Many of us blogging cats, and our humans, have been horrified that a bill, HB210, has been introduced in Utah’s state legislature that would make it perfectly legal to kill cats and dogs that are assumed to be feral, or wild. The supposedly “humane” means that would be permissible include shooting with a gun or bow and arrow or clubbing them. Ever since Stephen Colbert featured this bill, and the representative who introduced it, Utah Rep. Curtis Oda, on his Colbert Report, Rep. Oda, has received death threats and Utah has received a lot of negative publicity. In spite of this, Oda refuses to kill the bill, asserting that to withdraw it would allow those who made threats of violence against him to win.
Of course Rep. Oda is not taking into consideration the violence his bill would bring upon my feral brothers and sisters (not to mention any pets that some misguided, armed human believes to be feral). Even so, in a way he is right — as much as I flexed my claws when I heard about HB210, threats of violence are not the way to stop it. A better solution is to offer alternatives and to be a voice of reason. And that is what Best Friends is doing.
You may or may not know this, but Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is located in Kanab, Utah and happens to be the largest employer in the county in which it is located. So they have a certain amount of clout in the state. They have asked State Senator Dennis Stowell to sponsor SB57, which changes the rules regarding feral cats. Up until now, if ferals were brought into an animal control facility, they were held for three days and if unadoptable (which most ferals are), then euthanized. SB57 would set up a way for feral colony caretakers to work with their communities and animal control to practice Trap, Neuter and Return. Gregory Castle, Best Friends’ CEO says that this is more cost-effective than housing and killing thousands of cats annually at animal control facilities, and Shawni Larrabee, director of Salt Lake County Animal Services agrees. “The high numbers of cats being trapped and killed in our shelters each year make it clear that catch and kill is not effective,” she says. “TNR is the only program that has shown to result in a decrease in the number of animals entering shelters.” This is the opposite of Rep. Oda’s claim that TNR is not effective. Since Ms. Larrabee is directly involved in what happens in Utah’s animal control, I tend to think she is more credible.
If you live in Utah, I urge you to contact your state representative and say that you are against HB210, and also contact your state senator, and tell them you support SB57. Or if you know someone who lives in Utah, ask them to do this. That is the way to fight HB210, not through threats, no matter how outraged you are.