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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feral cat nonprofit scoffs at order to halt TNR, disses enviro process

Via blog The Birdchaser, GPW reported that last Friday, the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services was ordered by court to stop all "TNR" -- Trap-Neuter-Return activities related to feral cats until the required environmental impact studies have been carried out. Our headline read:

Wild animals in LA win one ...for the time being

Looks like ...for the time being ended pretty darn quickly. Community groups from outside California are already calling for their feral cat activists to ignore, fight, and diss the court decision. Alley Cat Allies sent this mass email out to their supporters the evening of December 8th --
From: Alley Cat Allies []
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 6:05 PM
Subject: Los Angeles Alert: Judge Rule In Local Case Affecting TNR


December 8, 2009
Despite Setback, No Change to Private Trap-Neuter-Return Activity

Dear (....), 

I want to let you know of a recent court case in Los Angeles, and to assure you that its impact is limited. Late last week, a California trial judge suspended the City of Los Angeles' support for Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats. The ruling requires an unnecessary environmental review before the city can restart its support. We strongly disagree with this decision, and we are encouraging the city to appeal.

I want to reassure you that the judge's decision only relates to the city government-it does not affect any Trap-Neuter-Return or feral cat care performed by private individuals or groups. But it would prevent individuals and groups from using city-funded vouchers to spay or neuter feral cats. The suspension is the result of a lawsuit brought under a California law that requires environmental reviews before some government projects can go forward. But this law was intended to apply to activities like highway construction, not Trap-Neuter-Return. Trap-Neuter-Return is a lifesaving program that benefits feral cats and the public by ending the cycle of breeding and improving the cats' health. Studies agree that Trap-Neuter-Return is beneficial for the entire community.

If the city ends its support for Trap-Neuter-Return, more cats will be pushed into animal shelters, where they will be killed. We are certain that in a city as progressive as Los Angeles, residents would prefer their taxes be used for neutering cats, not killing them. We are monitoring this situation, and we will keep you updated on any further developments.

Sincerely, Becky Robinson President

Alley Cat Allies | 7920 Norfolk Avenue, Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814-2525

Dear Becky -- You are completely incorrect in stating that environmental reviews are only intended for activities like highway construction. Environmental reviews address all impacts to the whole environment by an activity.

Feral cat populations definitely impact wildlife where they exist. Mitigating that impact must be included in best practices. Ideally, this mitigation should be one of the by products of a significant, rigorous environmental impact study. Mitigation lies at the heart of the lawsuit ruled upon last Friday and brought by various environmental groups seeking a more comprehensive set of actions to address the problem.  It would probably be best if you look at the bigger picture, the one that lies just beyond your myopic view, and try to be part of the solution rather than the problem.  -GPW

Perhaps they don't have environmental impacts back in Bethesda. Or birds.