I received a disturbing phone call last night in regards to a volunteer with Kittico, a nonprofit rescue who offers free spays and neuters through a grant program.
Many of the cats who benefit from this grant are ferals - stray, homeless and wild cats. When ferals are spayed or neutered through Kittico, the tip of their ear is removed to identify them as an altered cat. So, if the cat is trapped again, the trapper will (or should) know it's okay to release it.
The majority of trapped, neutered and released (TNR) ferals are provided with food and shelter by a feral caretaker. Much like the two brother tabbies who lived on my porch for about 10 years, until succumbing to old age. They had regular meals and a dog house with in-floor heating. I'd have liked to convert them to an indoor lifestyle but they wouldn't have it.
However, not everyone at Dallas City Hall supports TNR and feral cat management.
Recently, a Kittico volunteer who was involved in feral colony management - and who accepted trapped cats for release from Dallas Animal Services when they were discovered to be ear-tipped, fixed ferals - was subjected to search and seizure by the City of Dallas. Why? Because she was suspected of having too many cats under the local 2008 animal ordinance.
The ordinance has failed in several ways, which is no surprise as nobody likes being spied on. Since licensing your animals tells the city how many animals you own, it's a convenient way for the city to keep tabs on you. It's also easy to make mistakes about how many animals you own, since the licensing system isn't designed to remove an animal from your home's "head count" when it dies or is rehomed.
And no matter how big your house may be, you can't have over X number of animals unless you go fill out an application that proves you're a foster volunteer with a rescue group. And if the folks at City Hall don't like you or your rescue group, your application will be refused.
The plot thickens, and here's where it gets scary. At least two members of Dallas' Animal Shelter Commission are associated with PETA. And PETA does not support feral colony management or trap/neuter/release. They think feral cats should be killed.
Shelter Commission member Susan Oakey makes no secret of her PETA membership. PETA congratulated her on defending the infamous Ronald Reagan billboard, in which PETA's subgroup GoVeg suggested that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's disease because he was not a vegetarian.
Here's a quote from Oakey, courtesy of peta.org:
"I'm hoping that people will see the billboard and make a change in their diets," says Oakey. "Perhaps other families will be spared the heartbreak of watching a person they love become someone they hardly know."
Even though I didn't vote for Reagan and didn't particularly like him, to blame his dreadful illness on his non-vegetarianism is disgusting. PETA doesn't even bother to give us a scientific source for this allegation (yes, I researched this).
Skip Trimble won't discuss whether he belongs to PETA or not. However, in 2001, he received an activist reward from PETA - an award he could have refused, but didn't.
So, if you hear any member of the Animal Shelter Commission make noises about supporting feral management, you may want to think twice before believing them.
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