Texas Tech administrators declared war on its longtime feral cat colony. For twenty five years community and student volunteers spayed/neutered, vaccinated and fed cats at no cost to TTU. Tech offered the following in a June 6 memo:
In conjunction with the The Humane Society of West Texas, the City of Lubbock Animal Services and the TTU Feral Cat Program to promote a healthier environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus, the university will begin implementing a safe and humane plan to better control the feral cat population on campus in the coming weeks. With the assistance of these organizations, we will begin relocating the cats to more suitable, safe off-campus locations. While this process will take some time and will not result in the removal of all cats, it will allow the university to bring the number down to a manageable level.
This memo is balderdash given the University hasn't had the support of the TTU Feral Cat Program or the Humane Society of West Texas. Both groups have actively opposed the University's cruel treatment of cats for the last two months.
University leaders have dismissed these group's concerns and done nothing to stop the purposeful killing of cats by withholding food and water, hardly "safe and humane." Cats are trapped underneath buildings by locked metal grates. Tech administrators have ordered employees not to tamper with locked grates and workers have removed water bottles affixed to the metal bars.
This has been a unilateral decision, imposed with heavy handed tactics. Cats haven't been taken to an idyllic ranch where they'll live out their days keeping rattlesnakes away. They're dying at the Lubbock Animal Shelter or in a TTU created prison without food and water.
The irony is two former ASU chiefs work in Lubbock, former President Dr. Joe Rallo and Facilities Manager John Russell. John knows what happened at ASU when the feral cats were removed under Dr. James Hindman. The University experienced a severe rodent infestation which cost tens of thousands of dollars. Dr. Hindman brought the cats back.
Dr. Rallo served as President during the next cycle of feral cat removal. After trapping and killing nearly thirty cats, ASU leaders allowed the formation of ASU's Feral Cat Colony, patterned after Texas Tech University. Did Dr. Rallo or John Russell offer their advice?
KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock
This is hardly the issue a new President needs to cut his public teeth on, unless he wants to show who's in charge. President Nellis should order the grates unlocked and fulfill the University's promise to collaborate with the TTU Feral Cat Program and the Humane Society of West Texas. Leadership is what leadership does. As of now Nellis is heavy handed and cruel. The ball's in his court to prove otherwise.
P.S. - It's hard to take seriously a spokesman who says the University is paying to spay/neuter cats that have already been spayed/neutered. It fits with the mendacity displayed to date by University leaders regarding Tech's community cats.