Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mansfield CT spay cats or pay

Mansfield Institutes Spay-Or-Pay Option For Cats
Hartford Courant, Connecticut - May 30, 2006
Unlike their more regulated canine counterparts, cats don't have to wear tags and are free to roam. State law requires only that cats be vaccinated against rabies.
But last week, the town council unanimously approved an ordinance to require that cats older than 6 months be spayed or neutered unless the owner pays a $75 annual fee for an "unaltered animal" permit.
You could call it a license to breed.
Town officials hope most residents will willingly pay the fee, but the animal control officer is ready to enforce the ordinance when cats are found and returned to their owners.
Mansfield is the first town in the state to approve a cat spay/neuter measure, says Susan Linker, president of the Animal Welfare Federation of Connecticut.
Why single out cats? Because those aforementioned feline freedoms have led to cat overpopulation and abandonment problems, say animal control and rescue experts. Linker says the best estimate of free-roaming cats statewide is 500,000.
Joan Lamont, the one-woman operator of CATS Northeast and an expert on feral cat colonies, says it's about accountability and consequences.
"You're throwing more cats into the mix. So help us fix it," she says of owners who allow their cats to roam and breed repeatedly
Nielsen and Lamont say the new ordinance, which will go into effect June 16 and carries a $90 fine, gives them the tool they've long needed. Nielsen says enforcement will take place as part of her annual canvass of homes with pets and as she handles lost animals. If she finds a cat that is not spayed or neutered, she will ask the owner to comply with the ordinance or be fined.
A success story, however, is what's happening at housing projects in Willimantic, Lamont says.
The Willimantic Housing Authority since March has been paying to spay and neuter cats, charging residents only $10, to address a longstanding cat problem.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Crittercam cats & wildlife Jun 17

Wild Chronicles
KQED Public Broadcasting - Bay Area, San Francisco California
This series tells the story of the planet, offering rare access and in-depth reporting about the natural world. Hosted by Boyd Matson, it delivers a compelling global perspective on the wonders of our environment and those who work and play in it.

Episode #113 Duration: 26:46 CC TVG
* Crittercam -You're closer to a natural-born killer than you think. Common housecats are actually fierce feline hunters responsible for killing over a billion small mammals and hundreds of millions of birds each year. Could this cuddly species with a taste for the wild life spark an ecological disaster? Conservationists working to control the feral cat population call on Crittercam to find out how a game of cat and mouse really plays out.

Channels and Airdates
KQED World
Sat, Jun 17, 2006 -- 7:00 pm

Cats IN News Today!

feral cats news :: Trap Neuter Return news :: Trap Neuter Release ::
stray cats news :: felines news :: homeless cats news ::
spay neuter news :: "no kill" news
thanks to News.Google.com!

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Cat Management in Communities

A prevention AND solution action for cities, counties, communities is to immediately implement or support comprehensive cat management programs that CONCURRENTLY promote :

* spay neuter, identification, and containment for 'owned' cats and
* Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM) for unowned cats.

Rhode Island cat legislation

State of Rhode Island:
Population, 2004 estimate: 1,080,632
Land area 1,045 square miles
from census.gov

[1 square mile = 640 acres]

Farmers were exempted from this legislation; was just curious how many farmers there are, what the average number of cats per farm is, and the percentage of farm cats sterilized!

Number of farms, 2004: 850;
78% are 1 to 99 acres; 20% are 100-499 acres
Farmland area, 2002: .06 million acres; 9.2% of state land
from Farm Characteristics, USDA

See also May 12 post: state to require cats spay neuter?. The recent news articles below and an informative February news article and statement from PawsWatch (a TNR group) provide a look at some issues, interest groups and perspectives.

ACOs arch backs over cat bill
By:JO C. GOODE, Staff Writer
CUMBERLAND - A local animal control officer is hoping that Gov. Donald Carcieri will see fit to veto legislation that would require cat owners to spay or neuter their pets.
"Much of this law is just unenforceable," said Cumberland Animal Control Director Paul Rose, "What gives me the right to go to your house and say, 'Hi, let me see your cat'? It's an invasion of constitutional rights and people's privacy."
Last week the House overwhelmingly approved the bill 59-3 after it passed through the Senate, clearing the way for the governor to sign it into law.
The law would prohibit any person from owning a cat over six months old that's not spayed or neutered without a $100 annual breeding permit. Violators would be subject to a $75 fine for every month that the animal remains unaltered.
Meant to save the lives of thousands of abandoned cats euthanized in state animal shelters every year, supporters say the bill will reduce the problem of overpopulation.
"It's a never-ending cycle of despair and death," said Dennis Tabella, director of the Providence-based Defenders of Animals in a written statement urging support of the bill.
While the bill may be well intentioned to combat a serious
problem "it was not well thought out," Rose said, and one reason the Rhode Island Animal Control Officers Association spoke out against the bill during legislative hearings.
Rose said he's concerned that the law may prompt pet owners to abandon their cats rather than face costly veterinarian bills or fines.
"You know that's going to happen. People will either dump off their cats somewhere or leave it at an animal shelter or just deny ownership. It's a very difficult situation," Rose said.
A better way to combat the problem, Rose suggests, is come up with a low cost spay and neutering program, "so that people can afford to do it."
A former manager at a veterinary office, Rose said it cost over $125 to neuter a male cat, and even more to spay a female cat.
"It's just not fair. It costs me more to take my cat to the vet than it costs me to go to the doctor," Rose said.
The bill does provide a provision that mandate each town and city collect a one dollar surcharge from issued dog licenses as a way of generating revenue low cost spay and neutering program for low income cat owners in the municipality.
As far as the bill be signed into law, Rose said he had confidence in the governor.
"If he takes the time to really look at it, he'll find its inadequate, not sign it and send it back to the General Assembly," Rose said.
- With reports from AP

Law would require cat owners to spay or neuter pets
By M.L. Johnson, Associated Press Writer May 24, 2006
PROVIDENCE, R.I. --Rhode Island could become the first state to require cat owners to spay or neuter their pets under legislation passed Wednesday by the General Assembly.
The House approved a bill 59-3 on Wednesday to require cat owners to spay or neuter pets older than 6 months unless they pay $100 for a breeder's license or permit for an intact animal. Violators will be fined $75 per month.
The Senate previously passed the bill, and it now goes to Gov. Don Carcieri for his signature. The governor is still reviewing the legislation, said his spokesman Jeff Neal.
East Providence, Pawtucket and Warwick already have similar municipal ordinances.
Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Cranston, the legislation's main sponsor in the House, said she hopes Rhode Island will lead the nation in instituting a spaying requirement.
"Society is judged by how they treat their most vulnerable," said Lima, who sponsored legislation last year to ban the mass euthanization of pets.
Supporters say the bill could save thousands of cats from being killed each year and ease overcrowding in animal shelters. Private shelters and municipal pounds in Rhode Island killed 5,452 cats from 2002 to 2004, according to the state Department of Environmental Management.
"We need to get those numbers down," said Dennis Tabella, founder and president of Defenders of Animals, which backed the bill.
Tabella said he believes the spaying bill will help reduce cat overpopulation, much as rabies vaccination laws have helped slow the spread of that disease among dogs.
But other animal rights advocates, while wanting to reduce the state's cat population, worry the bill could prompt cat owners to abandon their pets rather than risk a fine or pay several hundred dollars for the birth control procedures.
"I assume they are either going to turn their cats into a shelter, turn them loose or spay or neuter them," said Ernest Finocchio, director of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "One is a good choice. Two are not good choices."
The bill has a provision for low-income pet owners to receive subsidies for low-cost spay and neuter surgery. It also exempts farmers.
© Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The Wild Life
Providence Journal, Rhode Island - February 5, 2006

Listen as Providence Journal staff writer Benjamin Gedan narrates a slideshow about feral cats.
Survey: Should the state step in to help control stray cats?
Related links:
Paws Watch
Defenders of Animals
Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association
Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Related legislation
An Act Relating to Animals, introduced Jan. 25, 2006

Feral cats "are reservoirs of disease that they bring to your doorstep ... Someone has to do something to control this problem."
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006
Journal staff writer
WARWICK -- In backyards and alleyways, they are shooed away with a hiss or a bucket of cold water. Thousands are captured and put down every year. Their colonies, clustered at Dumpsters, are deplored as havens for disease.
But you wouldn't know it inside the Rhode Island Animal Medical Center, a private facility turned over every other Sunday to the nonprofit group PawsWatch, where the most fortunate of the state's feral cats receive medical treatment rivaling human health care.
It is not a spa, and the wild cats come for sterilization, not a massage and facial. But compared with the mean streets, this is kitty heaven.
On a recent Sunday, feline patients lay on heated operating tables, receiving anesthesia from a surgery technician and being spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian. Trapped and transported by volunteers, they received vaccines, antibiotics and dental and medical procedures that would cost a pet owner up to $2,000.
"We all love animals," said Patricia Munafo, who manages the clinic for Newport-based PawsWatch. "We do everything we can."
The twice-a-month clinic, by far the largest of its kind in Rhode Island, spays and neuters 1,000 cats a year. But it is only a small front in the losing battle to contain the state's feral and stray cat population. Nobody knows for sure how many strays there are in Rhode Island, but it's in the thousands and growing.
Efforts to reduce the number of wild cats in Rhode Island are largely uncoordinated -- in part the result of conflicting agendas and mistrust among the various groups dedicated to animal welfare. Yearly campaigns to enact a statewide legislative solution have foundered, exposing fissures within the community of policymakers, animal-control officers, animal-welfare advocates and veterinarians.
"Traditionally, they don't work that well together," says Dr. Christopher H. Hannafin, the official state veterinarian at the Department of Environmental Management.
In the fractious world of animal advocacy, the groups do agree on one thing: that the feral cat population is out of control. But animal advocates have only recently taken steps to form a coalition, and the years of leadership and legislative void have left urban streets teeming with alley cats.
The problem worsens daily. A female cat can start reproducing at five months old and can bear three litters a year with as many as six kittens each.
That has left animal-control officers overwhelmed and turned animal-shelter managers into frequent executioners. From 2002 to 2004, the 39 municipal pounds and eight private shelters in Rhode Island euthanized at least 6,850 cats, according to the DEM. In Warwick alone, the number of cats euthanized annually has doubled in the past five years. Last year, the city put down 124 of the 412 cats it sheltered, said Ann Corvin, the Animal Shelter director.
"They are reservoirs of disease that they bring to your doorstep," says Dr. E.J. Finocchio, director of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "It's a serious situation, and someone has to do something to control this problem."
NATIONWIDE, there are an estimated 73 million cats kept as pets and a similar number living outdoors. Captured stray cats -- runaway or abandoned household pets -- are occasionally adopted from local pounds, but their wild offspring, classified as feral cats, are typically shy around humans and poor candidates for adoption. In the wild, the yowling females are nearly always pregnant, and unaltered tomcats roam a city, displaying violent and antisocial behavior and urinating to mark their territory. Many are infested with fleas, malnourished and injured from fights.
Several cities have taken drastic and controversial steps to reduce their homeless cat populations. Last October, the Pawtucket City Council passed a law prohibiting the feeding of wild cats, a policy many animal-rights advocates deplored as cruel and unnecessary. Residents caught slipping scraps to an alley cat face a potential $50 fine.
In December, the Warwick City Council approved a law requiring all cat owners to spay or neuter their pets by the age of six months or be subject to a $100 monthly fine. Pet owners who want to keep their cats unaltered must pay a $100 annual fee for every unaltered pet. Only licensed cat breeders are exempt from the law, which is based on an ordinance in East Providence.
"When people move away, they just let the cats go and they reproduce," Donna M. Travis, a Warwick City Council member who sponsored the ordinance, said. "The kittens out there are dying, and they are a nuisance."
Last month, Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr., D-Smithfield, filed a bill in the General Assembly that he says would make Rhode Island the first state in the country to enact a mandatory spay/neuter law. Under the bill, it would cost $100 to harbor a fertile feline, and the failure to comply could bring a $100 monthly fine.
"We're such a small state. This is a piece of legislation that could work," said Tassoni, who described feral cats as coyote food and blamed them for spreading rabies and Lyme disease and causing a general nuisance. "We need to get this under control."
Defenders of Animals, based in Providence, is planning a rally in support of the bill on Wednesday in the State House rotunda. Volunteers will display a paper chain with a link for each of the 2,141 cats put down last year in Rhode Island, according to Dennis Tabella, the group's director.
"That's a lot for a small state," said Tabella, who said the law could reduce euthanasia at municipal shelters by up to 65 percent. "This bill would go a long way to cut down the amount of cats that are being put to sleep every year."
But, like the Pawtucket feeding ban, this proposed law has come under fire from PawsWatch and other promoters of animal welfare. They say it would encourage low-income pet owners to drop off cats at the pound or simply abandon them because they can't afford a spay or neuter procedure. The result, they say, would be an increase in strays.
Spaying a cat can cost as much as $225, and if a veterinarian should find distemper, intestinal parasites or some other health problem, the bill could skyrocket.
Neutering is a form of birth control that involves the removal of a male cat's reproductive organs; a spayed female cat has typically had her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes taken out.
Jessica Frohman, program manager for Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit group based in Bethesda, Md., said mandatory sterilization laws are impossible to enforce and should never precede the establishment of low-cost spay/neuter clinics.
"People want to do it," Frohman said. "They just can't afford the price."
Two weeks after Tassoni filed his bill, Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, D- Cranston, and Rep. Robert E. Flaherty, D-Warwick, proposed legislation to create a state fund to subsidize spay/neuter clinics. The bill would create a check-off box on state income tax forms to raise money for the fund, which would be controlled by a board including Finocchio or his designee.
NEW HAMPSHIRE passed a similar law in 1993, providing money for a network of private veterinarians to perform low-cost spaying and neutering. Euthanasia has since dropped by 75 percent, according to Peter Marsh, director of STOP, Solutions to Overpopulation of Pets, the Concord, N.H., nonprofit group that helped create the law.
Twenty-three states have special license plates that raise money for spay/neuter clinics. In Illinois, a state law approved last August raises $2 million a year for clinics from pet-licensing fees, Marsh said. In all, about 30 states, including Maine and Vermont, raise money in some way to offer low-cost clinics.
In Rhode Island, however, a four-year effort by the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to create a similar fund has faltered, in part because of disputes over who would control the money as well as concerns among some veterinarians about a potential loss of business. On Thursday, a separate bill was filed to create a similar fund but altering the board that would disburse the money.
Dr. Courtney Rebensdorf, president of the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association, has also questioned the push for state-supported low-cost spay/neuter clinics, saying the association already offers affordable services for low-income pet owners, who are charged half the going rate for the procedures.
Also, Friends of Animals, in Darien, Conn., provides coupons for pet owners for discounted spay/neuter services at certain veterinarians. And, a handful of independent veterinarians also offer a similar service.
Low-cost clinics, Rebensdorf said, deprive pet owners of the guidance offered by a private veterinarian, who teaches pet owners proper cat nutrition and provides preventive care.
"We want to be able to diagnose and treat and prevent health problems before they become life threatening," Rebensdorf said. "If you're just dropping your pet off for a low-cost spay and neuter, it's not ideal."
Even promoters of the universal spay/neuter bill and the state fund for subsidizing the procedures acknowledge that the legislation would not completely solve the alley-cat problem. Existing colonies, they say, would continue to flourish, despite the scarcity of food, the region's harsh winters and the dangers of living in the wild.
Groups such as PawsWatch have stepped into the breach to help street cats live happy, sterile lives. Relying primarily on volunteers and donations, PawsWatch is following the so-called trap-neuter-return strategy that is popular in several large communities, including New York City, where the group Neighborhood Cats has promoted the method since 1999. In New Britain, Conn., city officials recently began subsidizing programs using that strategy, and advocates say other local governments could soon follow suit.
In its literature, PawsWatch takes pains not to demonize feral cats as meddlesome disease carriers, saying the animals it rescues are hardluck critters condemned to reproduce "in starvation and squalor and facing poisoning or mass roundup for death."
In trap-neuter-return, volunteers attempt to capture an entire colony of homeless cats, provide spay/neuter services and return the animals to their old haunts, where they are monitored by neighborhood animal lovers who provide food. The goal is to improve the lives of the feral cats while guaranteeing that the colony gradually dies off.
Feral cats are a serious problem, says Finocchio, and PawsWatch is the only group "stepping up to the plate."
PawsWatch President Kathy MacPherson says the group provides an invaluable service to local governments, humanely treating wild cats while gradually eliminating the colonies. The trap-neuter-return approach is non-lethal, but it does control the feral cat population, its supporters say. Eventually, "we want to be put out of business," Munafo, the PawsWatch clinic manager, put it.
Some veterinarians, however, do not favor trap-neuter-return initiatives.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has expressed concern that feral cats pose a danger to small songbirds, rabbits and mice. The wild cats also pose a public health risk, the association says, particularly if groups returning cats to the wild do not provide regular checkups for the cats or administer a second rabies vaccine a year after the first.
"High-quality care is important," Rebensdorf said. "If you're going to have managed colonies, it has to be done responsibly."
Despite the frequent disagreements, there appears to be a détente in the works among animal-welfare groups and veterinarians. MacPherson said an alliance is being formed to lobby and raise money for low-cost spay/neuter clinics. And Rebensdorf said a recent grant from the Rhode Island Foundation will help veterinarian and shelter administrators improve communication.
Last year, animal-rights activists got the General Assembly to ban gas chambers in municipal animal shelters; since August, all euthanasia has involved lethal injection.
The new coalitions, however, have only recently began to meet, and in the interim, homeless cats have been busy breeding.
"Every year it goes up. It's ridiculous," said Corvin, who runs the Warwick Animal Shelter. "They're everywhere."
bgedan@projo.com / (401) 277-8072

PawsWatch's position
We are happy to see open debate on this critical subject. The single most important fact of every discussion we are having today is that we all want the same thing: We all want more spay/neuter -- and accordingly, less euthanasia. VSA has been doing fabulous rescue work for a very long time, and as we have always said, we respect their acheivements. We disagree only on the means to the commonly desired goal, of more spay/neuter and less euthanasia.

We welcome good, solid evidence for anything which will achieve that end.

As PawsWatch stated in February, and whenever asked since then, our position is NOT that requiring spay/neuter is a bad thing.
Our position is that requiring spay/neuter (with penalties to enforce it) will not work unless and until funding is available to make it affordable.

Numerous large and successful low-cost spay/neuter programs around the country (for example, NH, Maine, Alabama, Jacksonville County FLA) have provided an opportunity to see what people will do when they can afford spay/neuter. In each of these instances, where funding was available, spay/neuter skyrocketed, and euthanasia declined. When unlimited, affordable spay/neuter was available, demand averaged five surgeries per 1000 people per year in a population. Taking into account Rhode Island's population size, and higher cost of living (so that vets will need to be subsidized by about $70 per surgery), that translates to a cost of about $350. per 1000 people per year (recorded numbers do not decline). For a state of roughly a million to 1.1 million people, this indicates a cost of approximately $350,000 per year.

In addition, that $350,000 must be sustainable over the long term. That means that there must be a plan in place to replace consistently depleted funds.

We do not see that funding in place yet, in Rhode Island. That is why we also support the work of RI Foundation -- which is looking for a way to make spay/neuter affordable. The proposed bill includes a $1. price increase for licensing, which will not be enough. It dictates that penalties will be directed to spay/neuter, but experience shows that substantial revenue cannot be collected in penalties. Also, VSA has mentioned having some grant monies available, which represents really good hard fundraising work; but it does not reach the amount needed.

There ARE successfully self-regenerating programs in place around the country, and Rhode Island needs that. Once such a program makes spay/neuter affordable, then it will make sense to require spay/neuter.

Experience nationwide shows that the requirement alone (without the funding) does NOT work.

The oft-cited San Mateo example needs closer inspection. Mandatory spay/neuter was passed as law in San Mateo county 15 years ago, when other funding solutions had not been developed, and people were desperate for a solution. The law applied only to the unincorporated parts of the county -- that is, areas without municipal governments, so, no cities or towns. After the law was passed, euthanasia rates in the cities (not governed by the law) declined. Euthanasia rates in the unincorporated areas (where the law was in affect) actually increased markedly. This is a straight-forward, documented fact. That is what PawsWatch does not want for Rhode Island. No one would like more than us, to believe there is a quick solution to overpopulation. But we are faced with hard facts. It didn't work. And San Mateo is a very wealthy area, where the euthanasia rate was relatively low to start with.

Now if we could just get funding in place -- using the carrot instead of the stick, or a carrot with a stick -- but not a stick by itself -- then the statistics are very different.

When Maddie's Fund made affordable spay/neuter available in Alabama, 36,000 surgeries were done within the first two years. In an area of about 4 million people, that's roughly 4.5 surgeries per 1000 people, per year, right in line with the national average of what's needed.

When the Humane Alliance in Asheville, NC, made affordable spay/neuter available, their euthanasia rate dropped by 70%. When New Hampshire made affordable spay/neuter available, their euthanasia rate dropped by 77%. That is what PawsWatch wants for Rhode Island.

PawsWatch would like to work in concert with anyone who will help to make spay/neuter affordable. PawsWatch recognizes that once spay/neuter is affordable, there is a place also for negative incentive, to prod recalcitrant individuals who are simply unwilling to spay/neuter.

Beginning in February, when this issue was first brought to our attention, we said that VSA and Defenders of Animals are both known for their excellent rescue work. We support both groups, but we disagree on this particular aspect of how spay/neuter can be increased. Our opinion is not based on theories, or predictions, or concepts -- our opinion is based on facts and statistics. Our opinion is that to require something which is not possible for the 3 critical sources of cat overpopulation (shelter cats, feral cats, and low-income household cats) -- will result in increased abandonment and euthanasia.

Kathy MacPherson

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Connecticut Feral Cat Grants!

Notice of Availability of Feral Cat Grants
State of Connecticut - Department of Agriculture

Hartford, CT. Contact: Frank Ribaudo, Animal Population Control Program Director at (860) 713-2507. May 24th, 2006

The Department of Agriculture is pleased to offer a new grant program for the upcoming 2007 fiscal year. This program will be administered by the agency’s Animal Population Control Program (APCP) and will provide benefits for the vaccination and sterilization of Connecticut feral cats only. A feral cat is defined as being wild by nature and has not been domesticated.
Public Act #01-87 provides for the Commissioner of Agriculture to set aside up to forty thousand ($40,000) dollars each fiscal year for the purpose of providing assistance to charitable programs for the sterilization and vaccination of feral cats. Previously, that assistance has not been available due to financial constraints. The APCP will be accepting applications effective immediately through the deadline submission date of July 31, 2006. The APCP anticipates presenting the grant awards by September 1, 2006.
As part of this package, you will find:
1. Program Requirements and Grant Criteria.

2. Feral Cat Application Form.

3. Feral Cat Grant Outcome Report.

4. Signatory Page.

5. Resolution Pages for Corporation/Company, Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships or Limited Liability Company (if applicable).
Please mail the original application and any pertinent attachments to:
Frank L. Ribaudo
Animal Population Control Program
165 Capitol Ave
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 713-2507
Only completed applications received before July 31, 2006, will be considered for funding. We anticipate contacting all applicants of the approval/denial of the application by September 1, 2006.

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See related April 7 post:
Connecticut Spay Neuter Legislation

pets more than property

Appeals Court awards damages in pet abuse lawsuit
The Associated Press
Oregonian - 5/27/2006
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Pet owners didn't need the Washington Court of Appeals to tell them that pets are more than property, but the owner of a cat who was set afire by teenagers nearly three years ago may get some comfort from a court ruling this past week.
The ruling by the Spokane branch of the appeals court recognizes legally what pet owners already knew, Bellingham attorney Adam Karp said: "The relationship we have with a pet is not the same as we have with a washing machine."
Karp, who specializes in animal law, represented Max's owner, Bernadette Womack, in a lawsuit against three youths who poured gasoline on Max and put a match to him near Chase Middle School. Max was so severely burned he had to be euthanized three days later.
Womack appealed a ruling in which Spokane County Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque took the traditional position that pets are valued as property.
"Although Max was a beloved family pet providing comfort and companionship to the Womack family, market value can be established for similarly situated 2-year-old tomcats," Leveque wrote in a ruling that nevertheless awarded Womack $5,000 for her emotional distress.
A three-judge Court of Appeals panel said Thursday: "For the first time in Washington, we hold malicious injury to a pet can support a claim for, and be considered a factor in measuring, a person's emotional distress damages."
Karp believes the ruling may lead to above-market-value awards for negligent, as well as malicious, injuries to pets. But he conceded other attorneys may not share his interpretation.
He also conceded the ruling had little effect in Max's case. It was a matter of losing a battle and winning a war. The Court of Appeals upheld Leveque's ruling on all points except the amount of interest Womack is entitled to receive on any unpaid portion of Leveque's award.

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Here is a link to the original news story in 2003:

Owner sues Valley cat killers for damages
Lawsuit against teens, parents unprecedented, attorney says
Spokesman Review - October 25, 2003

This was the outcome of a completely separate Washington state cat lawsuit in 2005:

Woman awarded $45,000 in cat death
Damages for dog mauling may be feline record
As a result, her compensation for the pet ties the record-high jury award of $30,000 in a California veterinary malpractice suit, Bluestone v. Bergstrom, for a pet's "unique" value, Karp said.
Judge Barbara Linde also awarded $15,000 for Roemer's emotional distress
Karp said the $45,480 award is significant partly because it's the first to indicate that feline companions are as valuable as canines. Americans' tendency to value dogs more than cats "is just completely insane," he said.
The fact that the judgment in Roemer's case came from a judge rather than a jury was significant, said Wolcher, the professor.

A current Oregon dog case .....

Case could redefine the value of Fido to family
Oregonian - May 22, 2006
OREGON CITY -- An Estacada family will ask a jury this week to award $1.625 million for the loss of its dog, Grizz, in a case that could help redefine the way courts view the bond between people and their pets.

Dog case companion definition is rejected
A suit against a man who killed a family's pet goes on, but loss of companionship is ruled out
Oregonian - May 24, 2006
OREGON CITY -- A judge on Tuesday threw out part of a $1.625 million lawsuit that is bringing national and international attention to the emotional issue of determining the value of family pets.
Clackamas County Circuit Judge Eve L. Miller excluded a loss-of-companionship claim but will allow what is now a $1.325 million lawsuit to proceed against an Estacada man convicted of intentionally running over his neighbor's 14-year-old dog, injuring the animal so severely it was euthanized.

Convicted dog abuser testifies in civil suit
Oregonian - May 26, 2006
OREGON CITY -- An Estacada man defending himself in a $1.325 million lawsuit refused to answer directly Thursday when asked whether he intended to kill his neighbor's dog when he hit it with his pickup.

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If this topic interests you, see the
Damages in Pet (Companion Animal) Cases section at the Animal Legal and Historical Center.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Cook County IL health vet proposes TNR

WGN Radio, Chicago: Pet Central Blog with Steve Daly

Trap, Nueter, Return - Feral Cats in Cook County

Trap, Neuter, Return DEUX - part 2, the sequel

Thursday, May 25, 2006

what no-kill means to joshua frank

FIREPAW Editorial.
downloadable pdf: Spring 2006 Newsletter.

What “No-Kill” means to me
by Joshua Frank, Executive Director

A few decades ago, I worked for a company that instituted a
“Total Quality Management” (TQM) program. At the time,
it was all the rage among management consultants. Years
later, when I went to graduate business school, I was impressed
when I learned all about the philosophy and tenets
behind this new quality movement.
Nonetheless, when my company first instituted TQM, I was
skeptical. The old-timers, especially the blue-collar workers
who had been at the company for more than twenty
years, were even more skeptical than I was about TQM.
Here were these high-paid outsiders with MBA’s, and little
detailed knowledge of our particular business, coming in
and telling us that we should make having “zero defects”
our goal, that nothing less was acceptable, and having us
waste all kinds of time attending workshops and doing exercises
about how we could reach that goal. We all tried to
make as few errors as possible, but of course, we knew that
the concept of zero defects was impossible. To strive for an
unrealistic goal, in the minds of many, (including me, initially)
was ridiculous.
But, as I learned later, such a perspective is wrong on several
fronts. First, sometimes zero defects is achievable. It may
not happen every time, in all situations. But production
plants can, and have, met this goal, and have gone on to celebrate
their achievements for a certain week, month, or even
year. Furthermore, even when it is not fully achieved, it is
still the right target for employees to focus on. A focus on
zero defects can lead to great improvements in quality, even
when a perfect record is not achieved. And unless a firm is
achieving zero defects, there is still room for improvement.
Finally, and most importantly, the concept of achieving zero
defects represents more than just a tangible goal—it represents
a “paradigm shift.” In other words, this quality management
movement represented a total shift in thinking.
Previously, management assumed a certain level of defects
was “optimal”—there was a balancing point between reducing
the cost of defects to the company, and reducing the costs
of conducting “quality control” work by the company. Have
too many defects, and you paid in wasted product, but have
“too few” defects, and you unnecessarily incurred high quality
control costs. This philosophy dominated management
for most of the 20th century. However, once you believe Xnumber
of defects per thousand units is acceptable, you tend
not to look for opportunities to reduce errors, even when they
come from improvements in the process that save money,
rather than costing a penny. In short, seeing defects as acceptable
leads to complacency.
In animal sheltering, many workers and managers, particularly
those who have been in the field for years, scoff at the
idea of saving the lives of every healthy or treatable animal.
They say it is unrealistic in their community. There have
always been too many animals, and not enough homes. Shelters
try their best, after all, and should not be demoralized
with unrealistic expectations.
But as with TQM, this thinking is faulty on several fronts.
First, killing no healthy or treatable animals is not only
achievable in theory, there are now cases where it has been
done in shelters that do not have the luxury of “limited intake.”
Second, anybody working at a shelter should find the
killing of animals that could be adopted or treated unacceptable—
period. This is not meant to be a judgment of shelters
that kill “excess” animals when they run out of space. What
shelters do in the very short term, when they have more animals
than space, is a difficult question and there are no easy
answers. However, in the longer term, the answer is not difficult.
Believe with all your heart that killing is unacceptable,
then do whatever it takes to stop killing any animal that
can be saved. There does not need to be any debate about
“no-kill” versus traditional sheltering. Both sides should be
able to agree that the ultimate goal for a community is to kill
no animals (excluding those animals who are truly incurably
ill or truly dangerous). And everybody in sheltering should
care enough about animals’ lives to have a sense of urgency
in reaching this goal.
And as with TQM, the most important part of a change towards
what I consider to be a “no-kill” viewpoint is a paradigm
shift. This is not about changing shelter euthanasia or
intake policy. It is about shifting perspectives. Shelters can
no longer think that any level of killing of “excess” animals
is acceptable. There can be no ‘business as usual’ as long as
killing is still occurring. There can be no complacency when
it comes to the lives of animals. Period.
This shift in perspective has been shown to generate real improvements.
A growing number of communities across the
country have all experienced this paradigm shift to one extent
or another. For example, FIREPAW works analyzing
Maddie’s Fund community programs across the country. It
is true that often these communities fall short on some very
aggressive program goals. Sometimes, opponents use these
kinds of results to argue that they were right about “no-kill”
all along. But this is just like arguing that TQM is a bad idea
simply because one may not achieve zero defects. The fact
is, that every Maddie’s Fund program community (and quite
possibly every place that has undergone this sort of animal
sheltering “paradigm shift”) has drastically reduced the killing
of animals in their community. And this is success.
Even when not every animal is saved, when the life of every
animal is valued, any change that saves lives is a change for
the better and worth the effort.

Southampton NJ agrees to TNR

Southampton agrees to TNR for wild cats
By: Suzanne Fryer, for the Central Record
Medford Central Record, New Jersey - 05/25/2006
Feral cats gained a new ally last week when the Southampton Township Council voted 4-1 to adopt an ordinance which will implement a trap-neuter-return (TNR) method in the township. Committeeman Ed Budd cast the dissenting vote.According to the Burlington County Feral Cat Initiative (BCCI) there are 70,000-90,000 feral cats living in Burlington County. A feral cat is one that has reverted to some degree to a wild state. Several feral cat colonies are currently being fed and cared for by caregivers in Southampton. The new ordinance provides support for the caregivers through BCCI.Using a $50,000 grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, BCCI staff will offer training and support to caregivers who will be entitled to free spay/neuter/vaccination/micro-chip services. Cats within a colony will be trapped, spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies. They will then be provided with microchip identification and returned to the colony. Wanda Riddle, BCCI fund-raising coordinator, was careful to point out that only "managed" colonies, those tended to by a caregiver who has been TNR certified and properly trained in colony care by the BCCI, will be eligible for grant money.Council members heard from representatives from the public speaking on both sides of the issue.Most of those against the proposal were skeptical about the size of the problem and the effectiveness of TNR as a solution. Others were concerned that the cost of the program would eventually be passed on to taxpayers. Committeeman Budd voted against the ordinance because he said he did not have faith in BCCI's ability to continue to find grant money.BCCI claims TNR eliminates new litters and the neutered cats within a colony will guard their territory, preventing unaltered cats from moving in.According to Riddle, the organization is pursuing other grant money, coordinating fund-raising efforts and accepting donations. Southampton joins Beverly, Shamong, Tabernacle and Woodlawn in adopting a feral cat control initiative.

Monday, May 22, 2006

how many cats in seven years?

downloadable: Feral Cat Times, February 2006
newsletter of the Feral Cat pay/Neuter Project in Seattle.

Dispel the Myth: 420,000 Cats?!

The urban legend that one female cat can produce 420,000 kittens in just 7 years is unbelievable and baseless, yet no one seems to question it. But think about it. If feline reproduction were really that successful, then wouldn’t we be covered in cats like those old movies with locust clouds invading the African plains?

Why we aren’t buried in cats is the same reason that a female turtle lays 400-500 eggs each year. Not all babies survive to reproductive age, and not all adults successfully reproduce. Species with high newborn mortality produce more offspring in order to increase the odds of one individual surviving to maintain the species. Fish lay hundreds of eggs. Birds lay dozens. Mammals bear fewer offspring but still give birth to “extras”. It’s Mother Nature’s strategy. Litters of cubs - cougars, cheetahs, lions, leopards - increase the odds that one cub will survive to perpetuate the species. In the wild or in homes, newborns often don’t survive - an unpleasant fact of life, but fact all the same.

According to the studies of wildlife biologist Dr. Michael Stoskopf and his students, the reproductive and offspring mortality rates of feral cats are similar to wild carnivores. In North Carolina feral cat colonies, Dr. Stoskopf documented the birth rate of one female to average six kittens per year and the kitten mortality rate of about 75% before reproductive age.

Dr. Stoskopf ’s data clearly refutes years of historical exaggeration. Look at it this way. To create 420,000 kittens from one female and her offspring would require one female to give birth to twelve kittens per year with only a 20% kitten mortality rate (9.6 surviving kittens/year per female). Compare this to what Dr. Stoskopf documented in actual colonies: six kittens per year with a 75% kitten mortality rate (1.5 surviving kittens/year per female).

Unfortunately, gross exaggeration of cat reproduction works against TNR advocates. TNR opponents quote the “420,000 kittens in 7 years” projection to illustrate the potentially devastating result from just one elusive female in a managed colony. But that figure is simply not realistic.

With Dr. Stoskopf ’s scientifically gathered data in mind, Dr.Wilford contacted expert mathematicians in a quest to dispel the myth and instead, develop a more realistic projection to share with TNR and feral cat advocates. (See “So, How Many Kittens in Seven Years?” on page 4.)

Regardless of the seven year total, the fact remains that thousands of free roaming cats never have homes and that thousands of friendly cats die in shelters each year awaiting adoption. The fact is that spay/ neuter is prevention that saves lives.

Dispel the myth and spread the facts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How Many Kittens in Seven Years?

Those of us working on behalf of feral cats and their caretakers have enough issues to combat without needing to defend ourselves against falsehoods. If the old quote that one female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years is urban legend, then what is realistic?

FCSNP President, Dr. Christine Wilford, sought expert answers to this question and contacted the University of Washington’s Math Department. To calculate the reproductive potential of one female cat, she provided the professors with the scientifically collected data from Dr. Michael Stoskopf ’s population studies of feral cat colonies in North Carolina.

Here are the assumptions used for the population projection: One female cat gives birth to six kittens per year. Kitten gender is 50% female, and only 25% of kittens survive to reproductive age. All surviving female kittens become adults and reproduce with the same birth and kitten mortality rates. If no adult cats ever die, how many cats/kittens would there be at the end of seven years?

Within 24 hours, five Math Department professors responded, including one who brought feral cats to FCSNP several years ago! The consensus of these experts based on these assumptions is this: one female cat and her offspring could produce between100 and 400 cats by the end of seven years. This is astronomically lower than the old estimate of 420,000 and much more aligned with what we see in colonies that we’ve known.

Furthermore, take into consideration that this projection is based on an unrealistically high survival rate, 100% survival of all adult cats for all seven years. Thus, we’re still overestimating the potential off-spring of one unaltered female cat in seven years but closer to reality than 420,000. We can put that urban legend to rest!

Thank you, UW Math Department!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Addendum: Fable of 420,000 cats

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Passaic NJ stray cat feeder fine

Stray-cat feeders to face stiff fine
NorthJersey.com, New Jersey - May 18, 2006
PASSAIC -- Cat lovers caught leaving food or milk outside their back doors for stray felines will be slapped with a $2,000 fine under an ordinance adopted by the City Council.
Health officials hope the new law will cut down on colonies of feral cats roaming the city and potentially spreading diseases to other felines.
The ordinance, unanimously approved Tuesday night, puts unlicensed and stray cats in the same category as wandering dogs. If they are picked up by city animal control officials and not reclaimed or adopted within seven days, they will be euthanized.

Genoa IL feral cat ordinance review

Council decides to keep Genoa Days beer garden rules the same
By Dana Herra - Staff Writer
Daily Chronicle, DeKalb Illinois - May 17, 2006

[Genoa, Illinois - DeKalb County]

[Excerpt, scroll down to]
In his department report, Solar said he is having the city attorney draw up a feral-cat ordinance for council review. If the city moves forward on a proposal to have loose cats trapped, neutered or spayed, and released, Solar said, it should protect itself against lawsuits by the cats' owners.

“We don't want to be liable to people for fixing their cats,” he said. “I also think a release fee would be appropriate.”

Fourth Ward Alderman Earl Jursich asked if the city should consider mandating tags and licenses for outdoor cats, the way it does for dogs.

“If we're going to be catching and fixing cats, should we have a way those animals can be easily identified?” he asked.
Solar said licensing cats is a headache the city does not want to get involved in.

“Right now we have hundreds of untagged dogs in the city,” he said. “We're not going door to door ticketing those owners. And dogs are dangerous animals. Cats are not. There are reasons to tag dogs. You need to know if they've had rabies shots.”

Walker suggested that the city council review the entire catch-neuter-release program at next Monday's committee-of-the-whole meeting to explore concerns and possible solutions.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

opinion: you feed cats, you own

The law when it comes to feral cats: If you feed ‘em, then you own ‘em
by John Boyle, Staff Columnist
Citizen Times North Carolina - May 15, 2006

Rhonda Brown has learned an age-old lesson about cats the hard way.
“Once you start feeding any animal, it’s yours,” said Brown, who lives in the Mills River area of Henderson County. “I was not really aware I was doing anything wrong by feeding the cats, but I’ve been made aware that it’s not the right thing to do. But you know, if you see a starving animal, you’re going to feed it.”
It’s one of those weird things in life: It feels right, but it can work out to be wrong, mainly in the sense that you do end up owning the cat or dog, even if it’s feral.
Brown, her husband and their two daughters started feeding two feral strays about two years ago. Initially, the mama cat was with the young’uns, but then she took off, leaving her offspring to fend for themselves.
So the Browns kept feeding them and even tried to get the cats to stay in their garage, but the critters tore the place up. Now the felines, as cats will, have become something of a nuisance with neighbors, and Henderson County Animal Control told the Browns they’ve got to find a home for the cats or they’ll trap them and bring them to the shelter.
Brown thinks she has an owner lined up, but the deadline is Tuesday and she’s still ironing out the details — the potential owner was out of town last week. As it stands now, the Browns are the cats’ legal owners.
That’s the law.
“Once you start feeding an animal (and providing any form of shelter), after three days the state recognizes that that is your animal and you assume all responsibilities for it,” said Morgan Woodward, director of Henderson County Animal Services.
He says if the Browns get the cats’ rabies vaccinations updated, they can keep them. But if they continue to be a nuisance to neighbors, Animal Control might have to capture them.
“Once they start urinating and defecating in other people’s yards, they do become a nuisance,” Woodward said.
The county commissioners at their meeting Friday will consider an ordinance requiring pet owners to have their animals leashed when off their own property. The county has a real problem with feral cats, which is evident in the number of felines the shelter has to euthanize — 1,420 last year, compared with 1,176 dogs.
“The numbers are disturbing even to me,” Woodward said.
Woodward said people can domesticate wild cats, but it takes a lot of patience and sometimes years. That’s why he endorses a U.S. Humane Society program that pushes for all cats to be indoor pets.
“The life expectancy of an outdoor cat is 3.5 years, compared to 16 years for an indoor cat,” he said.
Cats are notoriously prolific. I know this because we took in an orchard cat when we lived in Edneyville, and she got pregnant — again — before we could get her spayed. That’s probably because cats go into heat usually twice a month, starting at 5 or 6 months of age.
And get this: In seven years, one female cat and its young can produce 420,000 kittens. As a guy who grew up Irish and Catholic, that kind of reproductive prowess impresses even me.
Brown appreciates the statistics — that’s why they got the cats fixed — but she says she and her daughters are just “heartbroken” at the prospect of giving them up. The animals are friendly and affectionate, but they just won’t live indoors.
“My kids have fallen in love with them,” she said.
So, if you want two wonderful barn cats, give me a call and we’ll try to help Brown out.
This is the opinion of John Boyle. Contact Boyle at 232-5847 or jboyle@CITIZEN-TIMES.com.
Contact John Boyle at 828-232-5847 or via e-mail at jboyle@ashevill.gannett.com.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

drawing correct conclusions

Update: May 15, 2006 Read an excellent post Does TNR work? on Wildrun.

Excerpt from The Osprey, February/March 2006, a newsletter of the Monmouth County Audubon Society in Red Bank, New Jersey:

"New study shows TNR programs have no impact on feral cat populations
“Analysis of the impact of trap-neuter-return programs on populations of feral cats,” by Patrick Foley, PhD, Janet Foley, DVM, PhD, Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, and Terry Paik, DVM published in the December 1, 2005 issue of AVMA’s Journal, used a mathematical model to evaluate two large-scale, long-running TNR programs for feral cat population management. From 1992 to 2003, 14,452 cats were trapped, neutered, and released out of an estimated 240,690 feral cats in San Diego County, CA. From 1998 to 2004, 11,822 cats were trapped, neutered, and released out of an estimated 36,398 feral cats in Alachua County, FL. In both counties, the researchers concluded that results of the analyses did not indicate a consistent reduction in the feral cat population or the proportion of female cats that were pregnant."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The above statement was sent out by Linda Winter of Cats Indoors!, a campaign of the American Bird Conservancy, in late 2005. Read this December 2005 response from Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, University of Florida, Gainesville hosted on Florida Cat News (website of the Cat Coalition of Florida). The correct conclusion, excerpted here:
"Thus, TNR is not a failed concept, it simply needs to be
practiced on a larger scale."

Related: collaboration by New Jersey groups in model program to "reduce feral cats, protect wildlife".

enforce EXISTING laws!

Cat lovers can keep all the kitties they want
Naples Daily News (subscription), Florida - May 13, 2006
Collier County will not consider an ordinance that limits the number of cats in a home.
"Basically, as it stands now, we're not even interested in looking at this," said Dr. Randy Eisel, chairman of the animal services advisory board and a local veterinarian.
Residents thought the county was pushing for a three-cat limit, but that was never the case, Domestic Animal Services spokeswoman Camden Smith said.
"We weren't proposing a limit," she said. "We were just asking if it was a good idea."
Eisel said they had never seriously considered a cat limit.
The issue was discussed at a domestic animal services meeting, but they were never close to supporting a limit, Eisel said.
"It really gained a life of its own that was unnecessary," Eisel said.
The issue was discussed after Domestic Animal Services dealt with a woman who owned 30 cats. The county got reports the house this woman lived in was filthy and smelled of cat urine and feces.
County officials were unsure if they could remove the cats, because there was no county rule that said owning 30 cats is illegal.
"The question is: Are the cats living in that filth enough of an excuse to remove them?" Eisel said. "I thought it was (proper to remove them)."

RELATED: County considering 3-cat limit (04-29-06)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Great that Collier County wisely concluded there should be no cat limit. Would that municipalities nationwide would note the long-available information from animal experts concluding that laws for cat licensing, owned cat limits, feeding bans, cat leash laws are ineffective, unnecessary, unenforceable.

But, how is it that this county was unsure whether they could remove the cats? Enforce EXISTING county and state animal abuse or neglect laws.

Stop wasting time discussing "punitive, coercive" laws! (called thus by animal experts.) Get 'unowned' cats sterilized and vaccinated via Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM). This will eliminate reproduction and minimize nuisance complaints or health concerns. Help 'owners' spay/neuter their cats, get their cats identification, contain or supervise their cats.

Cat Management in Communities

Friday, May 12, 2006

animal protection news today!

feral cats news :: Trap Neuter Return news :: Trap Neuter Release ::
stray cats news :: felines news :: homeless cats news ::
spay neuter news :: "no kill" news
thanks to News.Google.com!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cat Management in Communities

A prevention AND solution action for cities, counties, communities is to immediately implement or support comprehensive cat management programs that CONCURRENTLY promote :

* spay neuter, identification, and containment for 'owned' cats and
* Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM) for unowned cats.

$1 mil Georgetown Animal Rights Law

Bob Barker Donates $1 Million To Georgetown Law For Study Of Animal Rights Law
For Immediate Release
May 5, 2006
Elissa Free, (202) 662-9500
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Emmy award-winning television personality Bob Barker has made a $1 million donation to Georgetown University Law Center for the study of animal rights law.
"Bob Barker's gift will allow us to significantly increase our offerings in the growing field of animal rights law and provide our students with important hands-on training" said Georgetown Law Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff. "We salute Mr. Barker for his leadership in the field of animal protection and thank him for his generosity to the Law Center."
"All of us interested in making the world a better place for animals are delighted to have law schools of the stature of Georgetown University Law Center becoming increasingly involved in animal rights law," said Barker.
Barker's donation will be used to strengthen and expand the Law Center's animal rights law curriculum, provide opportunities for students to work in the field, support student-initiated animal rights projects and sponsor conferences and symposia on subjects related to animal protection.
Barker, the host of television's longest running game show, The Price Is Right and a longtime animal rights activist, has supported humane organizations for decades, and through his advocacy has raised awareness of such issues as pet over-population and animal cruelty and neglect. He established the DJ&T Foundation in memory of his wife and mother to support free and low-cost spaying and neutering clinics and programs. His work has garnered him numerous awards from animal protection organizations across the country.
Barker has established similar endowments for the study of animal rights law at other law schools including Harvard, Columbia, UCLA, Stanford, Northwestern and Duke.
About Georgetown Law
Georgetown University Law Center is one of the world's leading law schools. It has the largest full-time faculty in the nation and is pre-eminent in several areas, including constitutional, international, tax and clinical law. Drawing on its Jesuit heritage, it has a strong tradition of public service and is dedicated to the principle that law is but a means, justice is the end. With this principle in mind, Georgetown Law has built an environment that cultivates an exchange of ideas and the pursuit of academic excellence. It brings together an extraordinarily varied group of teachers, scholars and practitioners, as well as an outstanding student body.

state to require cats spay neuter?

Lawmakers approves bill requiring cats to be spayed and neutered
Providence Eyewitness News, Rhode Island - May 12, 2006
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Cat owners take note: it could soon be illegal to harbor fertile cats. The General Assembly approved a bill this week that would require cat owners to spay or neuter any pet cat six months and older unless the owner has a permit or a breeder's license.
The bill could be sent to the governor by the end of the month. At least one lawmaker says the bill would reduce the number of cats euthanized annually in Rhode Island by up to 65 percent.
Some animal rights advocates, while wanting to reduce the state's cat population, have argued that the bill could prompt a mass abandonment of healthy pets if their owners can't afford the costly birth-control procedures.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

some cat news

Berkeley, New Jersey (Ocean County)

Berkeley bonds $5 million for paving roads, purchases
Asbury Park Press, New Jersey - May 11, 2006
In other action, the council adopted an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of feral cats unless they are spayed or neutered. Those not complying with the ordinance will be warned and then face fines up to $500 per infraction.

Township of Berkeley - OPEN OFFICIAL AGENDA
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Click on Public Agendas - Open Public Agenda

Field notes
Jackson Hole Star-Tribune, Wyoming - May 11, 2006
Audubon seeks cat owners' help In an effort to protect birds and other small wildlife, Audubon Wyoming recently made a plea to cat owners to keep their pets indoors. Domestic and feral cats kill hundreds of millions native birds and small animals annually in the United States, according to a press release. Audubon also warned cat owners should be concerned about their animals bringing home bird flu. The flu, which has caused a number of deaths in Asia, has yet to be found in North America but is expected to eventually be brought to the continent by migrating birds.

Town to review feral-cat program
Palm Beach Daily News, Florida - May 11, 2006
Council also to look at maximum number of cats allowed to own after receiving complaints from residents.
... Cynthia Martin of Orange Grove Road told the council on Tuesday she has been forced to set six traps in her yard to capture feral cats that a neighbor has been ...

Mart examines stray animal policy further
Waco Tribune Herald, Texas - May 11, 2006
... A Mart resident at a recent council meeting complained that the city’s animal control officer routinely rounds up stray cats and dumps them on a rural ...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

reduce feral cats, protect wildlife


collaboration, problem-solving, model program .....
Some of this news was published around December 2005, mentioning the Burlington Feral Cat Initiative and the New Jersey Audubon Society.

Provided by Bryan Kortis, Neighborhood Cats

The parties listed below, sharing the goals of reducing feral cat populations and also protecting wildlife, are pleased to announce a collaborative effort on the Burlington Feral Cat Initiative Project in order to determine the best ways to reach our stated shared goals. It is our sincere hope that this collaboration will result in a model for protecting wildlife while at the same time effectively reducing feral cat populations, and that this New Jersey model will further demonstrate that such collaborative efforts can and will work to achieve mutually beneficial ends.
American Bird Conservancy
Burlington County Feral Cat Initiative
Burlington County Health Department
Neighborhood Cats
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance
New Jersey Audubon Society
New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, Endangered & Non-game Species Program

TNR the best way Qatar

TNR the best way to deal with stray cats
Letters to the Editor
The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily - May 8, 2006

The Qatar Cat Coalition?s Trap Neuter Return (TNR) Programme supports Qatar?s Public Health by Spaying and Neutering Cats. In your article ?Putting Cats to Sleep with ?humane? touch?, (The Peninsula, April 11, 2006), Dr Al Sharafi, Director of Pest and Rodent Control of the MMAA said that ?cats which will be put to sleep will be the ones who are diseased, noting that the animals can carry over 200 diseases. This statement is based on old ideas and has been proven wrong by contemporary research being conducted around the world. I have worked with feral cats for over 25 years in America and in Qatar. I have also worked with a TNR programme in both countries. For 4 years I conducted a TNR pilot programme at Education City in Doha with the feral or street cats in that area. We trapped the cats, had them spayed or neutered, named and catalogued each of them and tattooed a number in their ear. We also had them vaccinated and returned to the campus, where they were fed and watched over by caretakers. To my knowledge no one on campus caught any diseases from the QCC cat colonies at Education City. And over the 25 years I have worked closely with feral cats handling and feeding them, I have not caught any diseases from them. Very few cats should have to be put to sleep in a TNR programme due to disease. Spaying (females) and neutering (males) improves the cats health by reducing wandering, mating, and fighting. Spayed female cats do not go into heat and howl at night. Neutered male cats do not fight over female cats or spray their territories. Dr Al Sharafi also stated that the cats ?93clearing the medical in a manner of speaking, are neutered then released, possible heading back to their local dumpsters. It is important to note that the initials TNR stand for Trap, Neuter, and return, not release. For this project to work the neutered cats have to be returned to their original neighborhood. If they are released somewhere other than their original home, there could be fighting for territorial habitat and food with the unfixed cats existing there. It will also put the neutered cat at physical risk because he will be crossing streets trying to find his/her way home. It is animal instinct to return to their original neighborhood. It is a common misconception to believe that feral cats pose a health hazard through risk of transmission of diseases. Available evidence indicates this is not true. For example, the 8000 acre campus of Stanford University is home to one of the oldest TNR programmes in the country started in 1989. The Environmental Health & Safety Department of the university, in consultation with the Santa Clara County Health Department, ?determined that there is a general consensus that feral cats pose little health and safety risk to individuals on campus. The Stanford TNR programme continues to the present date, claiming reduction of the feral population from a total of 1500 cats at its beginning to 200 currently.? Cities and universities across America have come to the same conclusion as Stanford University and openly endorse TNR programmes as a public health benefit and cost saving to any community that properly employs it. The street cats in Doha also help resolve the rat problem which is chronic in most urban areas. The usefulness of feral cats in controlling rat populations is well documented. Roger Tabor, in his studies of London street cats, noted that one particularly adept tabby female was recorded as having caught 12,480 rats over a 6 year span. In Pennsylvania?s Longwood Gardens, feral cats? are part of the integrated pest management control programme to protect certain plant life from damage by small rodents. In city environments where food sources such as garbage and rats cannot be permanently removed, ?the feral cat population serves a very useful purpose and should rather be encouraged than fought.? TNR allows the cats to remain in the environment and continue to provide no-cost rat control, while at the same time stemming future population growth and curbing nuisance behavior such as noise and odor. The cat lovers in Qatar ask that the Ministry listen closely to the experience and knowledge of both WSPA and the QCC, as they have the expertise in working with feral cats. It is a complex issue and for it to succeed, we ask that the Ministry use compassion, care and respect in dealing with the street cats of Qatar. Please do not euthanise the cats for the sake of ease and expediency.
QCC Board of Advisors Doha, Qatar qatarkat@yahoo.com-Kathleen Franck

township allowing trap-neuter-return


From Lisa of New Jersey-Animal Rights Alliance (NJ-ARA)/ Feral Cat Program:

The Township of Shamong in Burlington County, New Jersey recently voted 4 to 1 to allow Trap-Neuter-Return!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

stray cat feeders fined & photoed


Clermont To Fine People Who Tend To Stray Cats
KCCI.com, Iowa - May 9, 2006
Mayor Says Police Can Photograph Violators
CLERMONT, Iowa -- The northeast Iowa town of Clermont is cracking down on stray cats -- by cracking down on the people who feed them.
The City Council has decided that anyone who feeds the cats are aiding a nuisance.
Mayor Rodney Wagner said police could photograph people who feed stray cats and violators could be sent letters warning them of the consequences and be fined.

All related news articles

thanks to News.Google.com

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Alternative --
Cat Management in Communities -- concurrent, non-lethal, high-impact programs to address both 'owned' and homeless cat issues!!! Do it now! Reminder -- those feeding homeless cats must always get them spayed or neutered.

For those who can respectfully inform and assist the City Government of Clermont Iowa

board of health faulty reasoning


Borough of Montvale, New Jersey [County of Bergen]

Faulty reasoning by this Board of Health, as with other municipalities and departments across the nation. Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM) would get the cats vaccinated and sterilized, thereby eliminating births as well as minimizing health concerns and nuisance behaviors. And again a reminder: if you feed homeless cats, you must get them fixed!!!
At the same time, implement and promote programs to address 'owned' cat issues. Help owners provide identification on their cats, spay/neuter their cats, find ways to contain their cats, prevent abandonment of cats. See Cat Management in Communities.

Board of Health
Feral cats in the area of Hemlock and Jefferson are still a problem. Do not feed these cats.

PUBLIC MEETING MINUTES - February 14, 2006
Board of Health
There have been some reports of rats. Councilman read a statement regarding stray cats, rabies, etc., "Recently the Borough has been receiving complaints about stray or feral cats. According to Borough ordinance, any person who harbors or maintains a cat knowingly or permits a cat to remain on or about any premise without any proper licenses or vaccinations is in violation. This is a particular concern to public health, because animals that are not licensed probably are not vaccinated against rabies. As you may be aware the threat of rabies in the wild life population in New Jersey has become a serious problem. Infected animals can spread the rabies virus to unvaccinated stray cats, which in turn, can transmit the virus to humans who come in contact with them. Besides contributing to the possible spread of rabies, food deposited for stray cats can attract other wild animals and vermin (rodents, flies, etc.) in the area. It is imperative that residents discontinue feeding feral cats in the neighborhoods immediately. By doing so the feral cat population will be decreased, thereby, reducing the spread of rabies in the community." This is a real essential item and is self-explanatory. If you don’t feed them, they won’t be there.

downloadable pdf file: MONTVALE, NEW JERSEY Newsletter March 2006
Page 16
[Relevant Excerpt in full]
Recently the Borough has been receiving complaints about
stray, or feral cats.
According to Borough Ordinances, any person who harbors
or maintains a cat knowingly or permits a cat to remain on or
about any premises without proper licenses and vaccinations is
in violation. This is a particular concern to public health,
because animals that are not licensed probably have not been
vaccinated against rabies.
As you may be aware, the threat of rabies in the wildlife population
in New Jersey has become a serious problem. Infected
animals can spread the rabies virus to unvaccinated stray cats,
which in turn can transmit the virus to humans who come in
contact with them.
Besides contributing to the possible spread of rabies, food
deposited for stray cats can attract other wild animals and vermin
(rodent, flies, etc.) in the area.
It is imperative that residents discontinue feeding feral cats
in the neighborhood immediately. By doing so, the feral cat
population will be decreased, thereby reducing the spread of
rabies in the community.

Monday, May 08, 2006

animal protection news today

feral cats news :: Trap Neuter Return news :: Trap Neuter Release ::
stray cats news :: felines news :: homeless cats news ::
spay neuter news :: "no kill" news
thanks to News.Google.com!

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Cat Management in Communities

A prevention AND solution action for cities, counties, communities is to immediately implement or support comprehensive cat management programs that CONCURRENTLY promote :

* spay neuter, identification, and containment for 'owned' cats and
* Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM) for unowned cats.

Veterinarians say trap-neuter-return best

The best option for feral cats
Kansas City Star, MO - May 8, 2006

As I See It
The best option for feral cats
By Sheila Dodson
Special to The Star

We are a few of the veterinarians who volunteer for the low-cost spay/neuter clinics held by No More Homeless Pets Kansas City for low-income families and feral cat colonies. We have a few points to make in regard to The Star’s “Cats gone wild” April 22 article.

Feral cats (or cats in general) are not considered a major threat to the existence of birds. According to the Audubon Society: “Threats to avian life in the United States are many, but the most serious is the outright loss of habitat due to poor land use, the clear-cutting of forests, the draining of wetlands, and sprawl. But birds here face other perils as well. Climate change, air and water pollution, pesticides, and collisions with buildings, towers and wind turbines also take a toll. Lawn pesticides cause an estimated 7 million bird deaths each year.”

Cats are not listed in the top 10 threats to wildlife.

Of the 1,700 feral cats we have spayed/neutered over the past 1½ years, we have found a surprisingly high percentage of cats that appear healthy.

Research statistics have shown the rate of feline leukemia and FIV infections among feral cats is the same as the rate seen among pet cats.

Thus feral cats pose no more of a threat of transmitting these diseases than pet cats do.

According to the World Health Organization: “There is no present evidence that domestic cats play a role in the transmission cycle of H5N1 (avian influenza) viruses. To date, no human case has been linked to exposure to a diseased cat. No outbreaks in domestic cats have been reported.”

We have four options with regard to the feral cat problem:

First, we can continue doing nothing. This will lead to further annoyance to those people who regard feral cats as a nuisance, as well as causing continued overpopulation and suffering among the cats.

Second, we can trap and kill the feral cats. In this case, who decides which cats are feral? Local governments will run into liability concerns when someone’s beloved pet is accidentally killed. The public relations hurdles are not worth this approach.

Third, we can trap, create an enclosed habitat and relocate the thousands of feral cats in the Kansas City area. This is impractical and would be an economic disaster.

We believe the fourth option: A trap-neuter-return program is the only logical solution.

Sheila Dodson of Merriam, along with Cindy Risen of Overland Park, Dan Hecker of Kansas City, J.C. Burcham of Olathe and Michelle Chappell of Olathe, are all veterinarians who co-authored this column.

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Feral Cat Blog! Note: Here's the link to the article mentioned:
Cats gone wild
Kansas City Star, MO - Apr 22, 2006

city changes feral cat definition


City of Shawnee, Oklahoma: 2003 (latest) population

Tecumseh Countywide News and the Shawnee Sun - May 6, 2006

In other action at Monday’s meeting, the commission:
Made a minor change in the definition of a feral cat after discussing it for about 40 minutes. Commissioner Wes Beck said the change was needed so that SPAR, a pro-animal group to which he belongs, wouldn’t be breaking the law when members participated in a campaign to catch, neuter and release the cats. Under current law, it would be illegal to release them.

8. Consider an ordinance removing feral cats from definition of cats running at large.
9. Consider an ordinance changing the rabies vaccination requirements for dogs from every year to every three years.
10. Consider an ordinance relating to the disposition of unlicensed cats and dogs seized and impounded and extending the period for holding unlicensed impounded cats or dogs from forty-eight to seventy-two hours.

City of Shawnee Oklahoma - existing municipal code on Municode.com .
Chapter 5 animals
[does not yet reflect May 1 code change to feral cat definition, of course. This small city has a more extensive animal code than many!]

AGENDA ITEM NO. 17: Citizens Participation
Under Citizens Participation, Ms. Kari Barrett, Adoption Coordinator of the Saving Pets at Risk, Inc., shared information about National Feral Cat Day which will be on October 16, 2006. She encouraged the Commission to assist financially in helping SPAR in its operations to spay and neuter feral cats to reduce disease and decrease population of feral cat colonies. Further investigation about the funding on behalf of the City would be needed before the Commission could make a commitment.

>300 cats fixed at SNIP clinic

More than 300 cats fixed at SNIP clinic
Helena Independent Record, MT - May 8, 2006
Jane Benson, Spay Neuter Improves Pets (SNIP) coordinator, said it was hard to estimate how many community members volunteered their time to join with veterinarians to assist with the free clinic which ran Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., but said organizers managed to spay or neuter more than 300 cats in that period.
According to Benson, the cats came in all shapes and sizes — from nursing mothers to feral tom cats — but all left the clinic to enjoy a better quality of life.
Benson explained that the Helena area is experiencing a staggering increase in its cat population, and every spay and neuter performed at the clinic made a difference.
“We just have a horrendous number of cats in the area,” she said, adding that the last thing she wants to see is an increase in that population. For that reason, members of the local SNIP committee chose to dedicate the weekend’s clinic solely to cats.

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Feral Cat Blog! Resources:
Montana Spay/Neuter Task Force website.
They are also featured as a nationwide spay/neuter model program on ASPCA's
Imagine Humane website.

High-volume spay/neuter and trap-neuter-RETURN-manage programs are important components of non-lethal
community cat management and homeless animal management.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wildlife Society feral cat policy retained

Wildlife Position Statement - Feral and Free-Ranging Domestic Cats
The Wildlife Society adopted the following final position statement in 2001. In accordance with TWS policy, the Council reviewed this policy and voted to in March 2006 retain it. This policy will now expire in 2011.
The policy of The Wildlife Society in regard to feral and free-ranging domestic cats is to:
Strongly support and encourage the humane elimination of feral cat colonies.
Support the passage and enforcement of local and state ordinances prohibiting the public feeding of feral cats, especially on public lands, and release of unwanted pet or feral cats into the wild.
Strongly support educational programs and materials that call for all pet cats to be kept indoors, in outdoor enclosures, or on a leash.
Support programs to educate and encourage pet owners to neuter or spay their cats, and encourage all pet adoption programs to require potential owners to spay or neuter their pet.
Support the development and dissemination of sound, helpful information on what individual cat owners can do to minimize predation by free-ranging cats.
Pledge to work with the conservation and animal welfare communities to educate the public about the negative impact of free-ranging and feral cats on native wildlife, including birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and endangered species.
Support educational efforts to encourage the agricultural community to keep farm-cat numbers at low, manageable levels and use alternative, environmentally safe rodent control methods.
Encourage researchers to develop better information on the impacts of feral and free-ranging cats on native wildlife populations.
Recognize that cats as pets have a long association with humans, and that responsible cat owners are to be encouraged to continue caring for the animals under their control.
Oppose the passage of any local or state ordinances that legalize the maintenance of "managed" (trap/neuter/release) free-ranging cat colonies.

Approved by Council March 2006. Expires March 2011.

humane euthanasia oxymoron

Two examples of one aspect of the "humane euthanasia oxymoron" .....


Panel will look into better cat euthanasia
El Paso Times, Texas - April 28, 2006
Members of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, which oversees the Animal Regulation and Disease Control center in Northeast El Paso, formed a five-member subcommittee during a meeting Thursday night to look into more humane methods of euthanization.
Dr. Nancy Harvey, a West Side veterinarian who is on the advisory committee, called the El Paso shelter's use of a syringe pole, where cats are stretched with a rope around their necks while their rear legs are held so that an euthanasia injection could be placed in the abdomen, as "way behind the times."
During the meeting, which took place at the shelter at 5001 Fred Wilson, Harvey said she surveyed about a dozen other animal control centers in the Southwest -- including those in San Antonio, Houston, Albuquerque and Phoenix -- and found that many of those centers employ two full-time veterinarians and use squeeze boxes and nets to handle unruly animals.

Rather, how about looking into better ways NOT to kill? One effective, humane method for homeless cats categorized as 'unadoptable' is Trap-Neuter-RETURN-Manage (TNRM). And, prevention of homeless cats in the first place? Implement and promote programs for 'owned' cats like helping owners provide identification on their cats, spay/neuter their cats, contain their cats?


Pound's new way of death said to fall short
San Antonio Express (subscription), TX - May 1, 2006
The most touted reform at the city's Animal Care Services shelter — a more humane method of euthanasia — does not meet "industry best practices" and ... The most touted reform at the city's Animal Care Services shelter — a more humane method of euthanasia — does not meet "industry best practices" and actually causes pain in some of the animals being destroyed, according to an expert's assessment of the facility.
The report by Doug Fakkema, international training manager for Saving Animals Across Borders, concludes that many of ACS's animal care and control operations are "out of date," and that the shelter is inefficient in its use of personnel and available equipment.
Fakkema cited a lack of proper equipment and training for handling both domestic and feral cats in the field and in the kennels. Animal control officers, he noted, should be provided with cat carriers that allow them to transfer a trapped cat to the carrier without touching the animal.
After heavy criticism over the use of catch poles to move frightened or feral cats, Sanchez said he had prohibited the use of snares and replaced them with "cat grabbers" and bite gloves. Fakkema noted this was an example of how not to make a change because the policy was implemented without providing staff with the proper training or a complete set of tools.
"The result," Fakkema wrote, "several personnel were reportedly bit and it immediately became apparent to staff that the policy didn't make sense; another example, staff say, of management making a change without thinking it through."

Editorial: Dealing with strays a dirty, difficult job
San Antonio Express (subscription), TX - May 7, 2006
Euthanasia is horrible however it is done, but city officials have no choice if they are to protect public safety.
While problems remain, San Antonio officials have demonstrated a commitment to dealing with stray animals humanely.
Animal lovers should not lose sight of the fact that city government also must address the needs of the city's human residents.
Think the San Antonio Express-News editors should have stayed with a statement made in July 2005:
Killing nearly 50,000 animals annually, however the deed is done, is unconscionable.
More humane killing of stray animals is one step. Dramatically lowering their number must remain the real goal.
Source: Editorial: Much work remains on animal problem
San Antonio Express-News - 07/24/2005

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For history of San Antonio animal control, see "Death by the Pound" which was posted on this blog November 14, 2004. It is an excellent news journalism series.