Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Second Letter to the Mayor (still responding to the Safehaven thing)

Linn County could become a model for its approach to feline overpopulation. Could. I can see it.

For years, it was the out of sight, out of mind approach, when Linn County residents took animals by the hundreds to Heartland in Corvallis, free loading off Benton County and Corvallis citizens who subsidize Heartland. Most of these heathy kittens, cats, puppies and dogs were euthanized.

When Heartland said no more, three years ago I think it was, the issue became very real. No longer could residents dump their excess companion animals at Heartlands door and delusionaly tell themselves they'd be adopted, not killed.

Shelters intaking any and all animals, subsidized by counties and cities, are aiding and abetting irresponsible behavior, in some ways, by giving an out to irresponsible citizens who do not fix their cats and dogs. So the overpopulation problem is never addressed or solved. And the cost to taxpayers of holding, housing, killing cats and dogs, at animal control shelters, is unbelievable.

The end result everyone supposedly wants is population control, and most people want that humanely accomplished. However, some shelters and organizations see it differently and see it as a way to make money off the problem, whether they admit to that, I submit if this was not the case, the problem would have been addressed through massive spay neuter long ago.

Shelters have not helped control populations, historically, and often have diverged consiberably from "sheltering" animals in trouble to killing them off in unbelievable numbers. No kill shelters who house a fraction of the aftermath of overpopulation while not addressing the issue through massive spay neuter efforts are useless.

I have often wondered why the majority of shelters and rescues and these huge national humane organizations who do little and whose directors make huge bucks ignore the elephant in the living room. It's ridiculous.

Even feral cat TNR programs are after the fact. Feral colonies arise when people abandon their unfixed house cats and kittens who then reproduce. Controlling the cat population must target the people who will in the end abandon their unfixed cats, kittens, and get them fixed regardless of their ability to pay. Most of these folks are so dysfunctional they will never use a voucher. They might intend to, but don't. Many have no cars, no phones, no carriers.

The way to control the population is access to immediate and unlimited surgery space, transport, identification of problem areas, then door to door footwork to identify unfixed cats and unfixed ferals being fed, then to get it done. To turn things around, for several years, more cats must be fixed than are being reproduced in an area or being brought in unfixed, by people moving to the area.

This is a daunting task, for sure, as females can begin reproducing at four months of age, and have up to three litters each breeding season. One free roaming unfixed male, can not only fight with other dominant males, and get and spread Feline Aids (FIV), but can impregnate dozens of females in a five mile radius. People often abandon unfixed males they have adopted because they start spray marking. People often dump pregnant females, which is unfathomably cruel.

If a shelter holds 30 cats, that is simply the number of offspring of two reproducing females from one summer of litters. It is far more efficient and cost effective to fix those two females to begin with.

How could Linn County become a role model for this worldwide problem? I'm up for suggestions, but I know we could. There is KATA up in Sweet HOme. Me in Albany. Probably someone in Lebanon might get involved. By this, I mean, transport, gas money, accessible unlimited surgeries somewhere and some training on cat wrangling and trapping. Widely publicized numbers to call for immediate response, and some public pressure on hold out cat owners (there are lots who just refuse to fix their cats), property managers/owners to get involved and at the least, get out of the way.

That's how I see it. We could be a role model. I always think all things are possible.

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