Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR): A Humane Solution to Feral Cat Overpopulation

Ed Boks and feral cats
The formula to end the killing of feral cats works

Feral cat overpopulation poses a significant challenge in various regions, including Hawaii, where colonies of free-ranging cats have become a contentious issue. The practice of Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) emerges as a humane and viable solution to address this problem. Despite protests and criticism, TNR stands out as an effective approach that not only addresses feline overpopulation but also addresses the concerns raised by ecologists and wildlife advocates.

The Cat Conundrum in Hawaii

Hawaii, with its warm climate and history of non-native species introductions, faces a unique challenge regarding feral cat overpopulation. The abundance of free-ranging cats, descended from or abandoned by pet owners, has led to ecological issues, such as the predation of local birds and the spread of diseases.

The Deadly Impact of Free-Ranging Cats

Free-ranging cats in Hawaii have been identified as a significant threat to native wildlife. They are skilled predators, capable of killing a substantial number of animals annually. The impact on endangered bird species, such as the ua’u and a’o, is particularly devastating, contributing to Hawaii’s unfortunate title as the “extinction capital of the world.”

Moreover, the spread of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by stray cats, poses a threat to wildlife and humans alike. The parasite has been linked to the deaths of endangered Hawaiian monk seals and various bird species, highlighting the urgent need for intervention.

Countering TNR Criticisms

Critics argue that TNR is an ineffective solution and that other approaches, including euthanasia, should be considered. However, the evidence supporting TNR as an effective population control method cannot be dismissed. Critics, including PETA, claim that TNR fails to address the root cause and can even encourage abandonment. Contrary to these claims, TNR has demonstrated success in reducing feral cat populations when implemented consistently.

Christopher Lepczyk, an ecologist at Auburn University, argues for a multifaceted approach, including adoption, enclosed sanctuaries, and euthanasia. While these methods may have merit in specific situations, TNR remains an essential component, especially considering its humane nature.

The Human Dimension of the Cat Crisis

One critical aspect often overlooked is the human responsibility behind the cat problem. Dumping pet cats on the streets is identified as the primary cause of feral cat colonies. To truly address the issue, efforts should be directed towards educating pet owners about responsible ownership and providing accessible spaying and neutering services.

Christopher Lepczyk suggests that making it easier for licensed vets from other states to practice in Hawaii could alleviate the cost barrier to spaying and neutering. Additionally, a fundamental shift in people’s understanding of pet ownership as a privilege rather than a right is crucial to tackling the core issue.

Conclusion

The Trap/Neuter/Return approach emerges as a humane and effective solution to the challenges associated with feral cat overpopulation. While critics may point to alternative methods, the evidence supporting TNR’s success in reducing cat populations, combined with addressing the root cause of abandonment, highlights its importance in finding a balance between animal welfare and ecological preservation. It is essential to recognize the interconnectedness of human actions, responsible pet ownership, and effective population control measures to achieve a harmonious coexistence between cats and native wildlife.

Harmonizing Forces for Humane Communities: The Vital Role of Collaboration

Introduction

In the quest for more humane communities, a powerful synergy exists when municipal animal control agencies, dedicated rescue groups, and compassionate foundations join forces.  Today, I will explain the profound impact of collaborative efforts among these entities. Together, they create a formidable alliance that can transform our neighborhoods into havens of compassion and care for animals in need.

Municipal Animal Control: The Frontline Guardians

Municipal animal control agencies play a pivotal role in our communities. They are the first responders to reports of animal cruelty, stray animals, and public safety concerns. With a mandate to uphold animal welfare laws, these agencies ensure the safety of both animals and the public.

Rescue Groups: The Compassionate Saviors

Rescue groups are the heart and soul of animal welfare. Comprised of passionate volunteers and animal advocates, they step in to provide care, shelter, and a second chance to animals facing homelessness, neglect, or abuse. These groups are known for their tireless efforts to find loving homes for animals, especially those in municipal shelters.

Foundations: The Pillars of Support

Animal welfare foundations play a crucial role by providing financial and logistical support to both municipal animal control agencies and rescue groups. Their funding can be a lifeline, allowing organizations to expand their reach, invest in better facilities, and implement life-saving programs.

The Power of Collaboration

When these three forces come together, a transformational synergy occurs:

  1. Effective Animal Rescue: Rescue groups often rely on municipal shelters as a source of animals in need. By collaborating, they can save more lives, providing animals with better chances for adoption and avoiding overcrowding in shelters.
  2. Enhanced Resources: Foundations can bolster the capabilities of both municipal animal control and rescue groups, enabling them to offer more comprehensive services, such as spay/neuter programs, medical care, and educational initiatives.
  3. Community Outreach: Municipal animal control agencies, rescue groups, and foundations can work together to educate the community about responsible pet ownership, the benefits of adoption, and the importance of reporting animal cruelty.
  4. Legislative Advocacy: Collaboration can strengthen efforts to advocate for better animal welfare legislation and policies, leading to more humane communities.
  5. Shared Expertise: Each entity brings unique expertise to the table. Municipal agencies can provide regulatory knowledge, rescue groups offer hands-on animal care experience, and foundations provide financial acumen. This diversity of expertise ensures a well-rounded approach to animal welfare.

Case in Point: The Success Stories

Across the country, there are numerous success stories of collaboration between municipal animal control, rescue groups, and foundations:

  • Reduced Euthanasia Rates: By working together to increase adoptions, spaying/neutering, and community education, many communities have achieved remarkable reductions in euthanasia rates.
  • Improved Facilities: Foundations have supported the construction and renovation of shelters, making them more comfortable and accommodating for animals and staff.
  • Emergency Response: During natural disasters or crises, these collaborative efforts enable swift and coordinated responses to rescue and care for animals in distress.

Conclusion

In the pursuit of more humane communities, collaboration is not just beneficial; it’s imperative. The combined efforts of municipal animal control, rescue groups, and foundations form a formidable alliance capable of effecting positive change on a large scale. Together, they can save lives, promote responsible pet ownership, and pave the way for a brighter, more compassionate future for both animals and humans. In the end, it is through collaboration that we can achieve our shared vision of a world where animals are treated with the respect and care they so rightly deserve.

Call to Action:

Ed Boks Consulting
Ed Boks Consulting: Proven No-Kill Solutions for Communities and Organizations

If you’re inspired by the potential of collaboration to create more humane communities, then it’s time to take action.

Consider enlisting the expertise of Ed Boks, a seasoned professional with a proven track record in facilitating effective collaborations. Ed’s wealth of experience, deep knowledge of animal welfare issues, and passion for positive change make him an ideal partner in your journey towards a more compassionate society.

To explore how Ed Boks can help your organization or community foster meaningful collaborations and make a tangible impact on animal welfare, don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can transform our communities into safe havens where animals receive the care and compassion they deserve.

Contact Ed Boks here.

The Unyielding Power of Compassion: A Beacon of Light in a Cruel Society

In a world often marked by its cruelties and injustices, the concept of compassion shines like a beacon of hope. Today, I want to delve into the profound significance of compassion, especially in the midst of a society that can sometimes appear harsh and unfeeling. In our journey through the realms of animal welfare and beyond, it becomes increasingly evident that compassion is not just a virtue; it is a lifeline for us all.

The Human Condition

I can’t do everything, but I can do something; so, I won’t refuse to do what I can do…

As we navigate the complexities of the human condition, we encounter myriad challenges and injustices. It’s easy to become disillusioned and question the inherent goodness of our society. But in these trying times, it is compassion that stands as a testament to our shared humanity.

Compassion Defined

Compassion is more than just a warm feeling or a fleeting emotion. It is the deep, unwavering empathy that drives us to act for the well-being of others, both human and non-human. Compassion compels us to extend kindness, lend a helping hand, and alleviate suffering wherever it exists.

The Compassion Connection

Animal welfare is intrinsically linked to compassion. How we treat animals reflects our moral compass as a society. The welfare of animals often serves as a litmus test for our collective empathy and compassion. When we protect and care for animals, we send a powerful message about the kind of society we aspire to be.

The Ripple Effect of CompassionEd Boks and foster care

Compassion is not confined to isolated acts of kindness; it has a profound ripple effect. When we show compassion to one being, it creates a domino effect, inspiring others to do the same. This positive cycle of compassion can reshape communities, organizations, and even entire societies.

The Power of Compassion in Animal Welfare

In the realm of animal welfare, compassion is the driving force behind every rescue, every adoption, and every effort to alleviate animal suffering. Compassionate individuals and organizations work tirelessly to provide shelter, medical care, and love to animals in need. It is through compassion that we have seen remarkable progress in reducing euthanasia rates, promoting spay/neuter programs, and fostering humane alternatives.

Compassion in a Cruel Society

Amidst the challenges of a sometimes unfeeling world, compassion stands as a beacon of light. It serves as a reminder that even in the face of cruelty, we have the power to make a difference. It challenges us to confront injustice and extend a hand to those who need it most.

Compassion’s Transformative Potential

Compassion has the transformative potential to heal wounds, bridge divides, and foster a society where empathy and kindness prevail. It challenges us to reevaluate our choices, embrace responsibility, and actively work towards a better world for all beings.

Conclusion

In a world that can often seem cruel and unforgiving, compassion is our greatest ally. It is the force that compels us to stand up against cruelty, protect the vulnerable, and create a society rooted in empathy and kindness. As we journey through the realms of animal welfare and beyond, let us never underestimate the unyielding power of compassion. It is not a fleeting emotion; it is a guiding principle that has the potential to change the world, one act of kindness at a time.

Contact Ed Boks here.

Think Globally, Give Locally – Especially True for Animal Welfare

Imagine how you would feel if your boss told you he was so happy with your work that he was going to give a bonus to your coworker.  I suspect you would be dumbfounded.  Yet, in my line of work, it is not uncommon to hear, “I really love the work my local humane society or spca does – so I sent a donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to help support you.” 

One of the greatest misunderstandings and biggest challenge local animal welfare organizations face is the belief most people have that HSUS and the ASPCA are affiliated with local animal welfare organizations.

Do you know how much funding HSUS and the ASPCA gave your local humane society or spca?  If you said “nothing,” you’re likely correct – and this is true for virtually every local animal welfare organization in the United States.

Ironically, HSUS and the ASPCA raise enough money each year to fund an animal shelter in every state.  However, HSUS has no animal shelter anywhere, and the ASPCA has just one shelter in New York City – that actually handles fewer animals each year than most small local humane societies or spca’s across the nation.

The mission of the national organizations is to raise awareness of national animal welfare issues; the mission of local humane societies and spca’s is to actually care for the homeless, abused and neglected pets in their local communities.

Many mistakenly believe their gifts to national groups will trickle down to help animals in their own community.  I only wish that were true.

People come to this assumption through misleading marketing tactics.  Let me give you an example.  I once received an ASPCA direct mail solicitation that was also sent to millions of homes across the nation.  The solicitation said, “Together we can stop cruelty to animals. … As you read this letter, somewhere – perhaps not far from you – someone is inflicting pain on an innocent and helpless animal. … You may not be able to rescue that particular animal. … Please send the largest gift you can manage to help the ASPCA save animals like it.”

Clearly, the ASPCA understands that sending “the largest gift you can manage” to their New York office is not the best way to help protect “an innocent and helpless animal,” a “particular animal,” an animal “not far” from where you live.

I have no objection to national animal welfare organizations asking for support for the important work they do.  However, I do object to misrepresenting their programs by implying they are helping animals in every community in the nation.  This is especially disturbing as you watch the daily barrage of heart-wrenching television ads national organizations use to seek donations.

I believe the maxim “think globally; act locally.” However, I object to national organizations abusing this tenet by suggesting you are acting locally when you contribute to them. Don’t be fooled. When you contribute to these organizations, your money is leaving your community never to return.  If that is your intent, fine, but be sure you understand that.

Every local humane society/spca in every city, town and county, was founded to help homeless, abused and neglected animals in their own community.  Local humane societies are often governed by a local volunteer board of directors and are funded almost entirely by local support.

Most local humane societies and spca’s receive no funding from the national groups, nor are they governed by or affiliated with them.  Local humane societies and spca’s are often the largest local nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization caring for the largest number of needy animals in their community – and these animals need our help. They need your help.

If you are looking for the best way to help homeless, abandoned and abused animals in your community, volunteer with your local shelter or make a life-saving tax-deductible donation directly to your local humane society, spca or animal rescue.

For more on this, click here: ASPCA spending may not be what donors expect.

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

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”

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”

Business-Savvy Landlords Allow Pets: Cities Should Make it the Default

Imagine being responsible for the life or death of 55,000 dogs and cats every year. As the General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Animal Services Department, the desperate need of these animals weighed on my mind every day.  I was determined to end pet homelessness and the practice of killing and disposing of our society’s surplus companion animals.

Today, most cities and towns across the nation share this noble and ambitious goal. Achieving this requires robust community participation, and our cities desperately need the support of an overlooked constituencylandlords. Continue reading “Business-Savvy Landlords Allow Pets: Cities Should Make it the Default”

Think Globally, Give Locally by Ed Boks

Imagine how you would feel if your boss told you he was so happy with your work performance that he decided to give a bonus to your coworker.  I suspect you would be dumbfounded.  Yet, in my line of work, it is not uncommon to hear, “I really love the work my local humane society does – so I sent a donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to help support you.”

One of the greatest misunderstandings in most communities and biggest challenge animal welfare organizations face is the belief most people have that HSUS and the ASPCA are affiliated with local animal welfare organizations. Continue reading “Think Globally, Give Locally by Ed Boks”

FIV-positive cats can live long, healthy lives by Ed Boks

Ed’s 15 year old FIV cat, Oliver

In the quest to achieve No-Kill (which I define as applying the same criteria a loving pet guardian or conscientious veterinarian would apply to deciding a shelter animal’s fate), we must learn to overcome the many widespread myths regarding shelter animals.

The fact is some shelter animals have issues. Equally true is the fact that these issues are seldom the animal’s fault and they can almost always be resolved. Knowingly adopting an animal with special needs is one of the noblest acts you will ever perform; you are truly saving a life. Continue reading “FIV-positive cats can live long, healthy lives by Ed Boks”