Manatee County policy on feral cats causes more suffering

January 7, 2014 

Residents in Trailer Estates are using animal traps to try to catch the roaming feral cats which are in the 'non-pet area' of the neighborhood. Elizabeth Williams feels very strongly that some of her neighbors feeding feral cats is causing a problem in the neighborhood, and that the felines are creating a mess with their waste. HERALD FILE PHOTO


As a Herald article makes clear, implementing a "no-kill" policy has not solved Manatee County's animal homelessness crisis, and in fact is causing more animals to suffer ("Fur flies in cat spat at Manatee's Trailer Estates community," Jan. 1).

When "no-kill" shelters refuse to help cats in need, these domestic animals -- prolific breeders and hunters -- are left to fend for themselves and suffer fates far worse than euthanasia.

On their own, homeless cats routinely starve; are hit by cars; succumb to weather extremes; and suffer and die of untreated broken bones, infections, parasite infestations, and contagious diseases such as rabies.

Cats who haven't been sterilized will reproduce, resulting in even more cats on the streets. Roaming cats (who are not native wildlife and do not fit into the predator-prey ecosystem) terrorize, maim and kill countless native birds and other small animals who aren't equipped to deal with such predators.

And as the homeless cat population increases in communities whose shelters have decided that statistics matter more than animal lives, the animals, through no fault of their own, come to be seen as a nuisance and are at risk of being poisoned, shot and otherwise abused by cruel and intolerant people.

Refusing to shelter homeless cats at a taxpayer-funded facility and leaving them to suffer and die on the streets instead isn't a humane or acceptable option. A better way to reduce the number of homeless cats in the community would be to focus on passing a spay/neuter ordinance and providing low-cost spay/neuter services.

And residents need to demand that their local shelters stop rejecting animals and ignoring citizen complaints in a senseless numbers game.

Teresa Chagrin, People for the Ethical Treatment of AnimalsNorfolk, Va.

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