A Ban on Cats in New Zealand?

I swear, I really didn’t want to put any energy in to the Gareth Morgan story—didn’t want to give the thing any more oxygen. As a former co-worker used to say, “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

But, as if often the case with such PR stunts, the media is having a field day with Morgan’s just-launched campaign to rid New Zealand of cats. All of them. “The fact is,” he explains on his Cats to Go website, “that cats have to go if we really care about our environment.” For Morgan, “a New Zealand businessman, economist, investment manager, motor cycle adventurer, public commentator and philanthropist,” according to Wikipedia, “that little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer.”

Which, I suppose, would have been easy enough to ignore. Not so easily ignored, however, if the way Morgan and others have co-opted various scientific studies in an effort to justify his proposal. Read more

Feline Shelter Intake Reduction Program FAQs

The timing was perfect—almost.

Not 10 minutes after I published yesterday’s post, I noticed a link posted by my friends at Stray Cat Alliance on the organization’s Facebook page. Beside the link was this not-so-subtle endorsement:

“THIS IS A MUST READ!!!!!”

As I say, not so subtle. On the other hand, I couldn’t agree more. Read more

Monmouth County, NJ

It’s taken a very long time, but there is now an unmistakable momentum. At long last, shelters across the country are beginning to reconsider their long-standing policies about stray, abandoned, and feral cats.

Among the pioneers were, of course, Jacksonville, FL, and San Jose, CA, with their “Feral Freedom” programs. Late last year, Sutter County, CA, decided to, as The Sacramento Bee put it, “no longer accept healthy wild cats at its animal shelter.” [1]

And last week, the community of Chico, about 50 miles north of Sutter County, announced a similar move. According to the Chico News & Review, the city’s shelter “is instituting a new policy to not accept healthy stray, feral and surrendered cats” beginning the first of next month. [2]

“We’re starting to rethink and re-examine how to do animal care,” explained Tracy Mohr, a 35-year veteran of the animal-welfare business, and animal-services manager at the Chico Animal Shelter. Referring to feral cats in particular, Mohr told the paper: “They’re scared, stressed; they don’t want to be handled by people… Basically it’s a one-way trip for those cats.” [2]

Of course, that’s still the case in far too many shelters across the country. Witness last week’s story coming out of Monmouth County, NJ, for example. Read more

Follow-up: Indian Harbour Beach Ordinance

Last Wednesday, I reported that the Indian Harbour Beach (FL) City Council had voted in favor of ordinance revisions that would effectively ban the feeding and care of feral cats. At the time, I hadn’t seen the final wording of the ordinance, however. Nor did I have any details of the lively discussion that preceded the council’s decision.

According to Florida Today reporter Rick Neale, the council “softened the proposed terms of a citywide cat-colony crackdown.”

“Initially, City Council considered a blanket-style ordinance that would prohibit registered cat colonies across the community. After debate, council members unanimously adopted a version that prohibits future colonies on public property… [but] allows future colonies on private properties, so long as landowners secure City Council approval.” [1]

As for exactly how one might go about securing such approval, I’ve seen nothing spelled out in either the paper or in the ordinance itself. Given what I have read, though, this looks to be a concession only in theory. Read more

Giving Shelter 2013 a Great Success

Unlike the Florida communities of Indian Harbour Beach and Pompano Beach, New York City allows—even encourages via the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals—the ongoing care of stray, abandoned, and feral cats. And, thanks to Architects for Animals, some of these cats are going to be living in style.

Although, as New York Times Home & Garden writer Joyce Wadler observed, “not a single client was present” at Giving Shelter 2013, it was clear that participants in the competition “had taken pains to address the needs of the users.” Read more

Pompano Beach Cracks Down on Feeding Homeless Cats

The same day the Indian Harbour Beach (FL) City Council voted to ban the feeding of, and caring for, feral cats, the issue was making headline 150 miles to the south, in Pompano Beach.

According to Tuesday’s Sun Sentinel, “Gretchen Sheehan’s labor of love”—feeding homeless cats—”netted her a $50 fine,” thus creating a bit of an uproar in the community. Sheehan, it turns out, “had no clue she was breaking the law.” [1]

And a second offense could cost her $100, a third $250, and any subsequent violations $500 apiece. Read more

Indian Harbour Beach Bans Feeding and Care of Feral Cats

Late Tuesday I received word that Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, went through with its proposed ordinance, thereby making it illegal: “for any person to possess, harbor, feed, breed, maintain or keep any feral animals on any public or private property located within the corporate boundaries of the City of Indian Harbour Beach.”

The approved ordinance* reads, in part: Read more

Indian Harbour Beach, FL, Votes on TNR Ban Tonight

Regular readers will recall that last summer, officials in Brevard County, FL, threatened to impose restrictions on TNR by way of changes to their ordinance governing free-roaming cats. This came after a moratorium on new colonies in residential areas was declared by the Brevard County Commission during its May board meeting.

According to a Florida Today article posted yesterday, it looks as if the community of Indian Harbour Beach is taking the lead. Tonight its city council “will conduct a public hearing and cast final votes on an ordinance that would make it illegal to ‘possess, harbor, feed, breed, maintain or keep’ feral cats within city limits.” Read more

Giving Shelter 2013

As I often to say: It’s hip to be tipped. And, thanks to Architects for Animals and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, some of New York City’s hipster street cats will soon have accommodations to match their image. Thursday evening is the third annual “Giving Shelter” fundraiser, a friendly competition for which area architects design innovative outdoor cat shelters (which are later donated to caregivers).

This year’s event will feature entries from Callison Barteluce Architects, Francis Cauffman Architects, a team of students from City CollegeH3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, M Moser, Pilot Projects, Stonehill Taylor, Zimmerman Workshop, and last year’s winner, designer Kathryn Walton—who also happens to be the founder, president, and treasurer of The American Street Cat, Inc. (“just blue collar folks working for blue collar cats,” as the organization’s website puts it).

If the photos from previous years are any indication, there’s bound to be some spectacular designs!

All proceeds go to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. For tickets, reservations, or to make a donation, click here.

Where: Steelcase Showroom (4 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019)
When:
Thursday, January 10, 6:00–8:00 pm

Animal Wise Radio: 2012 Trap Liner Awards

Did you catch this week’s Animal Wise Radio show? Hosts Mike Fry and Beth Nelson had me on to discuss the 2012 Trap Liner Awards and my November 16 Q&A with Walter Lamb.

If you missed it, you can check the complete show in podcast format. An MP3 file (12 MB) of our conversation (approximately 25 minutes) is available here.

2012 Recap—Tomorrow on Animal Wise Radio

Tune in tomorrow to Animal Wise Radio, when I’ll be on with hosts Mike Fry and Beth Nelson discussing the 2012 Trap Liner Award and other feral cat news items from last year.

As always, you can listen online—the show is live 12:00–2:00 CDT.

While you’re at it, please show your support by “Liking” their Facebook page (where you’ll read about, among other things, ongoing efforts by Animal Ark and Fix Minneapolis to reform Minneapolis Animal Care and Control).

Hope, Kansas?

Wellington, Kansas, rings in the new year by introducing a pet limit law aimed at reducing the number of free-roaming cats. The likely outcome? More cats—and more of them killed.

According to a news report Monday, the city of Wellington, Kansas (8.19 square miles, population approximately 8,057), recently modified its animal ordinance to include a provision that “no person or household shall own or harbor more than four cats of more than six months of age or more than one litter of kittens.”

“We were picking up, compared to years past, a couple hundred cats per year,” Wellington Police Chief Tracy Heath explained. “We’re hoping that this new ordinance may lower that number.”

Hoping?

Well, OK. I suppose that’s all Tracy’s got in this case. There is, after all, no reason to think the four-cat limit will lead to fewer intakes. Read more

2012 Trap Liner Award

“Like so many others of my tenure and temperament—stubborn ancients, I suppose—web reporting is anathema to everything I love about newspapering: getting a tip, developing leads, fleshing-out the details, then telling the story.”

“Now,” laments former Times-Picayune reporter Chris Rose in the August issue of the Oxford American (excerpted in the current issue of Utne), “it stops with the tip. Just verify (hopefully!) and post it. I didn’t write stories anymore; I ‘produced content.’”

Perhaps this emphasis on “web reporting” explains the largely pathetic coverage surrounding the free-roaming cat/TNR issue. There’s probably not even a tip in many cases, just a press release.

Whatever the cause, the effect (in addition to a misinformed public, misguided policy, etc.) is a very competitive field for the 2012 Trap Liner Award. Read more