Saturday, December 24, 2011

Deja Vu: ASU Plans to Kill, Starve Cats

Angelo State University's feral cat misery-go-round spins again.  Under President Jim Hindman all feral cats were removed.  Within months the university had a major rodent infestation.  Mice and rats caused significant damage to wiring in several buildings.  Facility Manager John Russell knows the story.

For a period of time, volunteers trapped, spayed and neutered ASU's feral cats.  Employee turnover meant most of these volunteers left ASU.  Nobody managed the pet store.

The result is ASU's feral cats, untrapped and not fixed, multiplied.  ASU announced a plan is to trap and take the majority of these cats to the San Angelo Animal Shelter.  This is a sure death sentence given the Shelter's policy of euthanizing wild cats.

Cats left at ASU are to be starved.  Anyone caught feeding university cats can be disciplined.  Because humans didn't manage the problem, many cats will be exterminated. 

Trap, spay/neuter, release and regular feeding works to reduce cat populations without euthanasia.  One San Angelo feral cat colony went from 27 to 10 under conscientious management.  One might expect a university to be at the forefront of feral cat care, not repeatedly retreating into the dark ages. 

Knowledge is sorely lacking, profound and otherwise.

Update 12-30-11:  ASU trapped and took seven cats to the San Angelo Animal Shelter, where they were exterminated that same morning.  This occurred despite efforts by area citizens and the head of Texas Tech's feral cat colony.  There is a chance ASU will move away from their plan to kill and starve cats on campus.  However, it will take a concerted community effort.

Later update 12-30-11:  The Animal Shelter employee charged with euthanization was off, thus not all of ASU's cats were exterminated.  Of a total of nine brought in, two were euthanized.  Seven will be saved by interested citizens.

Latest update 2-2-12:  Local citizens and ASU employees proposed an ASU feral cat colony, which was approved by administration.  As a result, remaining campus cats get a reprieve.  Kudos to all who cared for ASU's cats and worked hard to get the university on a different trajectory!

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