Apr 102012
 

Peace for Pets is an organization with which I have become involved as part of the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) effort in Canton, OH. I am helping with their community education focus, and I will be one of the presenters for their TNR training program. If you are local to the Canton area and would like to learn more about TNR, here is your chance. Hope to see you there!

Click the arrow in the upper right corner to bigify the flyer above, and click the drop-down menu arrow in the center to download.

BZTAT

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Apr 092012
 
Asian boy painting

Painting by BZTAT

The first painting for the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human Animal Bond project is complete! This is the first painting in the series, based on a photo of a young man named Isaac who lives in Rochester, NY (We will get a better photo of the painting soon).

The background contains images created by students at 2 local schools who are participating in the project through the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. (DVPI). I met with the students along with a therapist from DVPI, and we talked with them about the importance of treating animals in a humane manner. We also talked about how animal abuse and domestic violence are linked, and encouraged them to share their own experiences.

Asian boy painting close-up

I was encouraged to hear many of these students sharing how their animals were spayed and neutered and otherwise well tended. Some shared of loss of a pet. One shared that he had difficulty understanding boundaries with a pet, leaving him with frequent scratches on his arms. He seemed to gain new understanding from our discussion. His teacher was hopeful.

Okey's Promise Gallery installationThe project will include a series of 10-12 professional artworks (approx. 48” H x 32” W each) that relate to the links between animal abuse, domestic violence and child abuse. These artworks will become a traveling exhibit that will be used locally by the DomesticViolence Project, Inc. (DVPI) and other interested agencies at events and other designated activities to raise awareness about the issues of domestic violence and pet abuse.

My hope is that the project will travel nationwide. If you are interested in having it visit your city, contact me.

Each face depicted in the exhibit will represent the outcome that we seek – safe, happy children and animals – with the backgrounds depicting the artwork of youth on the issues of animal abuse and domestic violence.

Follow posts here to see the project develop!

BZTAT

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Apr 032012
 

managed TNR feral cat colony

Solid research backs up the claims.

Carefully managed feral cat colonies with TNR programs reduce the number of feral cats, thereby reducing the number of problems associated with them.

Trap and remove programs that attempt to eradicate cat populations are plagued with a never ending supply of cats that take the place of the removed ones, thereby increasing the number of problems associated with feral cats.

Cats managed through TNR receive vaccinations and they no longer mate, so the health concerns and nuisance behaviors are drastically reduced. The altered cats protect their colony from interlopers, so their populations stabilize.

The opposite happens in a trap-remove program. There are no vaccinations to reduce the chances of animal to human transmission of diseases. The cats continue to mate, creating more nuisance behaviors. And the cat population increases exponentially.

Conventional wisdom says that killing cats will get rid of a feral cat problem, and get rid of the health risks to which public health officials raise alarm. But there is nothing conventional or wise about that belief.

The opposite is true. The only way reduce the number of problems with feral cats is to spay/neuter them, and then allow them to manage their own populations.

The truth is, TNR = fewer cats = fewer health risks to humans = fewer nuisance behaviors = a safer and more humane society to live within.

St. James Church in New York City has had a model TNR program for feral cats for many years. Recently, they abruptly decided to stop the program and they forbade caregivers from feeding the cats. The misguided goal was to eradicate the cats, hoping that they would just move on from the Church’s property. Unfortunately, that isn’t the way that cats behave.

Luckily, the Archdiocese of New York agreed to meet with TNR advocates from the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. When they met, they learned that 1) eradication was futile and 2) keeping the managed colony would get them closer to their objective than eradication attempts would. A temporary resolution allowing the cats to stay has been developed, and more permanent planning is taking place.

Hurrah!

Sadly, another model program has had an unhappier ending.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel & Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, FL have for years allowed a colony of cats to reside on their properties, tended by staff and volunteers. Inexplicably, the hotel chain recently decided to eradicate the cats. They refused to listen to advocates or consult with experts, unlike the leaders at St. James Church.

Loews even went so far as to threaten their staff with reprisals if they chose to ignore the new policy. The hotels further enlisted the services of an exterminator who reportedly is trapping the cats in a manner that leaves them highly stressed, urine soaked, and with bloodied noses.

A worldwide outcry for this small group of cats has ensued, and is likely to damage Loews’ brand as a “pet friendly” hotel. They seem to think the furor will eventually die down, but they may be surprised.

The Loews cats are being relocated and not euthanized, thanks to the efforts of Orange County Animal Services and CARE Feline TNR. Relocation is a risky and non-optimal solution, but it is better than euthanization.

All of this brings up some serious considerations for public and private efforts to establish TNR programs. These recent events suggest that it is not sufficient to create a program without putting serious thought into its future sustainability. Once advocates have succeeded in developing programs, they must find ways to establish perpetuity for TNR’s continued success with specific cat colonies.

Otherwise, model colonies that are functioning well will all be vulnerable to changes in leadership and misguided changes in policy.

As we approach leaders in my community of Canton, OH to create a municipal program, we must think beyond our current scenarios and current volunteers as we create a program that will hopefully outlive us all. We need to think about how to prevent the threats that have faced the St. James cats and the Loews cats.

I want to ensure that Canton’s cats will be protected from those who refuse to listen to research and true wisdom.

Any thoughts or suggestions? We are all ears, ear-tipped and all.

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

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