Apr 082016



by John Donnelly…….

Recent cries by some to expedite the killing of cats, illustrates a callousness and depravity not often found in a civilized society. The justification proffered for slaughtering these sentimental creatures is riddled with flaws  and inaccuracies. These animals are not responsible for any of the complications attributed to their species. They are not, nor have they ever been ‘the problem’.

Citizens abandoning and discarding their pets as garbage into the wild are the problem. Rather than emphasizing an ‘accelerated killing program’ for these innocent animals, perhaps a determined and collaborative mode of policing can be enforced, which would apprehend and punish the guilty parties who’ve taken it upon themselves to abandon and cast away their cats in our extended communities. Senselessly killing a beautiful creation because of its owner’s negligence, is cruel and barbaric.

We’re in agreement, cats are best cared for and the environment better served, when they’re living indoors or under the supervision of their owners. However, what shall be done with the felines released into the outdoors, or those that have been beaten to near death and thrown into a dumpster; after they’ve been taken into a cat colony and are now living a healthy and fruitful life under the supervision of a loving and dedicated caretaker?

Shall these innocent creatures be rounded up and killed, because of the sins and malfeasance of their previous owners; after they’ve been adopted and shown kindness by their present caregivers over an extended period of time (In one case, a 17 year relationship with the oldest cat)? Shall the supervisors of the colonies providing this service, at no cost to the taxpayer, be arrested and prosecuted? Shall they be imprisoned?

Individuals are entitled to set forth their opinions, no matter how groundless and inaccurate they may be. However when their beliefs and toxic biases are proffered as facts, death and destruction frequently follows. Solutions are never arrived at, as distortions exacerbate the argument. Unable to accurately diagnose the problem, said dilemma continues to pit one group against another, while the deteriorating rhetoric increases hostilities.

Ignoring the science behind many thousands of successful Trap-Neuter-Release programs, while continuing to latch onto myths and old wives’ tales to justify and substantiate one’s personal preference, is a recipe for division and disaster.

It appears that some have developed a taste for killing. I hope I’m wrong. I enjoin those promoting the extermination of our county’s felines, to shift direction and cooperatively work with me in advancing a viable and robust ‘cat adoption program’. Branching out and networking in a humane and life sustaining venture will be a positive and exciting experience. It will provide insight and an education for us all.

Scientific evidence indicates that outdoor cats can live a happy, contented and  disease free existence. They do not pose a health risk to other cats or human beings. According to the ‘Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery’: “Feral cats live full healthy lives outdoors–there is no reason for them to be killed in shelters.” Research in this renowned journal further reveals: “That of 103,643 stray and feral cats examined in spay/neuter clinics in six states from 1993 to 2004, less than 1% of those cats needed to be euthanized due to debilitating conditions, trauma or infectious diseases”.

Studies conducted by Dr. Julie Levy at the University of Florida, which followed long-term Trap-Neuter-Release programs, found that the population of felines living within a supervised cat colony declined by 66% over 10 years. After living a full and complete life, these animals were allowed to die of natural causes, under the care of individuals that loved them. Dr. Levy has provided us with ‘solutions based data’; the science that is being adhered to by our caregivers.

Trap-Neuter-Release programs have nationally been instituted and accepted as a widespread life-saving practice; supported by the ASPCA and over 250 nonprofit organizations dedicated to abandoned cats.

Renowned scientists of every stripe have attributed the world’s geo-political landscape; with its mass killings, the murdering  of children and innocent civilians; along with the emergence of wanton aggression and  violence as an acceptable means of political exchange, as a resultant manifestation of the   deep seated cruelty, anger and hatred residing within the hearts and minds of those inhabiting the earth. Unfortunate as it may be, one cannot fool Mother Nature.

Researchers, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies nationwide, have linked animal cruelty to domestic violence, child abuse, serial killings, and to the recent rash of killings by school-age children, according to Dr. Randall Lockwood, vice president of Training Initiatives for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

District Attorney of Clatsop County, Oregon, and Animal Legal Defense Fund   Board Member Josh Marquis provides an insightful look at the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans in his article, “Animal Abuse and Its Connection to Serial Killers, Kids who Kill Kids and Other Violent Criminals.”

A mirrored image of oneself often reflects the harsh reality behind one’s troubles, problems and discontent. Horrified by said view, the angst, anger and frustration with what we’ve become and who we are must be remedied by whatever means possible. Under the guise of righteous indignation, it requires no effort to defuse our suffering via blaming and lashing out at innocent and defenseless creatures,  and sometimes nations, rather than accepting responsibility for the blight and discomfort we’ve created in our world and lives. Discarding antiquated ideas and habits of thinking, while moving forward  in a positive and productive manner is not for the faint of heart, as it requires sustained effort.

Perhaps, the ideological conditioning brokered by the material world will give way to a new and enriched perspective. Born from the pain and emptiness of a meaningless existence, the Self-Actualized and Self-Realized principles  we’ve abandoned may grasp and build upon the pleas of a desperate people, who’ve become as open minded as the dying.

Unnecessarily abusing and butchering sentient creatures, while rehearsing warped and twisted rationalizations justifying the bloodshed, are the marks of a diseased and toxic society.

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John Donnelly
John Donnelly, a resident of Key Largo was born, raised and went to high school in the South Bronx. Upon graduation he was awarded several scholarships to college. He chose to enlist in the United Sates Marine Corps. While serving in Vietnam John was wounded in action. He received two meritorious promotions, one during combat. Upon discharge and return to America, John had a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. He found himself homeless for the next 4 years. As he worked out some troublesome concerns, he began to yearn to make some sense of his experiences via education. He sought and received his GI Bill benefits. He later graduated frpm the University of Miami on the President’s Honor Roll. While working at a Maximum Security Prison Facility for criminally insane adolescents, he earned a Master of Science degree from Florida International University.
More Articles by John Donnelly prior to November, 2014.
 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 7:56 am ~ Column ~, John Donnelly  Add comments

  7 Responses to “As You Kill Me, So It Is Done Unto Thyself…”

  1. The sad fact is that people don’t want to be educated and others are incapable of assimilating factual information, especially those who grew up using calculators and computers – and that goes for those employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from which I retired – Key Deer Refuge, in fact. They never did nor do they now possess the basic analytical ability to determine fact from fiction, to dissect those scientific reports filled with contradictions and innuendo, to approach a subject with complete neutrality. The feral cat portion of the USFWS’ Habitat Management Plan is a prime example. When extremely knowledgeable people tore apart the science on which their conclusions about feral cats was based, they back-burnered the plan until people forgot about it and then signed off on it, flaws and all, essentially ignoring people whose level of education, intelligence, and analytical ability was higher than any of those writing the plan. For them, career and promotions superseded accurate science and truth. As long as people like this exist – and it doesn’t seem that the situation is getting any better these days – there will always be those who love to kill just because – and certainly, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife with their partners the USDA Wildlife Services are in that category. As well, most ordinary folks in the Keys just don’t want to be bothered.

  2. Keysmiata,

    Extraordinary comment–Brilliantly set forth and put together. Much thanks.
    Within the annals of US Fish & Wildlife & USDA Wildlife Services, and not too difficult to find, there are volumes of documented and unnecessary killings of innocent animals, for virtually no reason whatsoever. Pictures and descriptions are available to identify this callousness.

    Without a blush, these government agencies kill and destroy via the most ignorant of justifications and junk science.

    Leaderless and corrupted bureaucrats want to keep their high paying jobs, so they must invent science as they go along, to substantiate their meaningless projects and make believe work that haven’t any positive effect or real purpose.

    Mindless, well paid automatons just following orders and doing their jobs. I’ve heard that before.

    I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to make a comment.

    Blessings & Respect

  3. Thanks, John. It’s really hard and time-consuming to fight stupid, and only a few persevere. Up in your area, Steve Klett at Croc Lake was the only rational USFWS employee when it came to feral cats. He approached the problem in a logical, not hysterical (as seems to be the case now) fashion and definitely saw through all the scientific crap Key Deer people were pitching. When he retired, a great, but more importantly, a reasonable man was lost to the organization – and the cause.


    “The killing agency: Wildlife Services’ brutal methods leave a trail of animal death”.

    “The Sacramento Bee” investigation has found Wildlife Service’s practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.

    Unbridled government power does not serve the people nor any other sentient creature. Its ruling dictates are often cruel and destructive.

    Keysmiata, excellent insight. I concur with your understandings. They are ‘spot on’.

  5. There’s so much unnecessary confusion about this situation. It’s so sad. I actually commented on John’s letter when it was posted on KeysNet. I posted links to three balanced resources that discussed various approaches to controlling cat populations. None of them were 100% for TNR or 100% for euthanasia. The methods favored as most effective were some variation of TNR. (TVHR, TENVAC). But people aren’t willing to have a solution-oriented discussion about the issue – not over there anyway. Lol.

    If euthanasia alone works so well, the Upper Keys should be free of “feral” cats. The Upper Keys shelter kills more cats each year than the other two shelters combined. Not just a higher proportion, but higher numbers. People who oppose TNR aren’t willing to acknowledge that euthanasia alone is flat out not working.

    The other element here is politics. The Upper Keys shelter receives about half the funding of the Middle Keys shelter per animal. To make matters worse, county staff tried to obscure that fact in the state of the county report by inflating the number of animals handled at the other two shelters.

    Unfortunately, our elected officials refuse to engage this issue in an honest, straightforward way. That’s going to make actually resolving it even more of a challenge.

  6. Margaret,

    Your well formed ideas are based upon a desire to formulate a humane solution. I very much appreciate your courageous willingness to publicly present alternatives.

    I extended a hand of friendship to my most vocal critic. Asking him to work with me in establishing a robust and viable “cat adoption program”; rather than just accelerating the killing of these innocent creatures. I’ve not heard back from him.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I’m cognizant of alternatives that effectively work on decreasing the cat population. TNR is one of the compassionate measures researched and endorsed by DR. Julie Levy from the University of Florida that actually works. It’s cost effective and decreased the cat population by 66% over the course of her study.

    Because some people are not willing to have a balanced and solutions oriented discussion; it does not give them the right to traumatize, kill and abuse animals. Particularly, when remedies are in place; in the form of cat colonies under the supervision and care of competent and qualified caregivers, are already in existence.

    The county and shelter supervisors need to acknowledge and recognize the contributions being made by these caregivers; and begin to support them as a resource.

    Education and raised awareness via community organizations can uplift consciousness to the point that it becomes unacceptable for a cat owner to abandon and discard their animal like garbage. Law-enforcement and collaborative methods of policing can aid in deterring such criminal activity.

    Margaret, I much appreciate your intelligent and sincere comments. Thank you so very much.

    Blessings & Respect

  7. Hi John;

    I definitely do not have all the answers either. But I agree with your approach in general. Clearly what’s being done now is not working. People may be passionately dedicated to euthanasia- only, but that approach is doing nothing to reduce the number of “feral” cats. Even supporters admit that when they make note of the large cat population.

    I agree that public involvement and cooperation is key. One of the studies I looked at mentioned the role of trapping rates. Both euthanasia and TNR require very high trapping rates if the cat population is to be reduced. That will be very difficult without a cooperative public. I doubt most people would go out of their way to trap a healthy cat and bring it to the shelter knowing it will be euthanized.

    The county government, as currently configured, is not willing or able to effectively handle this situation. Animal control, for them, is political sport as we saw with SUFA. And as we saw again with the dishonest finagling of the numbers in the 2015 state of the county report. I believe it will take a change in county leadership before our tax dollars can be used effectively to deal with this problem. Frankly, I think the place needs to be swept clean.

    Thank you, too.