Feral Cat Coalition News -

Communication No. 2/March 2011

Feral Cat Coalition News
Communication No. 2 March 2011
In This Issue
New Jersey
TNR Works
Quick Links
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If you need copies of any of the articles or links in this communication, contact me at vrsmith@widener.edu.


Hi, all Fellow Feral Cat Advocates! 


This is Verne R. Smith, Esq., bringing you the latest Feral Cat Communication, with news from around the nation impacting feral cats and their caretakers.  I am an advocate for the humane treatment of all cats everywhere, and a strong supporter of Stray/Homeless/Feral cat groups and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).  I also teach Animal Law at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE, and I'm the incoming Chair of the Animal Law Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.


As a public service, I have volunteered to bring you periodic updates of issues of concern to all stray/homeless/feral cat supporters.  I monitor cat news constantly.  I promise to bring you only the most vitally important developments, and not to clog up your inbox.


Knowledge is power.  I hope you'll agree that the more informed we are about cat issues, the greater influence we will have in shaping policies that benefit our beloved cats and cat caretakers.


For the animals,



Forgotten Cats Inc.


We start in Utah, the latest state to put feral cats in the crosshairs, where the Utah State House just passed very ill-considered amendments to the state animal cruelty law that would allow hunters in the state to shoot (or otherwise "humanely" kill - whatever that means) any outside cat they encounter so long as the killer had "a reasonable belief" that the cat was "feral."  This would of course effectively declare an open hunting season on any cat found outdoors.  The state Senate has not yet acted on the bill, but the fact that it passed the House by a wide margin (AFTER it had been defeated in a House committee) is very disturbing.  Click here for a link to the bill.  


Fortunately, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (which ironically is also headquartered in Utah) has proposed alternative legislation in the State Senate that would facilitate the establishment of "trap-neuter-return" (TNR) cat colonies in local communities.  Click here to follow this proposed legislation.


Only time will tell which one of these dueling statutes will prevail.  In the meantime, the matter bears close watching, since both laws could act as a model for other states to follow.


Unfortunately Utah isn't the only state to advocate the shooting of feral cats.  The University of Nebraska recently published a so-called "study" of the allegedly detrimental impacts of feral cats on the environment and concluded that feral cats should be exterminated through a variety of methods including shooting them, using other (but unspecified) "traumatic physical means" of death, and using leghold and bodygripping "conibear" traps (which are outlawed in many states due to their cruelty).  Click here to view the report yourself.  This "study" has been heavily criticized, not only for its obvious cruelty, but because it relies on flawed data and highly questionable research.  For more, click here Studies like these unfortunately add fuel to the fire of anti-cat groups, particularly the American Bird Conservancy, which has emerged as one of the leading proponents of trap-and-kill. 

Feral Cat
(Photo Credit: Austen Hill)



Interestingly, feral cat advocates and feral cat detractors actually share a common goal: we all want the feral cat population to decline.  That cat proponents and detractors may be able to find common ground and work toward population control together is the mission of the "Burlington County (NJ) Feral Cat Initiative"  which is a collaborative undertaking by a variety of stakeholders in feral population management, including TNR groups, songbird advocates, and veterinarians.  Their website (to view, copy & paste this url: is a valuable resource for feral cat and TNR advocates, and  is highly recommended to anyone seeking evidence that TNR works and trap-and-kill is inhumane and ineffective. 

While we are on the subject of sharing the good news that "TNR works,"  (which is something TNR advocates should be doing whenever and wherever possible), here are some other good sources of information, case studies, and research establishing the effectiveness of TNR.  This information can be used to influence TNR-doubters and skeptics whoever they may be.


1)      Click here for a well-researched and comprehensive article detailing the benefits of TNR and conclusively establishing that TNR is the most effective, humane, and inexpensive way to manage feral populations, featuring a very cool "Feral Fiscal Impact Calculator,"


2)      Click here for an article about successful TNR programs on a University campus


Feral Cat 2







3)      Click here to see that even Disneyland embraces TNR! 

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please pay attention to this.  Five public shelters in Pennsylvania still use gas chambers to kill shelter animals.  Since virtually 100 percent of cats who are identified as "feral" who are trapped and taken to shelters are killed there, many of them die in gas chambers.  While all forms of "euthanasia" are undesirable ends to a feral cat's life, gas is particularly awful, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.  To learn why, click here.   Last year a Senate bill to outlaw gas chambers in Pennsylvania was introduced but did not pass, but it is likely to be introduced again.  Please call or write your Senator and Representative and urge them to sponsor legislation banning the use of gas chambers in Pennsylvania.  Click here to find a list of your legislators.

Feral cat opponents are increasingly vocal and organized but continue to face stiff opposition from dedicated, hard-working volunteers and groups like Forgotten Cats.  Many of the individuals and groups aligned against the cats make decisions that are founded on misinformation, flawed statistics, and sometimes, it seems, downright ignorance about TNR's virtues.  I hope you can use some of the information is this Communication to influence people you know to show them that TNR WORKS!

Final Thoughts...
On a lighter note, for an entertaining and informative blog about animals in general, with several stories about cats, click on "Unleashed,".   Enjoy!

That's all 'til next time from the Feral Cat Coalition, advancing the interests of stray/homeless/feral cats and their caretakers everywhere.
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