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Re: [WisCats] LaCrosse Tribune

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  • Scott McAuley
    i am posting for the first time, and i too would like answers to these questions that heather schmid brings up another question would be, after a 2-3 year
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 3 2:45 PM
      i am posting for the first time, and i too would like answers to these questions that heather  schmid  brings up
      another question would be, after a 2-3 year death toll of a cat "colony"  woulnt more cats take their place in this predator vacume?
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2005 10:09 AM
      Subject: RE: [WisCats] LaCrosse Tribune

      To the group,
      I am the Executive Director of Coulee Region Humane Society.  I have read all the postings this week from this group as well as what has been written in our local newspapers.  I decided to join this group because I wanted to stay informed about options and what others think/do with regards to unowned cats (feral, abandoned - there are several titles the cats have been given).  And, even though I do not agree with everything, I still respect the opinions of others.
      At this point, it is not La Crosse Animal Control, that falls under the realm of the Coulee Region Humane Society, that has say in TNR.  Our ordinance states that no domestic animal shall roam freely.  In addition, it states that no person shall abandon an animal.  Honestly, I see (please note I am speaking on behalf of myself, rather than the Humane Society with regards to the following statement) advantages and disadvantages with respect to TNR, so I fall somewhere in the middle.  I understand and agree with some of the information that is a result of studying and monitoring feral cat colonies.  I will ask the same questions as I did at the La Crosse Alley Cat Allies presentation a few months back (I really did not receive concrete answers to these questions):
      1.  After a cat is sterilized and tested, what type of follow up health care is done?  This is a must, in my opinion, for the cats in question - even more so than any cat that is "owned."  It sounds as if little to no care is provided.
      2.  What is being done to educate the public with respect to properly giving up an animal?  People continue to abandon domestic animals everyday.  There needs to be an increased emphasis on education or this will not ever end.  I see it everyday, as others that work in shelters or animal groups do, stray animals that people have abandoned.  The reasons why vary, but this is a fact!  And, TNR alone, will not lessen this.  In addition, what is this group doing to educate people about the responsibilities of owning an animal?  I strongly believe that if people have information, they can make a more educated decision. 
      3.  If food sources and shelters are removed, this does stop cats from moving in to take advantage of the same resources.
      4.  How do you suggest handling the complaints of community members with respect to feral cats being a nuisance?
      The information Ms. Kent spoke about in her article is not completely accurate...the number of cats referenced was total cats (feral and non-feral) that La Crosse County Animal Control will see in 2005.  This number is still very troubling, because all of these cats were either owned or stemmed from a cat being owned at one time.
      The Coulee Region Humane Society does indeed work with feral kittens with socialization to try to help them be suitable for adoption.  Also, this is true of adults that let us handle them. 

      From: WisCats@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WisCats@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Heidi M. Shields
      Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 10:45 PM
      To: Wis Cats
      Subject: [WisCats] LaCrosse Tribune

      Hi everyone,
      I just sent a letter to Judy Kent, the lady who wrote the latest article in the LaCrosse Tribune regarding the feral cat problem in LaCrosse.  I have encouraged her to go to Alley Cat Allies for information on the problem and I have encouraged her to write an article presenting TNR.  If you have anything to add, please write to her as well.  Maybe we can get her to put an article out there to get the city council and the animal shelter to reconsider their methods. 
      Dea Misss Kent,
      I just finished reading your article from the LaCrosse Tribune, "Shelter Struggles With Feral Cat Costs", December 2, 2005.  Thank you for bringing the article to the attention of the public.  Clearly, the city of LaCrosse is searching for an effective solution to their feral cat problem.  What they don't understand, is that trap-and-kill is not the solution.  Statistically, there is no proven effectiveness to trap-and-kill.  Those of us who work with feral cat organizations understand a phenomenon called the vacuum effect.  A feral cat colony exists for a reason.  Cats move in and form colonies when there is an adequate food source and means of shelter.  When the cats are trapped and killed, new cats move in to take advantage of those same resources.  The second phase of the vacuum effect is a marked increase in the sizes of the litters produced in the colonies.  Simply put, the colony fills right back up again and killing the cats is only contributing to the problem.  And, as your article pointed out, it is costly.
      The good news is, that there IS a solution.  When the cats are  humanely trapped, neutered and returned to the colony, the population remains stable and declines gradually but steadily over a period of time.  Litter sizes decrease until there are none, when all of the cats are altered.  Because the average lifespan of a feral cat, particularly in Wisconsin's winter climate, is only 3-4 years, it doesn't take long to see results.  Any kittens who are tame are taken to local animal shelters and offered for adoption.  The rest of the cats are left to live out their lives without threat of death and unable to reproduce heirs.  And the feral cat problem virtually, and relatively inexpensively, resolves itself. 
      Clearly, the key for the city of LaCrosse is education.  Alley Cat Allies is the nation's leading authority on feral cats and Trap-Neuter-Return programs.  I encourage you and all of your readers to explore their website at www.alleycat.org  .  It it the only proven method of reducing feral cat colonies.  I hope that the city of LaCrosse can be part of the solution and not continue to spend money only to be part of the problem.
      I would be very happy to discuss this with you if you would be interested in doing an article presenting the trap-neuter-return system.  Please feel free to call me at 608-429-3795 or email me at maestro@...
      Thank you for your time,
      Heidi M. Shields
      Columbia County Humane Society
      Feral Cat Colony Project
      "A lot of money will buy you a champion cat, but only kindness will make her purr."
    • Ebru1331@aol.com
      just to answer a couple of your questions with answers from my personal experiences with tnr. if i see that an animal needs attention wether it is a tnr
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 10 9:33 AM
        just to answer a couple of your questions with answers from my personal experiences with tnr.  if i see that an animal needs attention wether it is a tnr graduate or not i will retrap or medicate it accordingly.  also since tnr in my neighborhood started we have not seen the constant litters being born or looking and hunting for food.  there has been less fighting during the night of the males fighting over the females and i really have not run across any ill animals.  in fact the 12 yr old female that is a tnr grad actually is not skin and bones anymore.  she has doubled her weight and looks the healthiest she ever has.  and her babies started out life on a healthy note, disease and parasite free and will never be able to breed and create more of not only a population issue but a disease issue.  i believe when they have a good healthy start that they have a better chance of staying that way.  i also fully intend to keep tabs on my colony to ensure they are fed and healthy and stay that way.  sincerely ebru1331@...
          i also use winter cat housing so there are less residents in our area complaining that the cats got under their houses and did damage.  they actually use the housing i provide and seem to like it.
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