News

Feral (community) cat advocates voice support for NY state legislation

Posted in the Syracuse Post Standard, June 1, 2015, by David Figura 

Last week's story, "Feral cat bill would fund 'trap-neuter-release' efforts across New York State," generated a host of comments from readers on both sides of the issue.

Some advocates of the legislation -- which has passed the state Assembly and is currently before the state Senate Finance Committee -- said in emails that they felt the article could have included more from their side. One letter writer insisted that "feral cats" is a misnomer, and that they should be called "community cats" instead.

The proposed legislation would require the state to allocate an estimated $200,000 annually for community-based efforts across the state to "trap, neuter, vaccinate and return feral cats to the area where they were trapped." The money would come from a fund that's fed by dog license fees across the state.

The legislation is sponsored by Assemblyman John McDonald, D-Cohoes, (AB 2778) and Republican state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon (S 1081).

The bill has a list of supporters, but critics of it include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Audubon New York, the New York State Chapter of the Wild Turkeys Federation and the New York State Conservation Council, which advocates for hunters, fishermen and sound environmental practices.

Below are several emails reflecting more from the bill's supporters:

CALL THEM 'COMMUNITY CATS'

Hi, David 
I thought you might be interested in an infographic from a recent survey showing Americans support community cats.

Also, a little background:

Shocking statistics show that nearly three-quarters of the cats who enter our nation's animal shelters each year --most of whom are free-roaming and un-owned -- are killed. And across the country a debate is raging on how to address this issue.

The infographic is based on a Luntz Global survey commissioned by national animal welfare organziation Best Friends Animal Society that was designed to gauge the public's attitude towards these cats.

Topline: the results of the survey demonstrate that people's support for humanely trapping, neutering and returning (TNR) cats to their outdoor homes is favored by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1... as opposed to lethal injection. (Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian who spays/neuters them, tips one ear as a visual signal that this cat has been sterilized and then the animals returned to their original location.) 

This heartening trend is demonstrated in a visually compelling infographic which underscores the truth that Americans' love of animals does not end with their personal pets, it extends to these "community cats."

Best Friends, other animal welfare organizations and concerned individuals use the term "community cats" to describe these populations of felines who live in urban, suburban and rural settings alongside people but that are not companion animals

Rather than belonging to no one, these cats are part of the community and have relationships with a variety of people. Estimates of how many community cats live in the U.S. vary, but 30 million to 40 million widely accepted.

Information about Best Friends Animal Society's cat initiatives can be found atbestfriends.org/communitycats.

Barbara Williamson
Media Relations Manager 
Best Friends Animal Society

IT MAKES FINANCIAL SENSE

Check out the link below to a graphic entitled "Dollars and Sense of TNR," supplied by Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, which describes itself as "The Voice of NY's humane societies and SPCAs as well as not-for-profit and municipal animal shelters."

Dollars and Sense of TNR.pdf

NEVER DONATING TO PETA AGAIN

"I read your article in Sunday's Sports section of the Post Standard regarding feral cats. Please ask your paper to rerun the "Unlikely Allies" article in a section more relative to the entire Central New York community.

"I never read the sports section and saw this article over my husband's shoulder as he was reading it. Too many people who care about feral cats I am sure missed your article. It should have been in the CNY section.

"I support the proposed bill and the TNVR (Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release) model. I used to donate to PETA, but never again after reading your article.

- Christine Barr

SYRACUSE SHOULD INVEST SOME FUNDS

"I have been trapping, spaying and neutering free roaming cats for the past 40 years.

Feral is a misnomer. They are cats that have been " pets " and then abandoned. Then people call them " feral"! Killing them is cruel.

"Go to the hotspots in the Syracuse area and spay/ neuter them. Most can be socialized and then given a forever home. The answer is always KILL! Here are some hotspots: near West side( especially Apple Street) and the Northside.

Syracuse should invest some funds and so the right thing.

Trap, neuter , return does work!

-Fmautino

IT'S THE MOST HUMANE/EFFECTIVE METHOD

TNR is the most humane and effective method of decreasing the community cat population and preventing rabies. The naysayers advocate killing cats at taxpayer expense -- an approach that has failed for many decades and that taxpayers can no longer stomach.
Trap-kill is an endless, difficult, inhumane and expensive undertaking. Despite the laughable suggestion of the American Bird Conservancy, you can't "treat cats like dogs." That would be about as easy as, well, "herding cats."

-Kathleen O'Malley