On CNN this morning I ran across an article about a tiny little town that is having a cat overpopulation “problem”, and is dealing with it by offering a $5 bounty on ferals and strays brought in alive.
If they’re not claimed after an unspecified amount of time, they’ll be killed.
These cats have done things such as eaten cat food that wasn’t explicitly gifted to them, attacked dogs (and I’m sure the dogs were perfectly mannered, and didn’t go after the cats), and in general, existed. For such crimes: death.
Now, in the town’s favor, they probably haven’t a clue how to manage a feral colony. The mayor’s reaction to TNR and other solutions was essentially “you really think anyone in this town would donate money to cats?”
The mayor said several suggestions have been made, including neutering, trapping and asking for donations.
“You couldn’t get a donation to save a cat in this town for the life of them,” Trively said.
And that either says something about how out of touch he is with the thoughts and feelings of the people he is representing (I’m betting on that one) or how cold the people of that town, collectively, are. They also implied that the problem was sudden -either they’d been ignoring it for a long time, or someone recently started dumping cats in their backyard. I’m guessing on the former for this one as well.
The issue, when talking practicalities, is that removing and killing the ferals and the strays living as ferals is that the problem doesn’t go away. It is masked for a while, and then it comes back. It is one of the most basic aspects of population biology. Too bad few people bother to learn anything about this when they’re trying to make decisions that have to do with population biology!
HSUS managed to drop the ball as well.
John Snyder of the Humane Society of the United States said he doesn’t have a problem with humanely killing a stray cat, but said the money spent on the bounty and the vet expenses would be better spent hiring someone who knows what he or she is doing.
They don’t have a problem with needless killing, but I do. And since we all know that HSUS loves to claim victories, why didn’t they take this small localized opportunity to work with the people of that particular town to say “hey, here’s how you set up feral colonies, here’s why it works, and here’s a year’s worth of vouchers for spay/neuter clinics.”
But nope, they instead took the opportunity to assure all of us that they have no problem with killing ferals. Well, maybe someone from that town will win HSUS’s “pet portrait” contest, and get enough money to start up a TNR program themselves.
Ironically I’ve seen people up in arms about how cats are treated in China. I don’t know all the details about what’s going on in China, but I know damn well what’s going on here – 10 million+ homeless pets killed every single year, and 10 billion other land animals killed every year for food. How is it that we think we can point fingers?