Response to Tulare County

In response to the Valley Voice’s article on the “County Responds to Mooney Grove Cat Controversy,” Dr. Weber, a TNR volunteer, had these comments: Supervisor Cox was offended that the county was portrayed as all we want to do is kill cats, which is far from the truth. What is the truth? As has been stated by county officials capturing stray cats and taking them to animal shelters has been standard practice at Mooney Grove for more than twenty years. This practice of trapping and killing is costly and inhumane. Out of more than 9013 cats found or turned over to animal shelters in Tulare County in 2011, 7,613 (or 84.4%) were euthanized, the latest figures compiled by the California Department of Public Health. Tulare County’s kill rates are the highest in California and are an unnecessary expense to Tulare County taxpayers. The TNR (Trap-Neutering-Releasing) program is humane and costs the Tulare County taxpayers nothing.

Concerning the TNR theory that an established colony keeps out new cats, Mr. Cox said, “I don’t think that is true” and he feels that the TNR Program could actually increase the number of cats. What is the truth? The Humane Society of the United States supports TNR. In September, 2013, that agency and other animal rights groups distributed a report on animal care and welfare making 23 recommendations to California animal control agencies, including the adoption of TNR Programs. “Where municipalities have shifted from euthanasia to TNR, they have not seen increases in problems associated with stray and feral cats. On the contrary, TNR practices can stabilize or decrease the size of the community of cat colonies,” according to the report, which also states that cats are more likely to be euthanized in animal shelters than dogs. According to a recent study it costs the county to trap, transport, euthanize and disposal of one cat approximately $185. The TNR program costs the Tulare County taxpayer nothing. The cost savings could be used to reduce the fees at our low-cost spay and neuter clinics.

Supervisor Cox believes that the cats have become a public safety issue for the people that use the park, particularly the threat of spreading disease. Mary Lindsay, assistant county administrative officer, said that another public safety is the fleas. What is the truth? All cats that have been through the TNR program have been tested for communicable diseases, have been spayed or neutered, are vaccinated for rabies and other communicable disease, and they are treated for fleas, mites, and dewormed. The cats then have their ear clipped for easy recognition. They are monitored and fed daily. All at no cost to the county. Approximately 80% of the cats in Mooney Grove Park have gone through the TNR program. These cats pose no more of a health or safety risk than the cats we have at home. And, if the county has a flea problem in Mooney Grove Park it is not because of the cats.

Mr. Cox admitted, “We could do a better job of getting the cats adopted out,” and then he suggested an “Adopt a Mooney Grove Cat Day.” We, the TNR volunteers, have an “Adopt a Mooney Grove Cat Day,” every day of the year. Since we started the TNR program we have found homes for at least 24 kittens and approximately a dozen adult cats. Finding good homes for the Mooney Grove kittens and cats has always been a key component of the TNR program. Unfortunately, not all cats are adoptable. We believe those cats have the right to life not death.

Finally, let me address the most egregious part of this article. It is the email concerning Neil Pilegard’s use of a bow and arrow to hunt the fowl in Mooney Grove Park. I find this behavior appalling. How can Mr. Pilegard, Tulare County Director of Parks, have such a complete and total disregard for public safety? Any weapon or device that would injure, maim, or kill an animal can just as easily injure, maim, or kill an adult or child! This conduct warrants further investigation. Mr. Pilegard’s actions should have consequences! Supervisor Cox and the county state, “There are legal consequences of perpetuating cruelty against any animal.” WORDS ARE CHEAP!

Dr. Larry Weber

5 thoughts on “Response to Tulare County

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  1. will there be another meeting about saving the cats? there is some good information that can be found at http://www.alleycat.org and they have educational information about the TNR program and why the procedure of “catch and kill” is a failure. there is also more information at http://www.commonsenseforcats.com. i believe they need to change their procedures. it is time for change and i dont understand why they are being so stubborn and ignorant about the TNR program. they are wrong about the cats being a health problem and issue for the park. in Horsham, Pennsylvania there is a historic park named Graeme Park which has a managed feral cat colony and practices the TNR program. why is it not a problem there but yet here at Mooney’s Grove the people there who are in charge just cannot let the cats be and keep claiming ridiculous assumptions of things that these cats are causing around the park? Fleas are already in most grounds and where there is dirt or sand there will be fleas. plus if there are volunteers and programs out there to help care for these cats then what is the problem? i feel these people just hate animals and would simple rather kill them then let them be. many parks and campgrounds from state to state have feral cat colonies and instead of trying to kill them off they do the TNR program which works. i believe Mr Cox sounds like a person who does not want to listen to reason nor to try to work together to do what is humane and right for these beautiful cats. he is ignorant and apparently he refuses to become more educated about feral cats and if they are a safety hazard. you can contact the people at Alley Cat and they do have people who have advocates around the nation to help people save cats. there are videos and other information that can be downloaded. it sounds like the people around the community might have to get together and fight and go over these peoples heads. im so angry and it makes me sick.

  2. Supervisor Cox here is a link to follow;
    http://www.alleycat.org/page.aspx?pid=926 and it explains why the catch and kill causes the vacuum effect and does not work. it explains why TNR works. and here is another link with scientific studies that show the Trap-Neuter-Return program works
    http://www.alleycat.org/page.aspx?pid=667
    as for any health issues or hazards here is another link to information
    http://www.alleycat.org/page.aspx?pid=937
    the link has scientific evidence about your concern. what i find funny is that they mention that people who support the catch and kill procedure always tend to claim cat colonies cause health risks and refuse to do anything other than “kill” cats instead of letting them live out their lives. why continue to cost tax payers a fortune each year and to kill healthy animals that are being cared for? it is senseless and not right. i think it is sad that people who are a member of the board or supervisors or any person in charge of a community think there is nothing wrong with killing and to allow a park personnel to act like a hoodlum and get away with cruelty to animals and to put others in danger. it is against the law and any person who commits this act would be prosecuted and definitely placed on suspension and investigated. there is no excuse for a person who is a supervisor to be ignorant and to not do research on something that is important to the people of the community. Supervisor Cox is bias and so are the people at Mooney’s Grove Park. it is such a shame.

  3. 7600 cats euthanized in one year in a county with no major metropolitan areas? the highest kill rate in the state? and the county doesnt think we can do anything better than that? tsk tsk, for shame, Supervisor Cox.

  4. When will the cat/county issue be discussed at a county open meeting? Judging from the cat support shown by the people of the county one needs to be scheduled.

  5. I saw the State of the County report by Supervisor Cox but there was no mention of the Mooney Grove cat issue. What is the current status? Has the trapping and killing of the cats, ducks and geese stopped.

    I really hope the people are not going to drop their interest in the animals and their welfare. What is happening?

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