhile, Carlson said, the company is on track to produce its first cloned pet dog at the Waunakee lab later this year. …

Joel McNally: Ridiculous cat hunt idea ought to be shot down
The Capital Times, WI
... The ballot proposal seeking the right to blow away cats defines "free roaming, feral, domestic cats" as "any domestic-type cat which is not under the owner's ...

March 18, 2005

Wisconsin in Catfight Over Wild Felines
FOX News - USA
... They're free-roaming felines called "feral cats (search)" because they live in the wild. And they're at the center of a major catfight in Wisconsin. ...

Independent Record, MT
Wisconsin is considering allowing the hunting of cats. Not cougars or mountain lions or tigers on the loose, but puddy-tats: Sylvester the cat. Morris the cat. Garfield.

Your views - March 18
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... t realize what skilled hunters they are when they turn wild, cats will not ... The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign released several reports about the financing of the ...

Board meetings headed for prime time
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... goods and services, and debate over whether Wisconsin should raise the cigarette tax by $1 a pack. And Supervisor Don Bina even made a joke about hunting cats. ...

Wineke: Society's going down the toilet
Wisconsin State Journal, WI
... We're arguing about whether we ought to be shooting cats. ... So, we in Wisconsin are as nutty as anyone else and, I suppose, if we look around, we can find ...

[Same Goldberg article]
First, kill the cats
Helena Independent Record, MT
Jonah Goldberg: First, kill all the kitty cats
The Union Leader, NH
Killing bird-eating feral cats worth a try
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN

March 17, 2005

[Feral Cat Blog! Note: This article is placed on this page as well as Today's Items (March 17) on Feral Cats in the News ~ the Feral Cat Blog! due to its timing, mention of "The Wisconsin 'Study'", Wisconsin DNR Press Release in January 2004, and the ongoing Wisconsin Cats issue.]
Of Cats and Birds - Spring 2005
Chicago Wilderness Magazine
Think twice about letting your kitty outdoors. Native birds are easy prey for Felis catus.... One of the most often cited studies on bird kills by cats was done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by John Coleman and Stanley Temple. ...

Hmmm ... ? Maybe Fluffy needs to visit Wisconsin?
Winston-Salem Journal, NC
... State Journal, Mark Smith's bizarre suggestion that it be open season on stray cats goes before hunters April 11 at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring ...

Hippos and crocs and cats, oh my!
Nashua Telegraph - Nashua,NH,USA
... Firefighter Mark Smith of La Crosse, Wis., is trying to pass legislation that would make stray cats an "unprotected species" legal to hunt by anyone with a ...
[Scrol down to]
There is no such cockiness amongst the feral cats of Wisconsin, where the strays may soon pay dearly for their appetite for wild birds.

Cat-hunting proposal has correct ecological basis
Daily Cardinal (subscription) - Madison,WI,USA
... why I understand the uproar concerning a proposition by Mark Smith, a member of Wisconsin's Conservation Congress that an open season on feral cats be declared ...

Fur is flying over cat proposal
Greenbay Press Gazette, WI

Goldberg: Enviros should give blessing to cat killing
Boulder Daily Camera (subscription), CO
[Same article as posted yesterday below, different source]

March 16, 2005

Feral cat plan inspires nonlethal alternatives
Shooting not acceptable, activists, experts say
Wausau Daily Herald, WI
Although the proposal has horrified cat lovers and animal activist groups, it has highlighted the need to better control the free-roaming cat population statewide.
"If anything, it focuses attention on the problem," said Donna Gilson, spokeswoman for the state Animal Health Division of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "It's a problem in this state, and it's really a matter here of personal responsibility for pets."
Those who oppose shooting cats agree that killing free-roaming cats is not only inhumane but will not help control the cat population. And although they offer some alternatives, they agree that spaying and neutering cats is vital to controlling the free-roaming cat population.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has written an open letter to Wisconsin residents voicing its opposition to the proposal.
The national organization promotes the spaying and neutering of all cats and supports legislation and mandates that require pet owners to be responsible.
"We honestly believe that this will be laughed out of the halls," said Teresa Chagrin, a PETA spokeswoman. "We support humane ways, and this obviously isn't one."
In April, the proposal will go before members of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, which then will make a recommendation to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Okay, kitty … make my day!
Spooner Advocate
Some will disagree. Smith, quoted by Associated Press this week, said he views feral cats as "an invasive species, plain and simple." Smith's proposal will be placed before the public April 11 at the Wisconsin ...

First, kill the cats
Town Hall - Washington,DC,USA
... Wisconsin is considering allowing residents to shoot feral cats in part because a respected study found that felines kill between 7.8 million and 217 million ...
[Feral Cat Blog! Note and Resource: Respected study??? By whom? What a range -- between 7.8 and 217 million! Oft-citing this study still doesn't make it true or credible! See Addressing “The Wisconsin Study” and many other articles.]
[Same Goldberg article also published in:]

National Review Online
Jewish World Review
Washington Post too!

Ed Culhane column: Don’t worry feline fans, earn-a-cat season won’t be reality any time soon
The inside joke in the state Department of Natural Resources these days is that the agency is getting ready to propose an earn-a-cat hunting season. Hee-hee.
It’s funny, you see, because “earn-a-buck” is one of the most unpopular deer hunting regulations ever enacted and you combine that with the hysterically unpopular “shoot the cats” proposal and …
It’s dark humor, I know, but you can’t blame the folks in the DNR. They take it on the chin all the time. They know they’ll get tarred and feathered for the cat proposal even though they had nothing to do with it.

Your views - March 16
[Scroll down to]
How do you know which cats to kill?
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... Additionally, seldom do cats owned by thousands of rural homeowners wear collars when they ... strolling side-by-side across the back 40 with a feral feline, how ...

March 15, 2005

Cat's in the bag?
Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription), MN
A Wisconsin proposal to declare wild or feral cats an unprotected species -- allowing them to be shot on sight -- has sparked, well, a cat fight. ...

March 14, 2005

Your views - March 14-15
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... What is surprising is that people who claim to be cat lovers are so naive that they would rather have these feral cats starve or freeze to death over winter ...

Our view: Time to tame the rhetoric about the feral cat debate
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
By Tribune editorial staff. Things have been getting heated and emotional on the topic of feral cats and what to do about them. La ...

Milton woman finds humane way to keep feral felines in check
Janesville Gazette, WI
MILTON-Before she heads out to clean houses each day, Cherry McCutchan stops to feed a group of feral cats. "This ...

Opinion: Stephanie Turner: Conservation Congress out of touch, needs overhaul
A letter to the editor
The Capital Times, WI

March 13, 2005

Racine contingent bends a few ears
Journal Times Online, WI
… This was a get-acquainted session, a chance to extol the virtues and outline the concerns of Racine County residents and educate legislators on the challenges and opportunities hereabouts. …
Oh, yeah, this ought to rile them up. We see the Wisconsin Conservation Congress survey of state hunters is asking whether domestic feral cats should be defined as "unprotected species". What's in a name? Well, "protected species" are protected - you can't shoot them, except when the state says you can. Unprotected species are fair game, all year around. The Congress alleges that free roaming feral domestic cats kill 47 million to 139 million songbirds each year. So hunters are being asked if they want to hunt cats because they're hunting? Does this square with the outdoors' ethic notion that you eat what you kill? Or doesn't that apply to carp and cats? The results of the April 11 annual survey will be forwarded to the state Department of Natural Resources which considers the survey when making game law changes. This one's got it all - cat lovers; cat haters; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals people; hunters and anti-hunters; bird lovers, editorial
writers - anyone else?

RYAN BAKKEN COLUMN: I tawt I taw small game I mean a puddy tat
Grand Forks Herald
Forty-nine percent of Americans are dog people, and 49 percent are cat people. The dog people usually don't like cats, and vice versa. Then, there's that very strange 2 percent who don't have a preference.
... We've allowed too many cat litters and too many feral cats roaming.". But she's not a cat apologist. "It's not that I'm advocating them eating birds.". ...

Your views
LaCrosse Tribune
Stoddard, Wis. A cat stalking wildlife is being a cat. When cat owners are not responsible for their cats, are they being human or humane? The solution is not to shoot the cat but to educate the public and hold them accountable.

Wisconsin: The Question of Whether to Trap Domestic Cats To Be Voted on April 11
Please attend the conservation congress meeting in your county April 11 and oppose Question 62 - Feral Cats!
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

March 12, 2005

Too many cats cause too many problems
Canton Daily Ledger, IL
... Then I hear that the state of Wisconsin is proposing to allow hunters with a small game hunting license to kill cats that they see in the woods. ...

March 11, 2005

Editorial: Fond du Lac Reporter - Are feral cats an invasive species? A reasoned debate is now merited

Wausau - Cat proposal draws national heat
Wausau Daily Herald, WI
The Humane Society of the United States condemned Thursday a proposal to hunt free-roaming cats in Wisconsin. "Shooting and killing ...

Editorial: Hunting cats a foolish idea
The Capital Times, WI - Wisconsin's Progressive Newspaper!
... Teaching cat owners the smart reasons to keep their pets indoors and encouraging the growing efforts to capture and neuter feral cats are the best approaches. ...
The solution to the free-roaming cat problem is education, not an open season on uncollared felines.

Editorial: Hunting cats not the way to go in state
Janesville Gazette
Unchecked populations of feral cats are a problem in Wisconsin. No question about it.
Among the biggest ways they create trouble is by eating millions of songbirds. That carnage disrupts the food chain for wild animals who feed on the birds and reduces the enjoyment of those birds by humans. ...
Allowing the hunting of feral cats, however, is not the answer to the problem. ...
Reducing the wild cat population is a laudable and important goal. But the only humane and acceptable approach is to trap, neuter and release them. Those who truly care about the cats-and the songbirds they hunt-should do their part to make that happen.

Humane Society rips feral cat hunt
[Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)]
The Capital Times - Madison,WI,USA
The Humane Society called on the Conservation Congress on Thursday to dismiss "this blatantly cruel and unnecessary proposal" from the agenda, and instead work with animal shelters and humane societies to stem the flow of cats into the world.

Asked about the Humane Society's request to dismiss the idea, Conservation Congress Chairman Steve Oestreicher said: "That's not going to happen."
He stressed that the question before the Conservation Congress is not a plan to go out and shoot cats. It asks whether the congress wants the state Department of Natural Resources to take steps to define free-roaming feral domestic cats as an unprotected species.
Even if the DNR did that, however, it would still take an act of the Legislature to permit the hunting of cats. The whole process would take at least two years. Here's how it could unfold:
If the people who attend the statewide meetings of the congress approve the proposal this spring, it would have to go back to the DNR, which could either drop the plan or send it back to the 2006 spring congress meetings for more input on whether feral cats should be reclassified as unprotected or declared a nuisance, Oestreicher explained.
If voters at the Conservation Congress meetings approved that, the Natural Resources Board would still have to approve a rule-making process that would involve public hearings. Following that, if the Natural Resources Board approved the proposal, it would go before the state Legislature for review.
So nothing immediate would happen. The earliest a change could occur is 2007, if then.
"Once folks find out the complete information, they are much more comfortable," Oestreicher said. "We are not asking for a hunting season, merely seeking citizen input."

The Humane Society of the United States has condemned a Wisconsin proposal that could lead to the hunting of feral cats.

Opinion: Pursue options instead of killing feral cats
Daily Cardinal (subscription), WI
[from a student]
... the case. Instead, Mark Smith, a firefighter from La Crosse, is proposing that hunters be allowed to shoot feral cats. Rather than ...
We must recognize the selfish and inhumane intent behind this proposal and reject it.

March 10, 2005

Opinion Cat hunting
isn't answer
to bird kills
Wausau Daily Herald, WI
Not since the Department of Natural Resources first proposed hunting the state symbol of peace has the agency opened a debate certain to get as ugly as this one.
First let us say that no one is in favor of gunning down cats. Well, OK, some people are. But nothing's going to change them. Most are happy just buying those "What to do with a dead cat" calendars.
More to the point, the Conservation Congress is addressing a legitimate issue - perhaps in terms and methods distasteful to a lot of folks, but legitimate nonetheless.
It will be impossible to divorce emotion from this discussion - witness the debate over the mourning dove hunt - but let us try.
Ground-nesting birds and other animals native to Wisconsin are disappearing. Cats are the primary suspects. Something must be done.
"They're just super predators," said Allen Opall, a Marathon County Conservation Congress member. "They're hunters - that's what they do. They go after anything they can bring down."
Shooting the animals should be a last resort. A far more effective and palatable solution is to prevent the cats from killing in the first place.

Editorial: Marshfield News Herald - Feral cats are a people problem

Cat-hunt plan has promoter in cross hairs
Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee,WI,USA
... When Smith organized the Conservation Congress ballot question, he cited Temple's research that estimated outdoor cats in Wisconsin kill 7.8 million to 219 ...

Humane Society blasts proposal to shoot stray cats
[ Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) ]
Milwaukee Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription) - MN,USA
... Frustrated with feral cats that prowl around his home bird feeder, asked the Wisconsin Conservation Congress to put his proposal before people at its hearings ...

Fair Game? Hunter Talks About Cat Proposal
WQOW - Eau Claire,WI,USA
... That's during the Wisconsin Conservation Congress hearings ... up for a vote: Do you favor the DNR taking steps to define free-roaming feral domestic cats and list ...
A La Crosse hunter says good intentions are turning into a media circus. He says the real issue he wants to get across is being misunderstood.
You can watch the interview with Mark Smith next weekend on Northland Adventures on WQOW-18. The episode will air after News 18 at 10:00 on March 20th.

[Marathon County Humane Society]

Cat hunt sponsor getting death threats
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
A La Crosse man who wants the state to permit hunters to kill stray cats said he has received a wave of angry reaction to the proposal, including at least two ...

Pat Durkin column: Conservation Congress has power, but neglects real issues
Green Bay Press-Gazette
After all, science-based conservation laws supported by well-read advocates seldom get voters excited. However, if the Wisconsin Conservation Congress ever mobilized its 350-plus delegates and supporters to harass politicians on behalf of the public’s waterways, that would be a story.
Why? Because the Conservation Congress is legislatively sanctioned to be the public’s adviser to the Natural Resources Board. This citizens organization holds hearings and takes votes every April. And politicians — bless their hearts — can read vote totals.
Unfortunately, the Congress seldom deploys its state-sanctioned clout for anything significant, unless you consider non-stop nattering about deer-herd estimates a vital endeavor. Anytime lawmakers consider a rational move for deer management — such as just shutting up — the Congress waves its votes to scare them straight.
That might explain why legislators have helped mismanage Wisconsin’s deer and forest ecology since before World War II. With a half-century record for championing the trivial and ignoring the crucial, the Conservation Congress leaves true conservation work to groups that lawmakers ruthlessly disregard.
But if you’re seeking an outfit that consistently makes loud, short-lived news, never overlook the Conservation Congress. Despite all the potential good it holds for Wisconsin’s outdoors community, the Congress regularly humiliates itself over stupid stuff — often in its advisory questions at the April hearings. This year’s nationwide newsmaker is Advisory Question 62, which asks the DNR to support hunts for feral cats.

March 9, 2005

Cat hunt idea won't have 9 lives
La Crosse Tribune, WI

Free-ranging cats could become game
Wausau Daily Herald, WI
... Feral cats are the wild offspring of domesticated cats. ... "There are lots of (feral cats). But you can't tell what's feral and what's not. ...

Proposal to gun down roaming felines outrages area cat lovers
Milwaukee Freeman Newspapers, WI
... look at the animal and make the determination," she said. "I think there are better solutions than being able to shoot feral cats.".

Letters from readers
Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription), MN
... a shotgun under a bird feeder in a suburban area, but I know many farmers and rural dwellers who would be amazed to learn it is illegal to shoot feral cats. ...

March 8, 2005

WAOW - Wausau,WI,USA

Open Season on Cats in Wisconsin?
Reuters - USA
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A proposal that would allow hunters in Wisconsin to shoot and kill feral cats is causing, well, a hissy fit.
"It's entirely cruel behavior to have an open season on cats. Just because a cat doesn't have a collar doesn't mean a cat has no owners," said Jessica Frohman, community outreach and policy coordinator for Alley Cat Allies, a group which espouses no-kill methods of controlling wild felines.
Opposition is coming in "from all over the country ... surprise, shock, horror," added Adam Bauknecht who along with others has put up a Wisconsin-based Web site calling attention to the issue.
The site -- -- drew 35,000 hits on Monday alone and has received more than 800 e-mails since it was activated three days ago, Bauknecht told Reuters on Tuesday. ...

Anger and Action Over Idea to Allow Cat Hunting
... endangered. They cite a University of Wisconsin-Madison study showing as many as 219 million birds killed each year by feral cats. "They ...

Fur flies over cat hunting proposal, CO
... Supporters say stray or feral cats have become a nuisance in some parts of Wisconsin, and that hunting them would help protect the state's wild bird population ...

Open season, nine times over
Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription), MN
... In addition to the 77.6 million cats owned in the United States, the estimate for the number of feral cats -- cats that were domesticated but are living ...

Cat Hunting
It might sound far fetched, but there are some people in Wisconsin who think stray cats should be fair game. Supporters of a proposal ...

Feral Cat Hunting
A La Crosse Firefighter has proposed the state re–categorize free–roaming domestic cats as an unprotected specis, which would allow anyone with a small ...

March 7, 2005

Cat Hunting
WSAW - Wausau,WI,USA
... hunting? It might sound far fetched, but there are some people in Wisconsin who think stray cats should be fair game. Supporters ...
The Marathon County Humane Society says stray cats are a major nuisance and they encourage cat owners to keep close track of their pets.
"Don't let them outside to breed and breed onto others. Keep them indoors, keep them healthy, have them be your house pet," said Heather Marincel of the Marathon County Humane Society.
Marincel says all pets in Wisconsin have to either be on a leash or behind a fence even if they're on their owner’s property.

Should Wisconsin Allow Feral Cat Season?
WMTV - Madison,WI,USA
Dane County: What is the best way to deal with the feral cat problem in Wisconsin? That's a question being asked of animal lovers, wildlife ecologists, and now hunters.
The Conservation Congress is considering a proposal to hunt wild cats.
A group called Friends of Ferals is working with the Dane County Humane Society to take care of them until they have a new home. ...
The captured cats are just the tip of the feral iceberg. UW Wildlife Ecology Professor Stanley Temple says his 1995 study conservatively estimates there are 1.4 million feral cats in Wisconsin. ...
... Temple doesn't advocate hunting cats, so he says there's only one solution left. "Simply put a fence around so those cats don't get access to wildlife habitat."

Feral Cat Hunting
A La Crosse Firefighter has proposed the state re–categorize free–roaming domestic cats as an unprotected specis, which would allow anyone with a small ...

[This AP story has been picked up throughout the U.S.]
Hunter Wants Open Season On Domestic Cats
Hawaii, HI
The Wisconsin hunter and firefighter wants stray cats classified as an "unprotected species" that could be shot by anyone with a small-game license. ...

March 6, 2005

DNR Killers want a hunting season on cats and will use their tax supported lobby group to get it Weblog

Catnipped - Sunday, March 06, 2005 - on the Invasive Species Weblog

Hunting proposal targets roaming cats
LaCrosse Tribune, WI
... County Veterinary Medical Association and founder of Dane County Friends of Ferals, a group that has trapped and neutered nearly 6,000 feral cats since 2001 ...

Proposal would make feral cats fair game
Wisconsin State Journal, WI

February 11, 2005

Food for thought: Deer management questions likely to stir strong debate
By Paul Smith
The group is also seeking input on feral cats, a significant predator of wildlife. Studies in Wisconsin show free roaming feral domestic cats kill millions of small mammals, song and game birds. According to the congress, 47 million to 139 million songbirds are killed each year by free roaming feral domestic cats. In addition, the cats are not a native species in Wisconsin.
At present free roaming feral domestic cats are not defined as a protected or unprotected species. Unprotected species can be hunted year-round in Wisconsin. The congress asks if the DNR should define free roaming feral domestic cats as an unprotected species.
Journal Times Online, WI

Petition and Poll

[Still need to attend hearings and write, call, e-mail when appropriate]
Petition - Keep Domestic Cats in Wisconsin From Being Fair Game
The Petition Site [submitted about March 9, 2005]

[Unscientific, a "for what it's worth"]
Poll - Vote: Should hunters be allowed to shoot feral cats? [March 9, 2005]
Scroll down to "Tell Us What You Think" and click on the "Vote" link.
From the news article: Open season on cats in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Animal Organizations - Statements
[in addition to those under Take ACTION!]

HAWS speaks out on the proposal to shoot cats in Wisconsin. [March 12, 2005 on website]
[Humane Animal Welfare Society, Waukesha County, Waukesha, Wisconsin]
HAWS has knowledgeable, trained personnel to help Waukesha County manage cats – including owned, feral, unwanted and free-roaming. From our Spay and Neuter Clinic to our trap-rental program to our emergency response teams, counselors trained in cat behavior and wildlife experts, we can help individual residents as well as Animal Control Officers with issues regarding domestic animals.
Tackling the cat overpopulation in Wisconsin and beyond will require long-term, humane solutions and the cooperation of both public and private interests. HAWS is prepared to deliver programs to lead the effort here in Waukesha County.

The Wisconsin Humane Society, along with other concerned individuals and animal welfare groups, encourage you to contact your legislator and the DNR if you are troubled that free roaming cats could lose their protected status, allowing them to be shot by hunters.
Don't Shoot the Cat

Dane County Humane Society (WI) [March 10, 2005 posted on website]
Position Statement for Free Roaming Feral Domestic Cats

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Spring wildlife and fish rules hearings April 11
The hearings are held annually in every county of the state on the second Monday of April, which this year is April 11, to gauge public opinion on proposed changes to rules pertaining to fish and wildlife in Wisconsin. The hearings all begin at 7 p.m.
The second part of the hearing will be the DNR’s proposed fish and wildlife rule changes affecting the management of fish and wildlife in Wisconsin. There is no age or residency requirement to vote on any of the questions in the spring hearing questionnaire.
Questions will be grouped into two categories: those of statewide significance and those with mainly local impact. Only those rule proposals identified as statewide in nature will be voted on in all counties. Local rule changes will be presented only in affected counties unless someone in the audience in an unaffected county requests a vote on a local rule change. This system moves the hearings along more quickly while still allowing a resident of one area to vote on an issue affecting a favorite lake or wildlife area in another part of the state.
People may testify for the record on any of the proposals. The portion of the hearing concerning DNR rule proposals will be conducted by an authorized DNR hearing examiner, usually a conservation warden.

Conservation Congress Advisory Questions
As part of the evening’s agenda, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress will present resolutions created by Congress committees for votes. Results of the votes are presented to the DNR in the form of advisories indicating the support that a resolution may or may not have among the people attending the meeting. Frequently, but not always, a successful resolution may appear as a proposed rule presented in the DNR portion of the meeting a year or two later.
The Wisconsin Conservation Congress will seek public input on 31 advisory questions in 2005 on a range of topics some of which include:
* Defining feral cats as an unprotected species

The public has the opportunity during this portion of the hearings to suggest fish and wildlife rules changes they would like the Conservation Congress to propose to the NRB in the future. This resolution process has also changed and anyone submitting resolutions must submit two copies of their resolution on typed or printed 8 1/2 by 11 white paper. This change was approved by the Congress to allow easy reproduction and distribution to the Congress delegates.
The complete 2005 Annual Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearing questionnaire and list of meeting locations are available on the DNR Web site.
Written comments on any of the DNR proposed rule changes will be accepted if postmarked by April 18, 2005. Written comments on fisheries rule changes should be addressed to Steve Hewitt, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection, PO Box 7921, Madison WI, 53707-7921; comments on wildlife rule changes will be accepted if postmarked by April 12, 2005 should be addressed to Kurt Thiede, Bureau of Wildlife Management, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921.
Written comments are not counted as votes but are presented to the Natural Resources Board along with the vote totals from those attending the meetings. Both the hearing votes and the written comments are only advisory to the NRB. The board must then vote on the proposals separately. If approved, there is then a review period during which the legislature could decide to take up and possibly act on any proposed rule changes.
The hearings will be held on Monday, April 11, 2005 at 7 p.m. in each county:

Spring Hearing Notice
At 7:00 PM, Monday, April 11, 2005, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress for each county will hold its' election of delegates. Upon completion of the delegate election, the joint Spring Hearing/Conservation Congress meeting will convene to take comments on the attached issues.
The process for the Spring Hearing/Conservation Congress meeting is in response to public comments to shorten the hearings and limit questions to those issues of statewide concern, but still allow discussion of local issues in the parts of the state that are impacted by those changes.
Questions identified as statewide wildlife rule changes will be addressed first. Wildlife rule changes identified as local will then be discussed in the counties identified as impacted or in those counties where a member of the public in attendance brings it up for discussion and comments. This procedure should eliminate discussion and voting on rule changes that are of little or no interest in many parts of the state.
Everyone will be given an opportunity to comment on the questions, but you will be limited to a maximum of three (3) minutes for each question that you wish to discuss. If comments become repetitive the hearing officer may limit comments to issues not previously presented. No argument or rebuttal will be allowed on DNR rule proposals.
Written comments on all DNR rule proposals will be accepted until the end of the comment period in the hearing notice.
Your cooperation with this process will be appreciated and will help this hearing and meeting run smoothly.

Spring Hearing Meeting Locations

Wisconsin State Statutes

2003-04 Statutes Index

2003-04 Statutes Table of Contents

Hunting in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Population in 2000: 5,363,675
U.S. Census Bureau

Wildlife-Associated Recreation Participants in Wisconsin-2001
(16 years and older)
Hunters: 660 thousand
Anglers: 1.4 million
Wildlife Watchers: 2.1 million (residing in Wisconsin)
U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U. S. Census Bureau. 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation - Wisconsin.

Today's Items on Feral Cats in the News ~ the Feral Cat Blog!