Thursday, June 21, 2007

Feds to Cape May: Birds trump cats

I like this federal ruling! They set the priority as it should be.

CAPE MAY – The city must end its trap, neuter and release program for feral cats, and amend its ordinances to prevent people from feeding wild cats, city manager Luciano Corea told City Council Monday.
He said the city received a letter from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service requesting the change, out of the division’s concern that the cats impact the endangered and threatened birds that nest on Cape May’s beaches.
The city program is aimed at reducing the overall cat population. Cats are trapped, spayed or neutered and then re-released on private land where a resident has offered to feed them. Supporters say the program is a model for the state and has helped keep Cape May’s cats out of the county shelter system.
But Corea reported that the state is concerned about feral cat colonies along the beach. The cats are not a native species, and can kill or injure endangered birds, he said. The state has indicated that the city would be considered legally liable for any endangered bird injured or killed by a feral cat, Corea said.
Some members of the public and council members had concerns, however. Harry Bellangy said the city’s existing cat control program is a model for the state, and Councilwoman Linda Steenrod said it sounds as though many of the cats sent to the county shelter will face euthanasia.
“I think we need to look around for some alternative solution,” she said.
Mayor Jerome Inderwies said he wants animal control officer John Queenan to report to council at its next work session, which will not take place until the first Tuesday in August.


Veery said...

Even if a cat can't breed (which is good) they can still hunt birds. I hope they figure out a strict solution. If people are so concerned with cats being euthanized, why don't they spay, neuter, and KEEP THEM INSIDE. Good post as always!

Bird Advocate said...

Thanks, Veery. Yes, it's unfortunate there are so many unwanted cats being abandoned by irresponsible owners, but it is just as irresponsible to trap, neuter, and abandon them again.