Maryann Ostrenga's concerns regarding the Wauwatosa feral cat population (May 29 Public Forum letter) can be eased with three letters: TNR.
Community/feral cats produce the majority of kittens turned in to animal control facilities like the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. For decades, trap-and-kill has been the method of choice by animal control to reduce community/feral cat populations. This method is costly to taxpayers and has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective.
Municipalities around the country have embraced a non-lethal approach — Trap-Neuter-Return. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped, evaluated by a veterinarian, spayed/neutered, vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped (so someone finding the cat knows it has been spayed/neutered/evaluated), and returned to the habitat where they were originally trapped
Milwaukee County currently has no program in place to humanely reduce the community/feral cat population. TNR — using volunteers and available grant funding — improves public health, decreases nuisance complaints and stabilizes/reduces the number of feral cats and kittens.
As a Wauwatosa resident, I want the same things Ms. Ostrenga does. However, mass killing of community cats leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
A sensible TNR policy is good fiscal and ethical policy. Contact your local representative and ask them to enact TNR legislation.
Alley Cat Allies (www.alleycat.org) and The Humane Society of the United States (www.humanesociety.org) have a lot of information on the benefits of TNR. On a local level, the Wisconsin Cat Project (www.facebook.com/wisconsincatproject) is seeking volunteers in all 19 Milwaukee County municipalities to help implement TNR. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
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