I need your help to protect Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and community cats in the nation’s capital.
D.C. is considering a plan that would roll back decades of progress and set a dangerous precedent for TNR programs nationwide. The “Wildlife Action Plan” from the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) calls for D.C. to “revisit” its longstanding TNR policy, and states that all community cats should instead “be taken in by several adoption facilities operating in the District”.
Community cats will be killed in shelters—all in a misguided attempt to protect wildlife. DOEE Director Tommy Wells thinks euthanizing community cats is a viable option to “promote biodiversity and not just population control.” Killing cats will do neither of these things and wastes lives. Only TNR humanely and effectively reduces the community cat population.
Human activity, pollution, and habitat destruction are the true threats to wildlife. Catching and killing cats is not only cruel, it’s ineffective: removing cats is counterproductive and creates a vacuum effect where cats repopulate.
Ending TNR will kill cats and do nothing for wildlife. Our nation’s capital is a model for the whole country, and its current TNR policy is both effective and cost-effective. Tell D.C. to protect that policy.
P.S. Every voice counts. Forward this email to your friends and family.
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Thanks to your support, we’ve been very busy this month protecting cats around the country. Here are just a few of our current projects and success stories:
Cat Cruelty Goes Viral Online and Nowhere in the Courts
|The story of a Texas veterinarian depicted in a Facebook photo with a cat she claimed to have killed with a bow and arrow caused outrage. Calls for justice were heard across the US and beyond. However, the grim reality is that when it comes to enforcing animal cruelty laws, there is a shockingly low level of enforcement. Allowing animal cruelty to go unprosecuted is detrimental to society. Check out Becky Robinson’s Huffington Post blog to read more about the gap between Americans’ humane values and the lack of prosecution for crimes against animals.|
Gainesville Reaches Milestone with TNR Workshop and Spay Day
|We have been working hard in Gainesville, Texas to implement and jumpstart humane, effective programs for cats supported by our grant funding. We’d like to share a new video which details how we’re partnering with local groups and Gainesville officials through a TNR workshop and a free Spay Day and vaccination clinic sponsored by Alley Cat Allies. After just a few months collaborating with Alley Cat Allies, Gainesville has officially adopted a TNR ordinance and is beginning to practice TNR. See how we’re following through on our promise to Gainesville’s cats.|
Virginia Attorney General: Yes, TNR is Legal
|Rest easy, Virginia—TNR is legal. The Virginia Office of the Attorney General clarified their 2013 opinion on TNR, emphasizing that private organizations are allowed to practice TNR under state law. The letter also retracts a November 2013 letter by the Opinions Counsel that falsely claimed private organizations couldn’t do TNR. That misinterpretation has been dismissed. Learn more about this important clarification for cats and their caregivers in Virginia, and keep the letter handy.|
Alley Cat Allies Joins Loudoun Community Cat Coalition, Saves Over 100 Cats
|As members of the Loudoun Community Cat Coalition, we were thrilled to assist with the coalition’s TNR clinic on May 17. Over 100 cats were neutered and vaccinated at the Leesburg Veterinary Hospital. We are proud to be on the committee with other outstanding groups, including Loudoun County Animal Services, Loudoun County Animal Control, Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, Towne Animal Clinic, the Humane Society of Loudoun County, Friends of Loudoun County Animal Shelter, Leesburg Veterinary Hospital, and CHASE. Thanks to all the volunteers, veterinary staff, advocates, and supporters who came out to help the cats! Check out the great photos of the event, and learn more about our partnership with this new coalition to save cats in Loudoun County.|
Adoptable Cat: Meet Tony
|Look at those cute floppy ears! Tony is a 10 year old tabby we found during a Trap-Neuter-Return event. At the time, he didn’t seem to feel too well. Turns out he is FIV+ and diabetic, so he needs extra care and love from a truly special person. Tony is doing great now and is ready for his forever home. He is sweet as pie, and your heart will melt when he looks at you with his big green eyes. And he never gets tired of head scratches. Be a hero for Tony—bring him home today!|
The Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats are Ready for Summer and Need You!
|Due to the hard work of our devoted volunteers, our Boardwalk Spring Cleaning went off without a hitch! Eighteen volunteers brought their high spirits and energy to tidy up the boardwalk, repair feeding stations, and refurbish the cat shelters. But caring for the Boardwalk Cats doesn’t end with spring cleaning—we need volunteers to help out all year. If you live in the Atlantic City area, sign up to volunteer today! You don’t need experience—you just need a love for cats and a desire to help. The Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project is a model program for the nation and shows that Trap-Neuter-Return works. Thanks so much to the volunteers and staff for providing this important service to the community and the cats!|
Four Cities in Two Weeks? We got this. This month we have Trap-Neuter-Return workshops scheduled in Oxon Hill, Maryland; Sedalia, Missouri; Houston, Texas; and Brenham, Texas. If you’re in any of these areas, RSVP and find out how you can protect cats in your community!
Boost Your Advocacy with a Kitten Care Kit! Young kittens require specialized care, but a Kitten Care Kit has all the tools you need. Check out how to make your own Kitten Care Kit, and share your knowledge with your friends and veterinarian!
This National Feral Cat Day®, we’re on a mission to help animal shelters advance their policies and programs to save more cats. To accomplish this goal, we’ve ramped up our National Feral Cat Day® Challenge Awards Program and are specifically targeting shelters for the NFCD Challenge 2013.
In previous years, we’ve offered nonprofit organizations awards of $500 and $1,000, but this year, we will award five shelters with $5,000 each! We’ve increased the award money because we want to help shelters implement sustainable initiatives that will save cats’ lives now—and well into the future. To help them adopt lifesaving policies, we’re also offering support and guidance from Alley Cat Allies.
To qualify for this year’s NFCD Challenge Awards Program, shelters must commit to an official Feral Cat Protection Policy, which means that they stop impounding feral cats, and support Trap-Neuter-Return.
Find out more at http://nationalferalcatday.org/awards/. And ask your local shelter to apply for a National Feral Cat Day® Challenge Award! Applications are due on Friday, Sept. 20.
Alley Cat Allies
P.S. Don’t forget to register your National Feral Cat Day® 2013 event on our interactive event listing. Register today!
Thanks to the support of loyal donors like you, we’ve been very busy this month protecting cats around the country. Here are just a few of our current projects and successes:
Veterinarians Think TNR is the Cat’s Meow
Ohio Kitten Shooting Sparks Outcry—and Change
Tangier Island: Where TNR Comes with a Free Golf Cart Ride
Adoptable Cats: Meet Jasper, Jace, and Arrow!
The Search is ON! We’re Recruiting for an Executive Director
National coalition of animal health and welfare organizations responds to recent article highlighting cats’ predatory prowess
(ANNAPOLIS, Maryland) February 1, 2013—A recent study and corresponding media reports have cast a negative light on cats by suggesting that they may be responsible for killing perhaps billions of birds and mammals. Dr. Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, and a feline practitioner in Maryland today expressed concerns that the study and corresponding articles may hamper the ability of shelters to place cats in adoptive homes.
“We regret the fact that the articles written about the study have maligned cats as a whole, when in fact, the vast majority of the estimated destruction to wildlife was reportedly by feral or stray cats,” she said. “This works to discourage prospective cat owners from adopting one of the hundreds of thousands of healthy, enjoyable cats that are held in shelters across this nation.”
In response to these disparaging articles the CATalyst Council offers the following observations:
1. Responsible cat ownership is best supported by keeping your cat indoors. This is not only for the protection of wild birds and mammals, but also for your cat’s own good. Cars, dogs and people pose a threat to your cat while it roams, as do parasites, fleas and ticks, and chemicals. Part of being a responsible cat owner is keeping your cat safe from harm.
2. Support your local Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program and the development of other non-surgical ways to sterilize large numbers of animals. Unfortunately, articles written about the study are unclear about the study’s report that feral cats and not pets were responsible for the majority of the estimated deaths. Whether you’re a pet owner or an animal lover, by ensuring feral sterilization programs have the needed local funding, you will be helping to reduce the number of future feral cats in your community.
3. Remember that some of the killed mammals cited in the study are pests, including mice and rats, which reproduce quickly and pose a public health concern when their numbers are allowed to grow unchecked. By helping to reduce the number of rodents, the cats are performing a valuable service.
“I think this study presents an opportunity for discussion about what responsible cat ownership entails and what people can do to help all the animals in their community, including feral cats,” Dr. Brunt continued. “But what we don’t want to see is inflammatory media coverage that discourages cat ownership and portrays cats in a negative light. Because of the millions of cats sent to shelters each year, CATalyst Council has worked hard to enhance community relationships between shelters and veterinarians to solve problems in individual communities, and cat population is a significant one. Commentary in response to the report does nothing to help our shelter population or the people who work so hard to place these wonderful pets in forever homes.”
The CATalyst Council is a national organization which includes a wide variety of animal health and welfare organizations as well as corporate members of the animal health industry that are working together to improve the health and welfare of America’s favorite pet. It was founded in response to troubling statistics released by the American Veterinary Medical Association that indicate an increase in our nation’s pet cat population coupled with a decline in veterinary care for those cats. More information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.
“Open letter” in Florida Today notes that TNR is effective and saves lives; offers help addressing concerns
BETHESDA, MD – Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today published an open letter to county commissioners in Brevard County, Fla. asking them to stop “chipping away” at a longstanding Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) ordinance. The TNR program has benefitted the county by effectively managing the feral cat population and has saved cats from certain death in animal shelters.
“Brevard County has served as a model for humane care for cats since 1999, when it was one of the first U.S. counties to adopt TNR, the only effective and humane approach to feral cats. Since then, thousands of communities across the nation have embraced TNR in place of catch and kill,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.
Robinson said Alley Cat Allies has offered to provide community education to address any residents’ concerns, and will continue to press on the county to maintain the program. It is also rallying supporters to oppose any efforts to weaken TNR in Brevard County.
“The commissioners have started to dismantle the program, putting cats’ lives at risk,” she said. “This is the wrong direction for the county, its residents and cats.”
The letter, published in the July 18 issue of Florida Today, can also be downloaded at www.alleycat.org/BrevardCounty.
Full text of the letter as published follows:
In 1999, Brevard County recognized the need for a program to address feral cats. County officials knew that endlessly trapping and killing cats was a waste of taxpayer dollars and costing healthy animals their lives.
A pioneer in the United States, Brevard was among the first counties to support and encourage Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for feral cats, a lifesaving program that keeps feral cats out of shelters—where they are inevitably killed, because they are not socialized and therefore unadoptable. In a TNR program, feral cats are trapped, neutered and vaccinated (boosting community rabies prevention efforts), eartipped for identification and returned to their original outdoor home.
The community came together in support of this humane program. Residents, animal control employees, and county commissioners all wanted to stop killing healthy animals. I know, because I worked alongside the animal control director to help create Brevard’s sustainable TNR program.
For 13 years now, the TNR program has successfully kept feral cats out of shelters, decreasing the amount of tax dollars spent killing healthy animals. Neutering the cats ends the cycle of reproduction and benefits the community. There are no new kittens. The colonies stabilize and reduce over time. Behaviors associated with breeding cats—like yowling, roaming and fighting—stop.
Alley Cat Allies, our 300,000 supporters nationwide, and hundreds of concerned citizens in the county ask that you not lose sight of the reason this program was created—to save cats’ lives. The benefits to the community from this program are vital—fewer calls to animal control, fewer taxpayer dollars spent housing cats only to then kill them, and more time and money available to find homes for adoptable animals.
We understand that some issues have arisen that need to be managed, but in our experience these concerns can be addressed through public education, reminding residents that feral cats are not a threat. At your meeting on May 15, 2012, you barred volunteer caregivers from growing TNR in the county, and announced intentions to chip away at the program. The proposed changes would discourage participation and TNR will suffer countywide. This is the wrong direction.
Brevard County has served as a model. Today, thousands of communities nationwide have embraced TNR. As trustees of your county, we ask that you continue to stand behind your program. We ask compassionate citizens in Brevard County to continue to oppose any changes to county law as those changes would put cats’ lives at risk.
We know that by working together we can address any concerns without compromising the long-standing TNR program and continue to save cats’ lives. Please accept our offer to help you.
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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 300,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is www.alleycat.org.