My Pet Peeve: Pets at Events by Ed Boks

Don’t take your pets to loud events. Bring them a T-shirt instead!

I recently attended an anti-animal cruelty fundraising event.  Heroic individuals who dedicated their lives to ending the most dreadful forms of cruelty were recognized – cruelty like the fur trade, circuses, trophy hunting, rodeos, puppy mills, the dog meat industry, and so on.

Only society’s most WOKE animal lovers were invited to this exclusive event.  So you can imagine my horror when some of these extremely committed animal lovers unintentionally exposed their very own pets to prolonged bouts of pain. Continue reading “My Pet Peeve: Pets at Events by Ed Boks”

Operation FELIX: Feral Education and Love Instead of X-termination by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Albert EinsteinInsanity, according to Albert Einstein, is “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Many communities address their feral cat problem over and over again with two basic methodologies ­- only to be disappointed by the consequences of their efforts.

Feral cats are cats who have reverted to a wild state – born from tame cats that owners abandon or allow to run loose. These cats mate with other free-roaming cats, and their offspring, raised without human compassion, are wild, or feral. They grow up and breed with other feral and free-roaming cats and the cat population increases exponentially. Feral cats are considered a public nuisance by some and a public health concern by others. They needn’t be either.

The two methodologies employed by most communities are Do Nothing and Eradication. Decades of applying these methodologies has proven they don’t work – and there are very real biological reasons why.

It is easy to understand why doing nothing has little impact on the problem, but it is not as easy to understand why eradication does not work.

Feral cats typically live in colonies of 6 to 20 cats. When individuals try to catch cats for extermination, this heightens the biological stress of the colony, triggering a survival mechanism that causes the cats to over-breed and over-produce. Consequently, instead of birthing one litter per year with two or three kittens, a stressed female will produce two or three litters with 6 to 9 kittens each.

Even in the unlikely event that a person could catch and remove all the feral cats in a neighborhood, a phenomenon known as “the vacuum effect” would result. The removed colony had kept surrounding colonies at bay, but once removed, all deterrents evaporate and the surrounding cats enter the new territory to over-breed. The vacated neighborhood is quickly overrun with feral cats fighting for mates, caterwauling, and spraying for territory. Extermination only exacerbates the problem and actually produces worse results than doing nothing at all.

However, there is a third methodology that is increasingly practiced in communities across the United States and around the world with amazing results. It is called Trap/Neuter/Return, or TNR.

With TNR, all the feral cats in a neighborhood are trapped, sterilized, and returned to the area where they originated – under the care of a colony manager. The colony manager is a trained volunteer in the neighborhood willing to feed, water, and care for the colony.

Ed Boks and feral cats
Feral cats are descended from domestic cats but are born and live without human contact. Trap/Neuter/Return is the only effective – and humane – method of controlling the feral cat population.

TNR prevents the vacuum effect. Altered cats display none of the troubling behaviors of intact cats. Feral cats provide free rodent abatement, a service many neighborhoods unknowingly rely on. Since feral cats only live three to five years, the problem literally solves itself through attrition, provided TNR is implemented community-wide.

TNR also solves public nuisance complaints. There is an adage that says “you can’t herd cats.” In fact, you can herd neutered cats because they tend to hang around the food bowl. No longer having the urge to breed and prey, they follow the food bowl wherever the colony manager takes it. Feral cats can be trained to congregate in areas out of the way of the public.

TNR is a non-lethal, humane and cost-effective solution. Understanding these facts, municipal animal shelters ought to  enact a moratorium on accepting feral cats until a comprehensive community-wide feral cat program can be initiated.

TNR empowers citizens to solve this troublesome problem once and for all. Feral cats are trapped, neutered, vaccinated, health-checked by a veterinarian and returned to their neighborhood where their population is stabilized and reduced through attrition.

If you would like more information on TNR or if you need help to develop this program in your community, please contact me.

LA’s Citywide Cat Program (E1907610)

Los Angeles, August 29, 2019 – The City of Los Angeles has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to evaluate the potential environmental effects of the proposed Citywide Cat Program (proposed Project) that addresses free-roaming (feral or stray) cats in the City. The City is requesting input on the Draft EIR from public agencies, residents, and other interested project stakeholders.

Project Background: In 2006, the City’s Department of Animal Services began to implement a “trap, neuter, return” (TNR) policy and program for free-roaming cats. The City also distributed vouchers to be used for free-roaming cat spay or neuter surgeries, issued cat trapping permits, and otherwise provided support and referrals to community groups that engage in TNR programs. In 2008, the City was sued, and in 2010 the Los Angeles Superior Court issued an Injunction which prohibited the City from further implementing the TNR policy and program without completing an environmental review process in compliance with CEQA (Case No. BS115483). The City prepared a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) in 2013, but ultimately decided to modify the proposed Project and prepare an EIR. The scoping process for the EIR began in 2017.

Project Description: Under the proposed Project, the City would: Directly engage in or make available funds for the spay/neuter of free-roaming cats that may be returned to where they were found, relocated to a working cat program, or adopted; Make amendments to the City of Los Angeles Administrative Code (LAAC) to broaden the permitted use of Animal Sterilization Funds and to the City of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) regarding the definition of a cat kennel; Implement a modified trap, neuter, and return (TNR) program that includes facilitation of trapping, neutering, and returning, TNR-related community education and outreach and collaboration with TNR organizations, and use of incentives to encourage the capture, sterilization, and release of free-roaming cats, including to TNR groups who may return the cats to free-roaming status; Publish and implement program guidelines and ecological conservation measures; and Create a working cat program.

Project Objectives: Broadly stated, the purpose of the proposed Project is to assist in achieving the City’s no kill goal and support the City’s adoption of TNR as the preferred method of addressing the free-roaming cat population in the City. The objectives of the proposed Citywide Cat Program include: Facilitating spaying and neutering of cats in the City; Reducing the relative number of free-roaming cats in the City over time; Facilitating more public and community education on animal-related topics, including free-roaming cats; Training animal services center staff members on cat management programs and engage in collaborative efforts with local rescue groups to help respond to and address free-roaming cat issues; Further implement the City’s no-kill policy by reducing the rate of euthanasia of cats in City animal services centers; and Establishing TNR as the preferred policy to humanely address free-roaming cats.

Environmental Impacts: The analysis contained in the Draft EIR determined that the proposed Project would not result in any significant environmental impacts. No mitigation is required.

Public Review Period: The Draft EIR public review and comment period begins August 29, 2019 and ends on October 28, 2019. The Draft EIR is available online at the Bureau of Engineering website:  https://eng.lacity.org/citywide-cat-program-e1907610

Hard copies may also be viewed at the following locations:

  • Los Angeles Central Library located at 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071.
  • City of LA, Bureau of Engineering, 1149 S. Broadway, 6th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90015
  • North Central Animal Services Center, 3201 Lacy Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031
  • South LA Animal Services Center, 1850 West 60th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047
  • West LA Animal Services Center, 11361 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
  • Harbor Animal Services Center, 957 North Gaffey Street, San Pedro, CA 90731
  • East Valley Animal Services Center, 14409 Vanowen Street, Van Nuys, CA 91405
  • West Valley Animal Services Center, 20655 Plummer Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Public Meeting: A public meeting to receive comments on the Draft EIR will be held on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ramona Hall Community Center, 4580 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90065.

Comments: Please send comments on the Draft EIR to:

Dr. Jan Green Rebstock
City of Los Angeles
Public Works, Bureau of Engineering
Environmental Management Group
1149 S. Broadway, 6th Floor, Mail Stop 939
Los Angeles, CA 90015-2213

Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to jan.green.rebstock@lacity.org. Please remember to:

  • Send your comments in letter format as an attachment to the email;
  • Include a mailing address in the comment letter; and
  • Include “CAT PROGRAM” in the subject line.

Following the close of the comment period, the City will consider and prepare responses to the comments received and compile a Final EIR. The Final EIR will be posted online at the Bureau of Engineering website:  https://eng.lacity.org/citywide-cat-program-e1907610.

All responses to comments submitted on the DEIR by public agencies will be provided to those agencies at least 10 days prior to certification of the Final EIR. The Board of Animal Services Commissioners and City Council Committee(s) may consider and make recommendations to the Los Angeles City Council regarding the Final EIR and proposed Project. The Los Angeles City Council will make findings regarding the extent and nature of the environmental impacts as described in the Final EIR. The Final EIR will need to be certified by the City prior to making a decision to approve or deny the proposed Project. Public input is encouraged at all public meetings before the City.

More information on the value of TNR programs in your community can be found here:

Analysis of Feral & Stray Cat Solutions

Operation FELIX: Feral Education & Love Instead of X-termination

Trap Neuter Return & FELIX

Time to solve our Feral Cat Problem

Why TNR works and plays an important role in achieving No-Kill

Traditional Conservation Science is a Pathological Disorder: Just Stop Killing Animals

Traditional Conservation seeks a return to an idyllic state

Is it possible that traditional conservation science is a pathological disorder driven by an obsessive, distorted belief that the environment can be, indeed must be, restored to some idyllic, imaginary state of being at any cost – including, and perhaps preferring, the killing of anything that gets in the way?

Sound over the top? Continue reading “Traditional Conservation Science is a Pathological Disorder: Just Stop Killing Animals”

Pit Bulls Are Not Monsters

Jim Pennucci/Flickr

They have big hearts, clownish grins, and wildly wagging tails, but pit bulls do pose tough challenges to the humane community. In 2018, nearly half of U.S. pit bulls were homeless.

Many people wrongfully demonize pit bulls as an inherently dangerous breed. Others overlook challenges specific to the breed in their efforts to defend people’s rights to own them. These opposing views often lead to a vitriolic debate that winds up at City Hall. Continue reading “Pit Bulls Are Not Monsters”

Focus on the Deed, Not the Breed: Why Pit Bull Bans Can’t Solve Fatalities

Malcolm Gladwell

In 2006, New Yorker columnist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell used pit pulls to demonstrate the dangers of generalization.

At the time of his article, the belief that Pit Bulls are deadly, menacing animals was so accepted that it had resulted in over 700 pit bull bans in municipalities across the United States. Continue reading “Focus on the Deed, Not the Breed: Why Pit Bull Bans Can’t Solve Fatalities”

Ban the Tether: Why Chaining Up Dogs Should be a Crime by Ed Boks

A seemingly simple solution to a problem can have traumatic, unintended consequences. Consider tethering. A tether is a rope, leash, or chain used to restrict the movement of a dog. Some people believe it controls and tames a misbehaving pet.

In 2005, the Los Angeles City Council disputed that notion by passing a tethering ban. Tethering your dog in Los Angeles can result in a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, or both! Continue reading “Ban the Tether: Why Chaining Up Dogs Should be a Crime by Ed Boks”

Applying the No-Kill Ethic by Ed Boks

More than a policy and statistical objective, “no-kill” is a principle, an ethic, and once applied the practical consequences begin to fall into place. The principle is that animal shelters should apply the same criteria for deciding an animal’s fate that a loving pet guardian or conscientious veterinarian would apply. That is, healthy and treatable animals are not killed simply because of a lack of room or resources to care for them. Continue reading “Applying the No-Kill Ethic by Ed Boks”

Buchanan, Deutch Introduce Bill to Combat Depraved Forms of Killing & Torture of Animals

Vern Buchanan (R – FL)

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) today introduced the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act” to outlaw and make it easier to prosecute those involved in the gruesome killing of animals.

Illustration by Grace Wilson

Disturbingly, in so-called “animal crush videos,” individuals brutally kill, mutilate and torture small and defenseless animals as a perverse form of entertainment to be shared over the internet. And while Congress passed legislation in 2010 to prohibit the creation and distribution of these horrific videos, the underlying acts themselves are still legal under federal law. Continue reading “Buchanan, Deutch Introduce Bill to Combat Depraved Forms of Killing & Torture of Animals”

Rodeo: Legalized Cruelty by Ed Boks

Rodeo: Legalized Cruelty

Imagine a person chasing a terrified puppy across an open field.  The puppy is suddenly and brutally clothes-lined by a rope thrown around her neck from behind.  Her legs fly out from under her and she falls on her back with a thud.  Her attacker grabs her, lifts her up off the ground and body slams her.  She would cry out, but she can’t breathe.  In shock, the puppy’s legs are quickly tied together so she can’t run from her tormenter; and she is dragged by the neck with the rope.

Now imagine this scene occurs not in an open field, but in an arena filled with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cheering fans; and the puppy is not a dog, but an animal sometimes referred to as a “doggie” – a baby calf. Continue reading “Rodeo: Legalized Cruelty by Ed Boks”