Feral cats are felines that call the outdoors home and for the most part, they are independent and self-sufficient. The ASPCA currently estimates that there about 20 million free-roaming cats in this U.S. That figure includes a mix of truly feral cats, semi-socialized cats, and lost or abandoned cats. As you can imagine, feral cat colonies can get out of control, at no fault to the cat, if they aren’t handled responsibly. To help feral cats, many compassionate individuals and rescue organizations practice trap-neuter-return (TNR), that humanely helps keep feral cat populations in control.
But the police in Jefferson, Iowa are cruelly “handling” feral cats by shooting them. In the city of 4,500, the feral cats are seen as nothing more but pests. According to a city ordinance, residents can request a police-monitored cat trap if they think the cat is a nuisance. Once a police officer collects the trap, if the cat is deemed unadoptable, the officers are LEGALLY ALLOWED to shoot the cat. As a Care2 petition shared, Jefferson police kill about one cat PER MONTH.
Not only is this unquestionably an inhumane way to deal with feral cat populations, experts say that it is counterproductive. Shooting and killing the cats opens up space for other feral cats to take their place. Instead, if the city were to implement a TNR program, the colonies wouldn’t be able to breed so new cats wouldn’t be able to enter the colony.
Due to the outcry from city residents, the city council has put the practice “under review,” but that doesn’t guarantee that the city will end the practice. If you are outraged as we are, please SIGN this Care2 petition that will be sent directly to the city council members of Jefferson, Iowa.
If there is no local group helping community cats, start a TNR program! You’ll find lots of great information to get the skills and confidence you need in the Neighborhood Cats TNR Handbook. For more ways to help feral cats, check out the below One Green Planet articles.
- There Are Lots of Ways to Care for Feral Cats, But Bringing Them Home May Not be One of Them
- Get the 411 on TNR: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Trap, Neuter, Release Programs
- Why You Shouldn’t Just Feed Feral Cats
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