I know several advocates who wrote a response to PeTA’s letter, and none were published. Today, I sent a response to Mr. Hedrick to the Times News, which is published in full here; however, the email I had to send was a condensed version as we are only permitted 300 words. While Mr. Hedrick’s letter is 607 words of misinformation, I will not let the length of my correspondence warrant an automatic exclusion as the reason for non-publication.
This letter is in response to Ken Hedrick’s discussion on Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR), on August 10th, 2011. Shelter Director, Karl Brubaker, noted at the last Animal Control Board meeting that females are spayed as a part of TNR. Rabies shots can be given every 3-5 years, and communities that embrace TNR find the expenses incurred are fewer because they decrease the cat population and number of intakes at the municipal shelters. Grants are readily available to assist the costs associated with TNR, which is beneficial for the public.
Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends, Nevada Humane Society, Charlottesville SPCA, and several other organizations list TNR as the best method for stabilizing cat populations, and also diminishing them. Thompkins County SPCA has been using TNR quite successfully for over a decade. When cats are trapped, taken in and killed, you leave an empty territory for new cats to move in, who reproduce due to lack of competition for food, and suddenly it’s a population issue again. We’ve always been trapping and killing, and we always continue to have this same “problem”. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you continue to get what you’ve always gotten! Through TNR, colonies hold their territory, and decrease in population as new litters are not born. Even if a percentage of cats are sterilized in the beginning, it would have astounding affects as all those litters that would have been born are not. Please research the Stanford University case in which an approximate 500 cat colony is down to 15.
While the County Attorney has stated that current actions being taken are in compliance with current law, those cited also permitted the murder of thousands of animals. No sane person would agree to continue killing 85% of the animals that come through the shelter’s door. Mr. Devore and the Commissioners should be lauded for breaking free of the encrustation of death that has surrounded the shelter for years. It’s time for Allegany County to leave the 19th Century, and step into the modern era. There are old and archaic laws, and now is the perfect time to change them.