Saturday, August 24, 2013

TTU's Office of Cruel, Poor Communications

Texas Tech University's original communication on June 3rd stated:

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.

After two months of trying to get TTU to honor their above commitment two animal service organizations went to the media with concerns about Tech's animal cruelty.  The first news report found Chris Cook on the offensive

Managing Director for the Office of Communications and Marketing Chris Cook says the university has done nothing wrong.

The university failed to work in conjunction with its stated community partners. Cook went on to say:

"Our intent is not to harm these animals," he said. "There are individuals that are being notified every step of the way, every time a cat is trapped. We are doing this safely and humanely as possible to trap the cats in a safe manner. We are paying to have them spayed or neutered upon removal and we have no intention to harm the cats," Cook said.
Intent and reality are two different things.  Tech's barricading community cats inside crawl spaces deprives these animals of food and water, which is defined as animal cruelty under Texas law.

Note that Cook does not identify the individuals being notified.  Tech shut out the very groups that would ensure humane treatment of the cats.  His statement that Tech is paying to have already spayed/neutered cats spayed/neutered is nonsense. 

A Friday evening Fox News story produced evidence of more lies:

Despite valiant efforts by the Feral Cat Program, Tech's spokesman, Chris Cook, said the population is not under control.

"Animal services with the city of Lubbock has come in and they set traps. Once the cats are removed there, they're taken to the shelter." Cook said.
TTU's feral cat program spayed/neutered over 300 cats.  This causes the feral cat population to shrink over time.  Did unaltered cats make their way onto Tech's campus and produce a kitten boom?  If that didn't happen, then Cook offered another lie.

Cook said the health and safety of those on campus is a top priority, but with the current population of ferals, it is at risk. Especially for kids who play outside the Childhood Research and Development Center.

"It does take quite a bit of resources every morning to clean the urine, feces, vomit and other things that are in those areas that could be hazardous to children." Cook said.
There are deterrent strategies for keeping cats away from specific areas, like a playground's sand box.  Did Tech's award winning facilities department test any deterrents?  Farmers and ranchers have long had barn cats for their beneficial health reasons.  They keep away rodents, which keeps away snakes that like to feast on rodents.  What different can of worms are Hugh Cronin and Chris Cook opening for kiddo's in the future?

Tech is swamped with complaints about cats trapped under buildings. Cook said trapped animals are being rescued as soon as possible. The last thing the university wants is to do any harm. If you see a cat in need of rescue from under a campus building, you can call the Tech Physical Plant at (806) 742-3314.  

If Tech actually rescued the cats under the buildings they wouldn't need to put up sheet metal behind the mesh.

Why block sight into the crawl spaces if all the cats have been removed?  Tech's words and actions are at odds yet again.  It's hard to see Chris Cook as credible when his words are unpacked.

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