Community can help feral cat problem
by Anne Marie Fuller
Aug 21, 2014 | 2653 views | 7 7 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is a new feral cat trap-neuter-return movement taking place here in town.

Local animal activists will be meeting with Tracy city officials and elected leaders during the next few months to seek funding to slow the cycle of cat overpopulation.

“It is estimated that over 900 feral cats have been identified in and around Tracy,” Ron Silva, president of Animal Rescue of Tracy, said, speaking for the local feral cat caretakers group. “Overall numbers could be higher, even into the thousands. TNR has proved to be an effective means of controlling feral cat population. The biggest problem is we don’t have the funds to pay for the program. With each new litter, the problem will continue to grow.”

Kim Gray, feral cat coordinator for Animal Rescue of Tracy, said the problem is already critical.

“This is too big for just a couple people in town to handle,” Gray said. “When the economy changed several years back and people started losing their homes, more and more cats were abandoned. They left them to roam, and that has led to the critical increase in the cat population. This is why we need to get the community and the city to help at this point.”

In Mountain House, a TNR voucher system is already in place. Mountain House Feral Cat Rescue worked with the Mountain House Community Services District to create a voucher that lists the veterinarian’s name and contact information, the procedure performed and any shots given to the cat. On the reverse side is an encroachment permit to be signed by the person who trapped the cat on MHCSD property. The voucher is sent directly to MHCSD, along with an invoice that allows the veterinarian to be reimbursed. The community has established a yearly spending cap.

“It costs us about $30 to fix a male cat and $60 to fix a female,” Gray said. “That does not include any shots that are needed.”

Some people have suggested trapping and euthanizing feral cats. Really? Please keep in mind that many of these feral-labeled cats were once someone’s pets and are now victims of a down economy. Calling animal control to pick up a litter of newborn kittens in your neighborhood or near your business could prove fatal, as the animal shelter has too small a staff to bottle-feed kittens or provide the needed round-the-clock care.

Maybe Tracy could benefit from some type of voucher system to get the problem under control. Meanwhile, if you would like to help, you can sponsor a cat with a tax-deductible donation to Animal Rescue of Tracy. Visit their website at www.animalrescuetracy.org or call 642-4324.

Fun trivia: An estimated 200 feral cats help keep Disneyland rodent-free — don’t tell Mickey. According to several sources, including the Alley Cat Allies website, the cats are allowed to roam the famous theme park at night. The park even has its own TNR program.

• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at annemarie@columnist.com.

 
Comments
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victor_jm
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August 22, 2014
I've been contemplating the purpose and goal of an animal activist. Now, does an animal activist eat animals? If so, I should probably ask myself, again, what is the purpose and goal of an animal activist? Does this person actively eat some animals while sleeping with others? Is taking a puppy from its biological parents and natural environment an act of animal activism? Is dumping a dog in a backyard an act of animal activism? Is the genetic manipulation of dogs for the purpose of suspending them in a juvenile state of dependence to a human its entire life an act of animal activism? Is dragging a dog with you everywhere you go an act of animal activism?

The real problem is the human animal who abuses in some fashion every animal under his control. Think about all the domesticated animals we use. A bird cage is a prison. A horse stall is a prison. An animal shelter and backyard is a prison. A factory farm is a prison and slaughter house.

I once thought it hypocritical for an animal activist to eat some animals while pampering others, but I now realize the two acts are contempt for the animals: some are raised to be eaten and others are raised to be enslaved.
horsinAround
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August 22, 2014
I used to work on a farm in the cold snowy winter months a horse is moren happy to stay in a barn with a blanket over his back. And don't forget the old commercial, where they said "Dogs - Love -Trucks!" It happens to be true. I once accidently opened the gate and my dog went outside the fence. I thought he would run away and get lost like most dogs do, or worse get hit by car. Not true. He came right back after short period of time. There are different breeds of dogs. I wouldn't own a wolf though. Crocodile too. I'd eat the crock though and make a belt with his hide.
victor_jm
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August 22, 2014
HorsinAround,

I get your point. I was thinking, if not for our species, all these animals would be in trouble, but then I was thinking, maybe they are in trouble because of us. Animals aren't dumb. Imagine if humans didn't exist. Poor animals, they wouldn't know what to do, even after millions of years (billions?) of evolution. Don't fool yourself about "imprinting." Many animals prefer humans to their own kind because we made it so.

The feral cat population is a consequence of our behavior. This is my point about animal activists:

Every day, animal rescuers are trying to figure-out a way to "re-home" animals, but they will do nothing about the selling of animals by breeders, retailers or private citizens. The animal activist believes we have a right to propagate these animals, but when ownership of these animals doesn't go well, their answer to the problem isn't non-propagation and human ownership. Again, after millions of years of evolution, do we truly believe domesticated animals were destined to have us use them in a myriad of ways? I don't think so.

The animal activist is part of the problem.

horsinAround
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August 22, 2014
I happen to have a lot of respect for animals and respect your opinions and assumptions. Know this. That cats are everywhere. In the jungles in the plains and in the mountains. Even in our streets. We eat some fish and throw back the small ones till next time. Some Native American Indians raised some animals and ate others. It is nothing new. It is said that Alexander The Great's body was smuggled in a basket covered with pork, because the smell of the animal was repulsive to those who occupied the city at that time. The Jineshian philosophy puts animals in an eating order, but somehow cows came out as less edible than a rat. And in some parts of the world anything that has two or more legs is edible. On a trip to Fisherman's Wharf I nearly was hospitalized. I have new rules on what I eat and what I won't. You can make changes too. And with time it can change the world one animal at a time. I also do not have respect for people that only respect animals and care nothing for the suffering of humans. The yahoos in Gulliver's Travels threw poo at humans and Gulliver returned home repulsed by humans and human society. It was his inability to make a difference at home that stunk.
horsinAround
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August 22, 2014
But in spite of having said all that, if you could breed a dog that would not ©®@# on my carpet I would gladly pay the $1000.00 dollars.
Bird_Man
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August 22, 2014
Be careful around any feral animal. According to today's Stockton Record, there was a confirmed case of rabies in a feral kitten.
ertion
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August 21, 2014
Perhaps instead of sterilizing these animals, which is expensive ($10 per shot and decreasing), you could give them the much less expensive one-time PZP shot, which has been used to control deer populations. It works for about 3 years, evidently, which is, what, about 2 or 3 of a cat's nine lives. See http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/deer/tips/deer-humane-control.html


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