Powerful Governments–Compel Obedience–Punish Dissent…

Cat

Deliberately administering any type of cruel and violent punishment to an animal is a serious criminal act. There is not, nor will there ever be, a law that sanctions such behavior.

Most societies and cultures that butcher animals for food, adhere to a merciful means of terminating their lives. In accordance with the ‘United States Humane Slaughter Act’: “No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering, shall be deemed to comply with the public policy of the United States, unless it is humane”. This compassionate law applies to a food source, while many believe the actions being taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, directed at creatures who have become our pets and a part of our families, to be callous and heartless.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its operation at the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Key Largo, has initiated an aggressive policy that has triggered an ardent cadre of cat hunters, who are truculently stalking, baiting and trapping domestic cats (felis silvestris catus).

According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife news release (9/16/11), this agency has: “No National Policy” on the trapping of cats. During a formal meeting the FWS approved a policy: “to protect native wildlife from predation, disease and other impacts presented by feral and free-ranging cats”. This policy does not call for the FWS to kill cats, nor does it outlaw the practice of Trap-Neuter-Release programs.

During this commission meeting, FWS staff were directed to ‘cooperatively interact’ with all ‘affected parties’, when initiating cat trapping policies. Any decisions reached between FWS and the ‘affected parties’, must collaboratively reflect the ‘humane handling and treatment’ of these animals.

It appears that these directives and policies are not being adhered to by the FWS employees stationed at the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The pseudo-science used to justify some of their actions are spotty and shallow. Cherry-picking facts proffered by bureaucrats depended upon the government for their jobs, is not science.

The FWS has formed compromising alliances with organizations that benefit from their agreement with this powerful government agency. This symbiotic relationship has distorted and twisted the facts to suit the needs of FWS. In addition, activists and extremists with a self-fulfilling ideology, have taken a series of positions that upon further examination expose an unwillingness to work towards a resolution, with those providing a viable alternative.

Opting to traumatize and kill one animal, so that another animal might live, is not a solution.

Unfortunately, it appears that agencies who stand a chance of improving their bottom lines and standing as vendors with the government, have been willing to provide a biased rendition of support for the FWS trapping policies.

Of serious concern is the fact that I uncovered a hunter, while he aggressively pursued cats residing on the private property of their owner. Upon questioning this cat hunter, he informed me that his orders were to place his traps near the homes of citizens with cats on the boundary line of the ‘wildlife refuge’.

Of note, this federally funded hunter working for the FWS was trapping on state property, directly adjacent to the private property of a cat owner. The traps were heavily baited to draw and snare these sentient creatures from the homes where they lived. Upon capture they are delivered to an animal shelter where they may be killed.

The grouping of these cages, as they were laid down by the hunter, were designed to lure and snatch these family pets from their owner’s property. When I again confronted the trapper about the specific placement of the cages on the property line of another cat owner, he told me that he was doing what his boss had told him to do. I asked him if he was paid by the number of cats that he baited and snared?

When I pointed out the heaps of trash teeming throughout this wooded area, and informed him that this was a threat to the survival of the Key Largo woodrat (neotoma floridana smalli), he ignored me and continued to load his traps.

Doing further research, I was informed by a reputable leader from  the Ocean Reef Community in North Key Largo, that a hole had been cut through the fence that encloses their property. Cat food had been placed on the Ocean Reef side of the damaged fence at specific intervals, establishing a trail from their side of the fence to cat trapping cages on the other side. When an FWS official was confronted by a representative from this community about the incident, the Ocean Reef advocate was told that he had cut the hole in the fence.

The primary threat to the Key Largo woodrat is habitat loss and fragmentation caused by increasing urbanization. Development, land clearing and construction practices have decimated the tropical hardwood hammocks that support life for the woodrat. Human intervention that could actually acquire land that would stop or slow their habitat destruction down, so that this endangered species might actually stand a fighting chance of survival, has been absent.

Human encroachment, natural catastrophes, the dumping of trash and contaminants, along with competition from black rats and Norway rats, all threaten the survival of this species.

Potential predators of the woodrat that have been identified. Many of them thrive within the ‘wildlife refuge’. They include raccoons, Virginia opossums, nine-banded armadillos, common boa constrictors, Burmese pythons, Gambian pouch rats, green iguanas, the Nile Monitor, black spiny-tailed iguana and imported red fire ants.

The red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), corn snakes (Elaphe guttata), diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus), eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon corais couperi), Florida black racers (Coluber constrictor priapus), Keys rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta deckerti), barn owls (Tyto alba) and cats (felis catus) have been known to live and flourish within the boundaries of this refuge. All of these creatures threaten the survival of the woodrat.

mouse-kissing-catHowever, three photographs submitted with this article show a rat licking and grooming several cats, while the recipients of this attention purr with approval. Cat loathers, along with those who have drank the government’s Kool-aide, have been indoctrinated  with the propaganda being spewed by the government agencies charged with the eradication of these creatures. The accompanying pictures do not portray a ravenous predator that will compulsively pounce upon and kill another creature smaller than itself.

I’ve ridden my bicycle between 2 and 4 hours every day, over the last 15 years throughout the state property that borders the Crocodile Lake Refuge. Never, at any time, have I witnessed a cat on any of the government’s property. However, I regularly see a vast variety of snakes and other predators that pose a threat to the woodrat.

The high power night scopes and cameras purchased by the FWC to allegedly take a picture of a cat at nighttime, which was  published in many newspapers, identifies a calm and poised animal that is not attacking another creature, tearing up the environment or clawing away at anything.

What a waste of time, taxpayer money and resources; so that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can attempt to build a case, whereby newly proposed criminal action can be taken against  law-abiding citizens, for the alleged wrong-doing of their pet cats. Simultaneously, the policies of this agency are capable of directing these unsuspecting felines towards a mass execution.

It’s troublesome for me to read a FWS official statement: “If a cat is on one inch of conservation land, it is subject to capture”.  Really… If one front paw crosses some vague and ambiguous line drawn on  the ground in a hammock, you’re going to pounce on my pet with all the weight and force of the United States government??? And you’re going to use my money to fund this insanity???

As an American, I never thought there would be a day when our government would be energetically directing this fascist  type of action against its own people.

As compared to all of the other risks facing the survival of the woodrat, particularly the conduct of human beings, the innumerable family pets that the government  is going after, rank near the bottom. To many, it appears that this police action targeting families and their pets, is a contrived ploy to justify the salaries, employment and budgets of a bloated bureaucracy. In addition, the high-speed road CR 905 running straight through the reserve has fragmented the habitat causing many road mortalities. The many man-made stressors faced by the woodrat are causing these creatures to become aggressive towards one another.

The National Audubon Society has identified areas of proposed land acquisition that would be a realistic step towards protecting the woodrat. Although the FWS concurs with their findings, apparently they prefer the easier softer way, as they appear comfortable bullying and besieging citizens, while coming after their animals.

Given the flexibility and sensitivity demonstrated in the policies set forth by the FWS during their previous meeting, as it addresses this matter, I’m surprised by the stern threats and hard line taken by the Crocodile Lake Wild Refuge.

Criminally charging cat owners for the conduct of their pets, particularly when the only reason these animals may have left  the grounds of their owner, was caused by enticing and luring these creatures onto government grounds through the use of heavily baited traps, is immoral and scandalous.

Fixating upon a preconceived remedy that excludes the very parties that the FWS has been directed to consult with, may be feeding some prejudices, rather than effectively moving towards a solution. It is the duty of leaders within these bureaucracies to follow the guidelines set forth by the organization that employs them. As a United States Marine I expected myself and my Marines to conduct themselves with a certain level of brilliance and compassion, in accordance with our orders, while we protected and served the people who paid our salaries. Court-martial awaited those who inappropriately used deadly force or destructively interpreted the context of a mission.

Traumatizing and killing creatures who have been revered through the ages as Gods and Goddesses, is distressing. During my years teaching children and young adults, who were having a difficult time learning how to read, I brought cats into my classroom. I explained to my students that these cats enjoyed having someone read to them. After some preparation, these students were bound and determined to make their new friends happy. In one year, I had one young girl improve her reading level by 5 grade levels. Every student exposed to this experience made significant gains in their sight word vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Nursing homes have enhanced the quality of their patient’s lives, while giving them a sought after dignity, simply by allowing them to feel the vibratory flow of energy passing through these creatures.

The primary cause for the demise of the woodrat, rests squarely at the hands of human beings, not domestic cats.

Unfortunately, FWS construction vehicles, projects and venders have had the capacity to kill and infringe upon the survival of the woodrat, far more than the cats, whom I’ve never seen in or near any part of the refuge.

A reasonable and measured approach addressing the concerns of the FWS can be arrived at. However, many citizens were offended by what they interpreted as public threats in our local newspapers by the authors of this cat trapping agenda. This policy authorizes armed police officers, capable of arrest and the use of deadly force, to compel compliance to these policies.

To most of the people that I have spoken with, this approach appears insolent and intimidating. It looks like the government  is willing to do whatever it wants, regardless of the harm that it may cause ‘the people’. It has thwarted a judicious and circumspect resolution to this controversy.

If we are to retain any decency and cohesiveness as a community, I urgently request the Crocodile Wild Life Refuge  to cease and desist from the furtherance of those agenda items that are hurting people. As I suggested to the Crocodiles Lake Manager, the needs of the FWS can be arrived at in a far more effective and humane manner if he will stand-down, temporarily, and allow the needs of those people being negatively impacted to be addressed. I have spoken with some of the aggrieved parties and I can assure the ‘refuge manager’ that a cooperative agreement can be reached, if he will allow some dialogue and a process to unfold.

There is a body of work in our country, known as the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence; whose principles and laws have demonstrated a particular abhorrence to the type of force and control reflected by the government, in the disputed FWS policies.

It’s the hope of many, that the FWS station at Crocodile Lake will extend a helping hand to their community partners and neighbors surrounding the refuge. Standing-down from an operation that many believe is reckless and cruel, will provide an environment where these sensitive topics can be reasonably discussed. I pledge my allegiance to facilitate a successful remedy.

While not diminishing the goals and objectives of the FWS, a lot of tax dollars are being spent waging a war, which targets the lives of cat owners with police action, while exposing their beloved pets to injury and death.

In congruence with the unlimited resources of the government and the extraordinary individuals employed within the FWS, we can most assuredly arrive at a resolution through the means once described as “The American Way”.

Consensus, compromise and cooperation with our neighbors is necessary; if the mission of the FWS is to be legitimized and accomplished.

Data compilation, night scope camera pictures, tracking information and position papers cannot be utilized to justify conduct, that appears to many to be nefarious.

A divergence of perspectives and experiences within the scientific community, view the present FWS policy with great alarm. Miami-Dade County has enacted an extremely effective alternative known as Trap-Neuter-Release. Their humane and compassionate treatment of abandoned cats, reflects an advanced and evolved state of mind. The Miami-Dade County model has significantly reduced the number of discarded cats in a cost-effective manner, while here in the Keys we spend on average nearly $ 4,000 to catch one stray cat.

Studies conducted by Dr. Julie Levy at the University of Florida, which followed a long-term Trap-Neuter-Release program, found that the population of felines living within a supervised cat colony declined by 66% over 10 years.

Please remember that these cat colonies are provided with food,  given clean water and showed affection each day by their caregivers. In addition, all of the cats in these colonies are spayed and neutered, while being attended to medically. In all of the cases that I’m familiar with, the medical expenses incurred for the care of these animals has been paid for privately, at no cost to the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, the FWS has adamantly refused to accept Dr. Levy’s data and the humane alternative that she offered.

The truth is that Trap-Neuter-and Release programs are nationally accepted as a widespread life-saving practice, supported by major animal protection organizations, which include Alley Cat Allies, ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society, as well as over 250 nonprofit organizations dedicated to abandoned cat care across the nation.

Several scientists who have reviewed all of the existing data regarding the treatment of disserted cats, believe that the strident and inhumane policies proffered by the FWS, are the least desirable. A detailed examination of the Crocodile Lake model reveals a lack of creativity and a certain amount of subterfuge. When challenged with the harshness and ineffectiveness of their approach, while providing them with viable alternatives, they become very defensive and shut down. To many, their insensitive attitudes and witless adherence to the party line are startling.

cat-kiss-rat-Favim_com-1116690

Having recently spoken with the manager of this ‘wildlife refuge’, I was comforted by this man’s intelligence, character and charisma.

I spoke with him in a truthful and sincere manner. It’s my hope that he will not use the force and might of the United States government to trample the dissenters of his methods into submission.

An amenable solution can be reached, if the manager will extend a hand of friendship to the aggrieved parties. Creating a  dialogue, whereby a mechanism can be developed that will collectively represent the objectives and concerns of all; will be arrived at, if the government so desires.

Key West The Newspaper [The Blue Paper] encourages spirited, open debate in comments on our stories. We do ask that you refrain from profanity, personal attacks and remarks that are off point. Please join the conversation!

15 comments on “Powerful Governments–Compel Obedience–Punish Dissent…

  1. john just another reason to reduce the government structure by 90% and btw please watch your 6 o’clock with any and all ‘fascist managers’….thier orders come from above….and for thier paycheck enevitably followed.

  2. If some do-gooder, cat-hunter, etc. had come snooping around my place on Little Torch Key, when I lived up there, aiming to catch or shoot my half-feral Miss Kitty, or her fully-feral Midnight antagonist, I just might have caught and/or whacked the do-gooder, cat-hunter, etc. with my light saber. Them two cats kept the wild rats at bay, and they kept me company, and they were a lot easier to get along with than some humans I knew. But for Miss Kitty, the rats would have run me out of my trailer, which they actually did a few years before when I lived there, before it dawned on me that I needed a rat cat, which the animal shelter in Key West kindly provided, and that solved the rat problem pronto. The first night in the trailer, Miss Kitty convened a prayer meeting with Jesus for the rats, who then moved out of the interior of the trailer into the space between the walls and the craw space over the ceiling – perhaps akin to a semi-amicable Mexican stand-off. Was good enough for me.

  3. Younger generation Key Largo resident here with some major disagreements. John you call out the FWS for using pseudo-science and cherry picking facts and then proceed to waste our time by doing exactly that. Pseudo-science? How about using some staged picture of a baby squirrel with a kitten to justify your misplaced ideas. Cherry picking facts? How about finding one isolated research paper that supports TNR and ignoring a consensus of others that deny its feasibility.

    You say that data compilation should not be used to justify conduct on a wildlife refuge (direct quote: “Data compilation, night scope camera pictures, tracking information and position papers cannot be utilized to justify conduct”), and I say do you know how ridiculous of a statement that is? This is 2014, and here in the modern world we use science to inform resource management. AKA collect data to inform conduct. You say that our tax dollars are being wasted, but the ESA actually mandates the use of our tax dollars to protect the endangered species in federal lands and ensure their survival.

    I personally loved your example of bringing cats into a classroom to boost reading levels as I think it perfectly displays the disconnect between you, an apparent misguided feral cat lover, and the majority of the rest of us. See I grew up with a cat and I enjoy them. I plan to have them in future households as an indoor pet. But what I don’t support – and I see no real motivation to support other than misplaced fickle human emotion – is allowing countless feral predators to roam the streets. I really hope you did not bring feral cats into your classroom and risk exposing innocent children to rabies or toxoplasmosis. Enjoy cats? Get a nice indoor pet. Why should we support massive numbers of feral predators roaming our streets, parks, and refuges killing endangered and other prey and posing a risk as documented disease vectors? Cats kill billions of small mammals and birds in the U.S. every year and are responsible for various documented extinctions, specifically on islands. Those are facts, and it is also factual that we live on an island and have a feral cat problem. So let’s shut down the FWS management efforts and wait for our native species to die and a rabies outbreak to occur, right? Well I say let’s not. And I’m tired of people saying TNR is the best management method, because if you actually do the research on what actual scientists have found, rather than cat interest groups, it becomes apparent that TNR is insufficient. It is documented to be ineffective at reducing numbers, and obviously has no immediate benefits for native wildlife.

    I choose to place my trust in our paid federal professionals rather than in your completely irrelevant pictures of rats and a baby squirrel with a cat. You seem to think that because you say it is so, it is true. You ride your bike through the refuge during the day and see no nocturnal predators? To you, that means they are not a problem. With the rest of us – who can think beyond some illogical attachment to feral cats that blocks out the facts – we place our trust in educated resource managers. We support data compilation to justify conduct on a refuge; we support science. We don’t see feral cats as “Gods and Goddesses,” we see them as a nuisance with only negative effects, other than the pleasure they bring to a tiny minority of constituents – while their very existence drains native species populations and increases the likelihood of exposure to rabies, toxoplasmosis, and other maladies.

    I am 24, live in Key Largo, think myself to be a well-informed scientist, grew up with multiple cats as pets – and I am here to say I support the refuge. Your version of the science just doesn’t hold up.

    • I have to say your comment is well written and well thought out. I have followed the battle that your community has gone through with this problem. With young people like yourself getting involved is a very positive thing.
      Also it has just come to my attention that these cats can transfer tuberculosis to humans. I just got a post on one of my facebook pages “Cats of Seminole County”. Please feel free to visit and post your story with this battle. I have friends in New Zealand who are up against the same thing. Good luck to you and keep up the great work.

  4. The following quotes directly express my own concerns:
    “Opting to traumatize and kill one animal, so that another animal might live, is not a solution.”
    “The primary cause for the demise of the woodrat, rests squarely at the hands of human beings, not domestic cats.”

    Interestingly, my agreement with these sentiments leads me to a directly opposing conclusion than that of the author. It is inconceivable to me that we should protect domestic cats on wildlife refuge lands at the expense of an endangered species and the multitudes of other wildlife that are undoubtedly predated, harassed, or outcompeted. Why should we opt to “traumatize or kill” Key Largo woodrats, which are struggling for mere existence on this planet, so that feral domestic cats might continue to roam?

    Secondly, while the author and I agree that humans are the primary cause of the Key Largo woodrat demise, we disagree on how to define that human impact. As a domesticated species, cats are the responsibility of humans. We have a duty to provide for them and to account for their behaviors. We do not simply let cows wander through Main Street. If your dog bites someone, you can be held responsible. With cats, we humans have failed in our responsibilities. It is time to step up, recognize that failure, and correct it. In this particular situation, it is time that we remove these cats from the refuge while recognizing that humans, not cats, are the true transgressors.

  5. I can’t believe what I have just read . These headhunters are targeting childrens pets . They are placing the traps near or on the border of residential properties to do this.
    John, . I may know someone that will probably search out these traps and convert them into lobster traps( throw them in the water)
    Typical government response.I as a libertarian would rather pay this guy $ 10.00 each for every wood rat he raises and releases into the wild.If they or any other species is endangered, breed them and release them. We have been doing that with trout, salmon and wood ducks for years why not other species ?
    The public had no idea that this was going on . Thanks for doing a story on it !

  6. Don’t get me started on TNR. I think that if you own a cat it should never leave your yard. I would never impose on my neighbors to have to deal with one of my cats in their yard. I would like to comment on the pictures. I had pet rats at one time. I also raise baby squirrels and I can say that my cats are used to these little critters in my home. I also have pictures of one of my cats playing with the rats, now would I leave them alone no way. Most cats that are pictured here if outside faced with a rat or mouse would be more then happy to play with first then end up killing it. This is ingrained into cats, it is what makes them such great predators.

    The solution to this whole mess is to contain the cats. If the TNR advocates want to save these cats let them keep them on their property. If you own a cat then is should never leave your property.

    • I agree but a majority of the people let their cats roam unlike they would do with their dogs( plus it is the law) We always had a dog run (chain link cage)attached to a window so our cats can go out.
      That should not be a reason to have them trapped and killed.
      Microchip , catch and fine would be a great alternative.

      • It is our understanding that the procedure used by the Refuge management does include identifying the cat owner and notifying them that their cat has been apprehended. The owner then has an opportunity to retrieve their cat. And there is a system of fines and eventual administrative/judicial review available to the cat owners. Domesticated cats are not systematically killed through this policy. However, if the cats that are trapped have no owners or the cat is not identified because it is not wearing a collar or a microchip the owner may not be notified. It appears that the important issue being brought to light here by Donnelly and that has many cat owners upset is the reportedly intentional LURING of cats from an owners’ private property to traps placed on the boundary line between the private property and the refuge property. ~ editor

  7. The motives and conditioning of all human beings (homo sapiens) are founded upon a flawed and imperfect understanding of the Truth. Shrouded and cloaked in ‘infinitude’ are the mysteries of the cosmos, manifested in all life forms.

    I have come to understand the ‘law of cause and effect’ as a good starting point in addressing restlessness, irritability and discontent; along with every manner of problem that has crossed my path.

    The depth and scope of my experience has provided me with an incalculable wealth of wisdom. I make mistakes and err, however, I do not stay in the darkness very long. I wear this material world as a loose garment, riding loosely in the saddle of life. Upon realizing that my understanding is inaccurate, I welcome being corrected with a more credible perspective.

    These cats did not request to be deposited in a ‘wildlife refuge’. Homo sapiens are responsible for them being there. These creatures have been abandon and discarded there by human beings. All of the grounds given by those who disserted these cats are baseless and criminal.

    Perhaps apprehending these criminals and punishing them with severe consequences, might discourage this type of criminal conduct.

    The night scopes, infrared detection devices and cameras possessed by the FWS could be utilized to stop these offensives.

    I’ve seen the bullet fast spring traps used by cat hunters tear off body parts and painful kill these creatures. Is this the way that we really want to go? Is this the best that we can do?

    Dr. Julie Levy, a venerated scientist at the University of Florida, conducted a long-term study of the effectiveness of Trap-Neuter-Release programs. She found that the population of felines living within a supervised cat colony declined by 66% over 10 years.

    Nearly 7 out of 10 cats died a natural and humane death under this managed and controlled setting.

    I don’t understand the obstinance and heartlessness of those hell bent on putting an innocent animal through a trapping experience that can kill or injure it, particularly when it can be avoided.

    Culling the colonies of unwanted cats will consistently occur through natural attrition, while we educate and assist citizens to more appropriately manage their pets. Using a gentle and loving hand to instruct cat owners, as opposed to the threats of police action, is a far more effective and humanitarian method to incorporate into the policies of FWS.

    Many, if not all of the caregivers looking after cats, found themselves placed into that position only after a dying or injured animal drug themselves onto their property, crying for water and a morsel of food before they died. Are these really the people that you want to send armed officers after?

    Compassion, empathy, conversation and open-mindedness; along with a genuine desire to work through this conflict amicably, is all that is needed for a successful resolution.

    • Wow, John. Perhaps we all need more info on the trapping devices being used. Have you got a photo of the traps and more specific info on how they work?

    • ASM13 is spot on. Totally agree and no need to repeat those points. But I will respond to the above comment.

      Peer-reviewed science has substantiated that cat predation is the greatest direct source of anthropogenic wild bird mortality (Loss et al 2013). Humans are indeed at fault. Humans allow their cats to roam unsupervised. Humans dump the cats when these pets are no longer wanted. And humans re-abandon them to the wild through the incredibly misguided and ineffective practice of TNR.

      TNR has never been effective as a population reduction tool. Never. Reductions in colonies is not the same as population reduction within a geographical area (city, county, state). You mention Levy. Okay. Then take a look at Foley et al 2005 in which she is a co-author. Even in that study, that boasted many resources (not your typical TNR program), they failed to reduce the number of cats and failed to reduce population growth.

      Do not refer to TNR as a ‘controlled setting’. That is terribly misleading. Cats roam, food is left out in a free-for-all fashion. There is nothing controlled about TNR.

      You talk about educating citizens. Do you really think they will become more responsible pet owners while we condone outdoor lives and deaths for companion animals?

      TNR enables abandonment.

      Explain to me why the life of the ONE cat you release (a non-native predator) is worth more or valued more than the dozens or hundreds or more wild critters (natural resources) that she will kill during the course of her lifetime outdoors?

      How about considering what is humane for wildlife? I have rescued many, many cats in my day and the last thing I would ever do is turn one loose again given all the hazards outdoor cats face, and given the destruction they cause to the environment.

      Compassion must extend to wildlife. That can work through a TENVAC program as explained by HAHF.

      http://www.hahf.org/our-solution/

  8. Blue Paper Editor, please forgive my delay in getting back to you. Opening weekend of our production “Brothers Of The Dust”. The show received an extraordinary review in The Miami Herald.

    Cat trapping is a traumatizing experience for each creature captured. Through the years I’ve witnessed the results of a not so very precise and sanitized method of snatching these animals from public land.

    Kittens have been seriously injured and killed during botched trapping procedures. In one poignant instance, it was speculated that the mother of this kitten had gone into a cage to feed. Her kitty followed suit. The trap was triggered enclosing the mother, while she watched and laid next to her mangled kitty, who had been torn apart by the force and power of the trap door slamming into its body.

    There were pictures taken. I’m attempting to secure these photographs. I venture to say that these images are graphic, perhaps not suitable for publication.

    The Blue Paper Editors are ‘spot on’ in identifying the most important concern addressed in the article, as being the intentional luring of these animals from their owner’s property.

    If the ideas of those sanctioning cat trapping are noble, brilliant and magnanimous; why are they being met with such ferocious resistance?
    Perhaps, intuitively, “The People” know that there is a better way. A method whereby armed police officers would not have to be called to force citizens into compliance with a policy they believe to be cruel and inhumane.

    Respectfully and compassionately addressing those cat owners that the government deems to be irresponsible, would bring about the desired change in their behavior. Kindness and consideration directed at another goes a long way. It has always worked for me.

    I have taken to heart the information shared in the comment section. I value the ideas and knowledge expressed by its authors.

    I sincerely thank “ENDTNR” for directing me to the TENVAC web-site. It sheds some light on a topic that has become contentious. If possible, please share with me any additional information that you may have on that program. If not, I would appreciate any additional insights that you have to offer. Thank you.

  9. See the article “Hundreds of family pets, protected species killed by little known federal agency” by Cristina Crobin published by FoxNews on March 17, 2013.

    It does not paint a pretty picture of ‘government sponsored killings’…I’m overwhelmed by the callousness and cruelty of the United States Government….

    ~~~~~~~

    Cristina Corbin

    By Cristina Corbin
    Published March 17, 2013·
    FoxNews.com

    It was an August morning two years ago when Maggie, a spry, 7-year-old border collie, slipped through the backyard fence of her family’s suburban Oregon home. Minutes later, she was dead – her neck snapped by a body-gripping trap set by the U.S. government less than 50 feet from the home she shared with the four children who loved her.

    “It is an image that will never leave me,” Maggie’s owner, Denise McCurtain, of Gresham, Ore., said of her death. “She was still breathing as we tried to remove the trap. Her eyes were open and she was looking at me. All I could say was ‘I’m trying so hard. You didn’t do anything wrong.’”

    Maggie’s death at a minimum was one of hundreds of accidental killings of pets over the last decade acknowledged by Wildlife Services…

    Critics, including a source within the USDA, told FoxNews.com that the government’s taxpayer-funded Predator Control program and its killing methods are random — and at times, illegal.

    Over the years, Wildlife Services has killed thousands of non-target animals in several states – from pet dogs to protected species – caught in body-gripping conibear traps and leg hold snares, or poisoned by lethal M-44 devices that explode sodium cyanide capsules when triggered by a wild animal – or the snout of a curious family pet.

    The McCurtains, like many other families, were never informed that such deadly devices were placed so close to their home in grass near the edge of a pond where their young son kicks his soccer ball and their daughter catches turtles…. (full article here)

    • John,

      I read the Fox News article and as a dog owner multiple times in my life, you have to feel for the families involved.

      That being said, the article has nothing to do with the situation in Key Largo, or the worldwide feral cat problem in general. What Wildlife Services does to manage wildlife around USDA lands is in no way relevant. We are talking about a National Wildlife Refuge here – mandated to protect federally endangered species – where they use different traps and are focused on functionally wild feral cats, there is no risk of canine by-catch.

      I’m not sure what you are trying to show support for. You say that “Cat trapping is a traumatizing experience for each creature captured” – so does that mean that you do not support TNR? A statement like that makes it seem like you simply want no management at all, as any kind of management requires trapping.

      There is removal, there is TNR, or there is no management. So management inherently involves trapping – that which you deem to be traumatizing and inhumane. You know what is traumatizing for our endangered and native species? Being hunted and preyed upon by nonnative feral cats. This argument is circular, and will always end up at a proverbial fork in the road. On one side, there is the science-backed support of native species, and on the other side there is the emotion-backed support of invasive feral cats. I choose native species. I choose to have a cat and keep it indoors, and not extend some illogical need to have protective stewardship over hundreds of feral predators living a poor existence on the streets (and hunting in our refuge). So now that I have chosen to support native species, I must examine methods through which they can be protected – and current science points unequivocally toward feral cat management. So that leaves us with removal or TNR. For more on TNR and why it is proven to be insufficient, see this article (it is actually relevant!): http://news.yahoo.com/sorry-cat-lovers-trap-neuter-return-simply-doesnt-170322907.html. And so now we have arrived at protecting endangered and native species through removing cats, because TNR is ineffective. This is why I support the refuge’s policies, because they are using current science to do their job to the best of their ability. Your original article and ensuing comments have solidified the facts of the matter: those that support the existence of feral cat colonies are for some reason emotionally invested in these wild predators to a higher degree than the native prey species, and those that think TNR is an effective management practice are misinformed. The rest of us can only hope that the scientific evidence will overtake the feral cat issue here and elsewhere so that the growing trend of TNR policy adoption and ignoring scientific facts will someday be reversed.

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