Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 |
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New policy on cats should be reviewed
This is insane. Last night I trapped a male feral cat that was fighting my cats and spraying my house nightly. I was quite pleased I caught him, as the vet bills add up. I took him to the humane society first thing this morning — and was told that it now costs $90 to turn in a stray. Or, I could make an appointment and get him neutered. That would have been cheaper — had I wanted to wait the month and a half as they are booked solid until then. I should keep a dangerous cat that long to neuter him and then have no place where he would be welcome? The options were heartbreaking. I couldn’t just dump this cat somewhere — that’s a terrible thing to do, making him someone else’s problem.
So I had no choice, paid the $90. Not fun on a Social Security income. Now, how many people do you think will pay that when they unwittingly bring a stray in? It was mentioned that more than once — a lot more — people have just walked out and turned the cat(s) loose in the KHS parking lot! And if not there, then they will find somewhere else to dump them, adding to the already critical feral cat problem we have here on the island!
I always assumed the humane society would do everything in its power to slow the spread of feral cats, which is an epidemic on Kauai. But this is just crazy! Without a safe place to take unwanted cats, these cats are now going to be wandering neighborhoods, desperately looking for food, fighting with other cats and spreading diseases, and increasing the danger to native birds.
This new policy must be readdressed! I just can’t imagine what they were thinking implementing this policy. I don’t think anyone thought this through, but it’s a total disaster in the making. Please make it known that this policy is dangerous and inhumane.
Susan Straight, Waimea
• Editor’s note: KHS Executive Director Mirah Horowitz said the $90 fee is to hold and euthanize a feral cat. It still accepts stray animals.
If Kauai were smart (and it isn’t), the powers that be would put into place a law banning ALL cats from the island. They are simply too dangerous for the fragile ecosystem. Worldwide, outdoor cats have been involved in the extinction of more bird species than ANY other cause, except habitat destruction — to say nothing of their potential to spread deadly diseases like rabies and Toxoplasmosis. WAKE UP, KAUAI!
Mr. McMacken. There are no rabies here!
That’s correct, of course. I was speaking worldwide.
“• Editor’s note: KHS Executive Director Mirah Horowitz said the $90 fee is to hold and euthanize a feral cat. It still accepts stray animals.”
Please clarify your Editor’s note. Does KHS charge a fee to drop off a stray animal? What is the difference between a “feral cat” and a stray animal?
I don’t normally comment on TGI stories, but I have to on this one. I know Ms. Straight, and have known her for years. Her dedication to feral cat husbandry is solid. Could Horowitz somehow define the “difference” between a “feral cat” and a “stray?” Charging $90 to “hold and euthanize” a feral cat is hardly humane, considering that $90 is simply not doable with many folks. I have to agree with Ms. Straight…this is a disaster waiting to happen.
That editor’s note and Ms. Horowitz’ PR spin statements are deliberate misrepresentations.
The KHS has now reclassified “strays” as only those cats that can be held and handled without distress. Because it’s dangerous to handle what might be a feral, they “offer” to have persons who bring in cats make an appointment to have a KHS vet assess and examine the animal, but if the vet determines that it cannot be handled they reject it as being a “stray” and demand only a choice between their euthanize (fee-required) or spay and neuter (fee-required) service options. They will NOT receive “ferals,” which are the largest hazard to residents.
In other words, the KHS and the county have turned the problem of feral cats into a KHS money-making racket, since due to the KHS change of “policy” there is now no humane and safe option for public animal control. By means of its slippery redefinition of “strays,” Ms. Horowitz and the KHS have effectively replaced public animal control with individual consumer veterinary services that are provided (of course) by the KHS.
This policy sleight of hand shrewdly forces residents who are troubled by ferals to take upon themselves the financial burdens and responsibilities of ownership. Quite a profitable scheme for the KHS, since a feral female can birth a dozen kittens (read, $1000 for the KHS) per year, but that’s uan unreasonable cost for residents, who are faced with problem cat populations, especially for those on limited incomes.
It’s beyond outrageous that the county would collude with the KHS to force residents to pay for veterinary services because it is unwilling to provide any options other than the KHS for Kauai’s public animal control. It should cancel its lucrative contract with the KHS and provide a county service that either receives or deals with these invasive pest animals.
Its time for the country to take animal control responsibility away from KHS and go on its own. You can’t have an entity that relies on crazy cat obsessed people for its funding given the responsibility for doing the necessary work of controlling feral cat populations. That they charge $90 is ridiculous, and an obvious attempt to discourage people from turning in feral cats so that their euthanization rates will look better to donors.
A feral cat is born and roam around in the wild. A stray cat was raised by human and dumped or may have lost it’s way. Can Stray cats become feral?
Also, “can we shoot feral cats?” (like we do other feral animals) If so, problem solved!
Shame on KHS. I donate automatically every month to them but now I’m re-thinking my gift. Don’t get cute with semantics. Any cat not in immediate possession of a human is a stray, feral or not. Don’t penalize those, like Ms. Straight, who are trying to do the right thing. I’ll expect your policy of charging for accepting cats to change immediately or you will lose my gifting.
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