Friday, June 21, 2013

City Aggravates Feral Cat Problem

The Standard Times ran a piece on the feral cat colony targeted for elimination by the City of San Angelo.  One can see the impact trap -spay/neuter - release had at this location.  The number of cats decreased from over 200 to 55. Yet, the City targeted a local volunteer working to address the problem, stating she needed to live by city ordinances, which are written for actual pets.

City Animal Control Officers claimed the Mejor Que Nada feral cats are a nuisance.  City ordinances have a clear procedure for designating an animal(s) a nuisance.  It involves a court with the complainant and pet owner present.

Villarreal said many of Animal Control’s complaints involve outdoor cats.
In this instance, she said, complaints are coming from businesses on Austin Street, Avenue N and Bryant Boulevard. The city has a policy of not disclosing the names of the business or individuals making the complaint to protect their privacy, she said.
It appears City Animal Officials can pick and choose which ordinances apply and which ones don't.

Right now, Villarreal said, the city handles complaints about feral cat colonies on a case-by-case basis. She said she has researched how larger cities such as the Dallas-Fort Worth area handle feral cats insofar as complaints and ordinance enforcement.

“At some point, we’ll have to figure out what it is we really want to do, or what the city wants to do,” she said. “We can only bring something in, and it gets voted in or voted out (by the Animal Services Board), and we still have to go through City Council. We have a lot of hoops” to jump through.
So Animal Shelter leaders and workers implemented a change prior to "figuring out" what to do?  There is no record of any changes made by the Animal Services Board or City Council in relation to feral cats.

The City should produce the names of the complainants and actually collaborate with volunteer citizens and local animal organizations on addressing San Angelo's feral cat problem.

George Randall, who owns Randall Motors on Avenue N and is on Concho Valley PAWS’ board of directors, also expressed concern about moving the cats.

"The city’s doing is going to create, in my opinion, more problems than they’re going to solve."
City Manager Daniel Valenzuela talks about partnering with the community.  Here's his chance to call off his hounds and actually work with people shouldering the load to create sound policies that make room for feral cats.  if the city continues on its current heavy-handed course it will have no citizen volunteers and no local animal organizations with which to partner..

Valenzuela can stop the creation of more problems with one phone call.  It's one he should make.

1 comment:

MiniMarley said...

This is in response to the uninformed, visceral conversation occurring on the Standard-Times website:

"A large-scale study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association proves otherwise. Rates of common, infectious diseases were similar in pet cats and free-roaming cats. In some cases, pet cats had higher disease rates than free-roaming cats. Because Mother Nature selects the healthiest animals, it is perfectly logical that free-roaming cats are very healthy."

"In sum, trying to solve free-roaming cat overpopulation by removing feral cats –
whether to euthanize, rescue or relocate – does not work. In nature’s ongoing cycle, new
cats replace the old ones and nothing much changes in terms of the numbers or nuisance
behavior. Feeding bans, besides being cruel in concept, are ineffective in practice.
Doing nothing means accepting the status quo and all the problems that come with it.
Ultimately, targeting the cats’ reproductive capacity through spay/neuter and returning
them back to their territory is the best approach available for lowering their numbers,
reducing their impact on the environment and improving their lives."

Please get informed and know that mice and rats carry many diseases that affect humans. Mice and rats attract snakes as well. Felines have been walking with us for 10,000 years since humans began to grow grain crops.

Once all of the cats are removed from Mejor, a rodent infestation will ensue followed by new unaltered, unvaccinated cats entering the area. Before this occurs, the rodent population will have caused significant damage to local business. After the kitty round up 1996 on ASU's campus, rodents caused thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage to the Hardeman building.

I have personally experienced taking a colony of 28 to 4 (including 27 dumped cats) behind a restaurant. The restaurant owner knows the value of cats, and actually would like a few more.

This is all symptomatic of a larger problem. If you want to "fix" this, go for the root of the problem. The problem exists because people allow their pet cats to roam unaltered and people dump cats.

Also, please know the laws - animal cruelty is a felony - $10,000 fine/2 years in prison.

If you are a Christian, then know we are called to shepherd God's creation. Destroying feral cats in unethical, cruel, and ineffective.

At ASU, the population on the West side of campus has been stabilized and reduced by over 50% in just a year and a half. Thirty new litters of cats were prevented (and even more subsequent litters). Any new cats dumped or trying to enter the area are chased off. That's the dynamics of a stabilized colony.

So, if you are not Christian and/or hate cats and want them euthanized, do you think it's the best use of your tax payer dollars. It is an incredible tax burden to trap and destroy these creatures. Plus, ineffective at controlling the overpopulation.

Please get educated about the issue before making absurd comments which have nothing to do with sound reasoning, logic or compassion.