Free-roaming community cats reside in our neighborhoods, business complexes, and college campuses all over the globe. While free-roaming community cat colony caretakers passionately care for free-roaming community cat colonies, there is still widespread ignorance among the public about free-roaming community cat colonies in relation to the environment, health, and humane solutions to growing populations.
On January 25, 2013, the Richmond, Virginia media source, WRIC news channel 8 published a damning article characterizing the free-roaming community cats near the Villages of Long Meadow as terrorists in their feature, “Feral Cats Terrorize Chesterfield Neighborhood.”
I condemn WRIC’s representation of free-roaming community cat populations and any media source that portrays animals, domesticated companion or wild, as a threat to humans without further investigation into humane solutions by consulting knowledgeable and experienced animal justice advocates.
Starvation is not the answer. Euthanizing is not the answer. The only logical and humane answer is: trap-neuter-return, widely known as TNR.
Free-roaming community cats deserve the right to live in their territories and we must protect that right through compassion, education, and community cooperation. We possess the knowledge and the tools to implement humane trap-neuter-return in every community across the United States.
What is holding us back? Lack of humane education and lack of assistance. A joint effort among communities where free-roaming cats reside, animal control agencies, and state lawmakers is needed to maintain the health of free-roaming community cats as well as protect the rights of colony caretakers whose efforts are often forgotten and condemned.
Lawmakers everywhere need to redefine laws to protect free-roaming community cats and accept trap-neuter-return and colony management as the legal and acceptable practice in caring for free-roaming community cat colonies.
Positive change and improvement is hard work. It is too easy to complain and make no effort toward improved circumstances for and community relations with free-roaming community cat colonies and their caretakers.
What we don’t need is media sources fueling the fire of ignorance and demonizing free-roaming community cats. I am calling upon WRIC to follow-up their recent feature with a segment that educates the public on free-roaming community cats and the real benefits and results of trap-neuter-return.
Also, I call upon the Chesterfield County Animal Control, the Virginia Animal Control Association, Richmond area SPCAs, and other Virginia groups who support and educate the public on humane trap-neuter-return and free-roaming community cat management to take immediate initiative to:
- Educate the public about free-roaming community cat colonies
- Educate the public on humane trap-neuter-return
- Aid the community to initiate humane trap-neuter-return
- Strengthen local and state ordinances to protect free-roaming community cats
- Offer citizen advice and service on peaceful co-existence with ALL animals.
We are collectively responsible for the care, safety, and health of free-roaming community cats. Be a part of the humane solution: Educate and initiate humane trap-neuter-return.
For the most complete educational resources and information on free-roaming community cats, please visit the website of Alley Cat Allies.