Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Feral Cat Day Challenge

Today is National Feral Cat Day, an event created and promoted by Alley Cat Allies.  It is a day to celebrate the successes of Trap Neuter Return (TNR), kickstart new programs, and educate the public.

If you are in animal welfare, unless you have been living under a rock for the last five years, you know that TNR is the only humane, effective method of reducing the feral (community) cat population.  It also saves taxpayer's money.   If you are not in animal welfare and you are intrigued by what I just said, I won't go into the details here.  There is already a ton of good information available and you will find everything you need on these two websites.

Alley Cat Allies

Vox Felina

Every major animal welfare organization (except PETA - who I would argue are NOT an animal welfare organization)  including Best Friends Animal Society, the ASPCA, the HSUS, No Kill Advocacy Center, the National Animal Control Association, Maddie's Fund, Petsmart Charities and countless others; agree that TNR works.

Unfortunately, in Wisconsin we have several shelter directors who STILL do not embrace TNR.   So they are either rock dwellers or PETA followers and their philosophies do not align with 2013 animal sheltering.  These shelters are still killing every healthy feral cat that enters their building.

Using a TNR program to keep the ferals out of our shelters saves cats AND dogs.  By reducing the number of animals at the shelter - more resources are freed up for the animals that are truly homeless. Feral cats are NOT homeless - they already have a home, it's outside.  So they should be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped and re-released at their home. Even if you aren't a cat person, speaking out for cats will help save the dogs at your shelter.

In honor of  National Feral Cat Day I am issuing a challenge to my readers.

1.  If you are a shelter director that believes in TNR but is still not practicing it: start today to take a step in the right direction.  If you have city ordinances that make it illegal; set up a committee of volunteers to start the process of changing the law. There is a wealth of information to help.  Use your website, newsletter and Facebook page to educate your supporters about the benefits of TNR.  Do you really think they want their donations being used to kill cats? Use your clout in the community for education and support.  I am dismayed by how many shelter websites and Facebook pages, totally ignore the elephant in the room.  Getting feral cats out of the sheltering system saves money and benefits everyone, even the birds; because you are reducing the cat population.  You don't even have to create your own content - there is a wealth of it out there to share.  Check out the amazing way that Spartanburg Animal Services educates their supporters on Facebook with an entertaining, yet effective message.

2.  If you are a shelter volunteer, staff member or donor: ask your shelter director and the Board of Directors what their position is on TNR and why the shelter is or isn't participating.

If they are supportive AND have a TNR program buy them some cupcakes for National Feral Cat Day.

If they are supportive but do not have a TNR program, return to Number 1 above and ask them to start TODAY.  If they comply, buy them some cupcakes.

If they actively speak out against TNR, avoid your questions, or refuse to meet with you;  begin the process of removing them from their position.  Example - Sauk County Humane Society.  Check out the Friends of Sauk County Animals and their efforts to remove their regressive shelter director, Dana Madalon.   And NO cupcakes for them!

"An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied." Arnold Glasgow

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