Shooting, poisoning no way to deal with ferals

W

e all know the feral cat population is a problem on Kauai. Wild cats are under boardwalks, in the brush, in parking lots and in abandoned buildings. There are folks who care about these cats and are working on a plan on how to deal with them in a humane manner and we hope they are successful. Certainly, their task is a difficult one.

Then, there are some who don’t care about the feral cats and don’t give them a second thought. It’s hard to be upset with someone who is not sympathetic to the plight of feral cats. It’s been going on for years and there are so many of these cats on this island, it’s understandable you’re not going to become emotionally attached to them, no matter how rough of condition they happen to be in. Really, you can’t try to save them, because you’re doomed to two things: One, drive yourself nuts; and two, failure. 

So it’s no big surprise there wasn’t any community outrage over a story in Friday’s TGI that a reward was being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the reported shootings and poisonings of an estimated 50 cats on Kauai. No one that we heard from was demanding the police investigate and make an arrest. These are feral cats and there are thousands of them, so let’s not make a big deal about some of them coming up dead or missing. The bigger concern, really, was that someone might have a rifle at Ahukini Pier, which is where planes fly over.

Now, some will argue that shooting the cats is at least a quick, humane death, better than their daily struggle for existence. But according to the people who reported the latest killings that started in March, cats are being shot in Poipu and the Ahukini Pier area. It’s hard to identify someone who went out with the intention to shoot feral cats as a humanitarian. More likely it’s being done for sport and boredom than it is to reduce an unwanted population. That is cruel, illegal and could be a sign of things to come, said Roby Botkin, managing director of the Kauai Community Cat Project. “This is a very disturbing trend for many reasons,” Botkin said in a press release. “The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a direct correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.”

While we want to see a solution for dealing with the island’s feral cat population, it’s certainly not shooting and poisoning them. We are better than that. Solving Kauai’s problem of feral cats is going to take an orchestrated, countywide action, calling for difficult decisions and an action plan that won’t be easy to carry out. Until then, the Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the shootings. If you have any information on the shootings, call either the Kauai Humane Society cruelty hotline with information (808) 632-0610 extension 105., or the Kauai Community Cat Project at (808) 634-4890.

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