Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Legal and ethical problems for veterinarians who participate (in TNR)

Dr. David Jessup, a senior wildlife veterinarian for the state of California, said in addition to the potential environmental damage caused by feral and free-roaming cats, there may legal and ethical problems for veterinarians who participate.
Dr. Jessup said many of the programs do not follow the AVMA guidelines on TNR programs. Some TNR groups keep colonies in public areas or areas designated as wildlife sanctuaries, which may be illegal. Also, by treating a cat and re-releasing it, a veterinarian may be violating anti-abandonment laws.
"Eventually, it's going to end in lawsuits against veterinarians and veterinary associations," he said.
Potential public health risks created by cat colonies were mentioned, particularly, the risk of the colonies becoming reservoirs of zoonotic diseases such as rabies and toxoplasmosis.
Finally, Dr. Jessup questioned the quality of life of feral and free-ranging cats that have an 80 percent morbidity rate and often die from trauma.
"Who would tolerate a client with many cats and an 80 percent morbidity rate year after year?" he asked.


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