I’m really sorry. I wanted to have a funny post for you today, but there’s an issue going on that is no laughing matter. The city of Los Angeles is being played for a fool by certain misguided, wrongly-informed groups and it’s no joke for feral cats. Because of a ruling last December, the city of L.A. is prohibited from funding and promoting Trap, Neuter and Return programs. In fact, if someone asks city shelter employees about feral cats in their neighborhood, they are not even allowed to mention that there are privately funded programs that do TNR! This means that many people will falsely believe that their only solution is to take feral cats to city shelters, where nearly 100% of them are euthanized.
What’s even worse is that spring is kitten season, and without help from the city — or even education about spaying and neutering ferals — the population of L.A.’s wild domestic cats is bound to explode, resulting in more ferals being put to death in city shelters, and even greater numbers of cats on the streets. It’s a lose-lose situation.How did this terrible ruling happen?
Several organizations, for reasons known only to them, have decided that feral cats are impacting the songbird population, including endangered species, and should be eliminated. This is a curious notion because although I do admit that cats do hunt birds, the biggest threat to the songbird population is not cats, but man’s impact on the environment. Not only that, the city of Los Angeles is a heavily populated, urban area — not the sort of place that harbors rare songbirds. And these people aren’t even taking into consideration that cats hunt mice and rats even more than they hunt birds — and that is good for an urban area. In fact, neighboring cities such as Burbank have set up barnyard cat programs for ferals — people can adopt these cats (after they are spayed and neutered) and rehome them in industrial areas, warehouses and barns where they can control the rat and mice population. This is a much better solution than letting the feral cat population continue to spiral out of control, with euthanizing as the only, ineffective means to do something about it.Sadly, these organizations that have forced this ruling refuse to acknowledge that TNR works, and that there are many benefits for communities that promote the trapping, neutering and return of feral cats. Spayed and neutered cats that live in controlled colonies are less likely to become nuisances; they don’t fight as much, they vocalize less — and they don’t breed.
What about the private programs?
Without vouchers from the city, the full cost of spaying and neutering of ferals is left completely to individuals and private groups, big and small, who foster and care for them. And even if an organization has funding in place, such as FixNation, it can’t be of full use because city shelters are not allowed to tell the public they exist! Make no mistake — the organizations that pushed this ruling through want feral cats dead, even though it’s a fact that euthanizing is not successful in reducing numbers of feral cats.
What can you do to help?
Alley Cat Allies is working hard to restore TNR support in Los Angeles. Please visit this page, and also sign the petition to show that Los Angeles residents want TNR for ferals