It is 2014, a time when many counties and states are switching from the tried and failed animal control method of trap and kill to a more humane approach of trap, neuter/spay, vaccinate and release, TNR. Cobb County Georgia however still enforces the outdated, barbaric practice of trap and kill and punishes citizens that use their own time and resources to humanely and effectively help manage local community cat numbers.
Do you know when and where your local commissioner meetings are? If you support TNR your local commissioners need to hear from you. More and more municipalities are seeking effective strategies to manage community (feral and stray) cats. An overwhelming majority of people agree that community feral cats should not be routinely singled out and killed. This catch and kill approach has been used for decades, if not centuries, and if anything outdoor cats have increased in numbers.
The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
Your local elected officials need to know where you stand on TNR vrs. catch and kill. TNR is supported by most Humane Societies and animal welfare organizations. Spayed or neutered feral cats are healthier because they no longer have kittens or fight over mates and their nuisance behaviors are greatly reduced or eliminated. If the colony has a dedicated caretaker, he or she provides food, water, and shelter and watches over the cats' health and removes any newcomers for TNR (if feral) or adoption (if tame). As the cats become comfortable with their caretakers they are more easily handled should one or more show signs of illness or disease.
TNR improves the quality of life for existing colonies, prevents the birth of more cats and reduces the number of cats over time. It is also more economical than killing; many groups have calculated that the costs associated with TNR are considerably less than those associated with removal, shelter care and killing of feral cats.
If community kill shelters had enough people and money to remove and kill all feral cats, other cats would move into the vacated territory to take advantage of the food source and shelter. For this very same reason, relocating community cats does not work. The new cats will reproduce and complaint calls will continue. Killing cats does not rid an area of feral cats. Killing animals to control their numbers is increasingly unpopular with the general public.
FEEDING BANS DO NOT WORK. The logic behind bans against feeding feral cats is that if there is no food available, the cats will go away. This never happens. ------- The Humane Society of the US
Cats are territorial animals who can survive for weeks without food and will not easily or quickly abandon their territory. As they grow hungrier and more desperate, they tend to venture closer to homes and businesses in search of food. Despite the effort to starve them out, the cats will also continue to reproduce, resulting in the deaths of many kittens.
Feeding bans are nearly impossible to enforce. A person who is determined to feed the cats will usually succeed without being detected. Repeated experience has shown that people who care about the cats will go to great lengths, risking their homes, jobs and even their liberty to feed starving animals. In addition, there may be more than one feeder and other sources of food, including dumpsters, garbage cans and other animals.
We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves.”― César Chávez
Instead of allowing misinformed people, irrational hysteria, and outright animal haters to run the show, local authorities need to focus their efforts on educating the public on the actual facts as it relates to their particular community. If the complainers are worried about rabies and disease, what are the actual statistics on rabies and disease of cats in your area? If they are worried about paw prints on their property or cats hanging out on their property, what are some natural humane deterrents that they can try? Have they chosen the right location for their home given the local nature and wild life?
Should local wild life be destroyed at our hands because a few people dislike or fear these animals? The whiners and complainers obviously chose to live in a neighborhood that attracts local wild life; animals born, raised and thrive in that particular location. The existing nature and wild life might very well be enjoyed by the rest of their neighbors that were most likely attracted to that particular location because of the nature and wild life.
The HSUS has many resources. If there's something you need that isn't available at their website, don't hesitate to send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Working together, you can save money and lives and make communities safer and healthier for all citizens.
Another good resource is your HSUS state director. The HSUS state directors can help with local outdated ordinances and put you in touch with others in your state whom struggle with community cat issues and found solutions that may work for your community.
Much of the information in this article comes from The Humane Society of the US. If you would like to continue receiving the latest news and updates on animal welfare in Cobb County GA, click on Subscribe next to my photo above.