Francisco de Goya y Lucientes: Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga, 1788. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Talk about a controversial story with next-to-zero coverage in the local news: a Los Angeles Superior Court judge "has banned Los Angeles animal shelters from encouraging feral cat colonies pending an environmental review."
The Urban Wildlands Group, Endangered Habitats League, Los Angeles Audubon Society, Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon Society, Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society, and the American Bird Conservancy were plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the L.A. Department of Animal Services. Here is the ABC's statement on the ruling. Excerpt:
A superior court judge has ruled in favor of a coalition of conservation groups, including American Bird Conservancy (ABC), to halt the controversial practice of Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) of feral cats in the City of Los Angeles, pending environmental review.And speaking of science, this article from the September-October issue of Audubon is a must-read. [Related blog discussion here.] Also check out Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap–Neuter–Return [pdf].
The court determined that the City and its Department of Animal Services had been “secretly and unofficially” promoting the practice of releasing feral cats to roam free in the city after they have been trapped and neutered or spayed, even though they were obliged by law to first conduct a review of the program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Despite denials by the City that an official TNR program existed, the judge ruled that “implementation of the program is pervasive, albeit informal and unspoken,” and ordered them to halt their actions and complete the necessary environmental reviews.
In June 2005, the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners adopted TNR as the “preferred method of dealing with feral cat populations.” Under the CEQA, an analysis of the impacts of the program on the environment should have been completed, but never was. Yet the Department went forward in supporting TNR operations, including discounting spay/neuter operations for TNR cats, helping establish new TNR colonies on city property, and helping promote TNR programs, while refusing to accept feral cats at city animal shelters or issue permits to trap feral cats that were not going to be subsequently released.
The City must now implement the CEQA process, which includes full scientific review, assessment of alternatives, and potential mitigation measures. The public will have the opportunity to engage in the process and ensure an open, science-based approach to the issue of free-roaming cats in Los Angeles.
Birds 1, Feral Cats 0 -- Court Orders LA To Stop Controversial Feral Cat Program
Liveblogging No More Homeless Pets Conference: Opening
Liveblogging No More Homeless Pets: What’s new in feral cats?
[Honestly, when I hear someone say, "Don’t give them a chance to argue with you. There’s only one solution, and that’s to let the cats live; proceed from there," I ask myself, Did I miss that election? The one that made feral cat colonies more important than wild birds, sea mammals, the environment, public health...? Because that position is insane, and I like cats.]
Here are three posts from Ed Muzika's L.A. Animal Watch:
Urban Wildlife Wins Lawsuit Against City; TNR illegal Until CEQA Done
Longcore Refuses to Respond to My Charge That His Call for Cat Sanctuary Is a Cynical Cover For His Death Recommendations
Longcore Attacks Every Measure on Proposed Beverly Hills TNR Ordinance--A Sample
And an oldie from the NY Times: Kill the Cat that Kills the Bird?