The City of Los Angeles has finally published a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in order to implement a community cat program. If you want Los Angeles City shelters to sterilize community cats, instead of killing them, now is the time to make your voice heard.
In 2009, several anti-cat groups filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles in a bid to prevent community cats from being saved from death at the pound via sterilization. A Superior Court Judge ruled that City shelters were not to have any involvement with TNR, including the provision of spay/neuter vouchers, until they conducted an environmental review to determine how those actions impacted the environment, particularly bird populations, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The ruling was followed by a court-ordered injunction that prevented the City from supporting TNR in any way until that review was done. The end result is that any cat deemed “feral” is systematically put to death, the City cannot even refer people to TNR groups, nor can it provide trap rentals or spay/neuter vouchers for feral cats. Indeed, the City determined that there has been “almost a straight-line increase in neonate intake and killing coinciding with the injunction,” and that the “outdated theory of killing animals to curtail population growth is not working in Los Angeles for cats.” (FYI: the No Kill Advocacy Center, my organization, filed a countersuit in a bid to intervene on behalf of the cats.)
In publishing the draft EIR, the City is proposing to:
- “Directly engage in spaying or neutering, or make the spaying or neutering of cats more affordable by allowing the City to provide funds by means of free or discounted spay or neuter coupons or other City, public, or grant funds to subsidize the spaying and neutering of any cat in the City of Los Angeles to prevent them from having litters of kittens, regardless of the cat’s status as either owned pet, stray, or feral.”
- “[B]roaden the permitted use of Animal Sterilization Fund monies from ‘pet sterilization’ (current language) to “animal sterilization”… The proposed Project would allow the LAAC’s Animal Sterilization Fund to also be used to spay or neuter free-roaming cats in the City.”
- “Implement a modified TNR program that includes the following elements: i. Declaring that TNR is the preferred method of dealing with the free-roaming cat population and the City’s official policy. ii. Collaborating with organizations experienced and engaged in TNR and using animal services centers to provide information and training to citizens who wish to participate in TNR. iii. Implementing outreach by including links to TNR organizations on the LAAS website and directly referring the public to organizations for information on TNR. iv. Implementing a policy regarding free-roaming cat complaints that involves informing the complainant about the benefits of TNR and referring them to TNR organizations.”
- And more.
The draft EIR found that such a program would result in minimal risk to people, the environment, and wildlife.
As anti-cat groups are expected to respond with the usual litany of false claims, comments are needed (especially by those in Los Angeles and surrounding areas) in support of the TNR program.
In drafting your comments, you can learn more about the benefits of a community cat program here. In a nutshell, a community cat program:
- Reduces intakes and killing of community cats.
- Reduces the number of community cats.
- Reduces complaint calls to animal control.
- Reduces illness in the shelter.
- Reduces spending (and waste of taxpayer money).
- Increases opportunities to expand lifesaving of other animals, such as dogs, too.
It does all this while also improving neighborhood tranquility and without impacting public health, the environment, and wildlife.
Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. But please be sure to:
- Send your comments in letter format as an attachment to the email (not in the body of the email);
- Include a mailing address in the comment letter; and,
- Include “CAT PROGRAM” in the subject line.
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