Editorial: Pet overpopulation: it’s win or lose now

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

The latest shelter statistics, presented on page twelve of this issue, suggest that at
present about four million cats per year are euthanized for population control––about two-
thirds of the total number of animals euthanized because they have no homes.
The significance of this number is not only that it is low indeed compared to the
best estimates of feline euthanasia published only a couple of years ago, and almost unbe-
lievably low compared to the estimates of 15 years ago. Records of kitten survival in both
private homes and feral colonies indicate that only about half of the kittens who are born
live long enough to be weaned. Only about half of the kittens who survive that long reach
sexual maturity, so that no more than 25% of all the cats born eventually join the breeding
population, even without neutering. Further, according to data ANIMAL PEOPLE col-
lected and published in 1992, while conducting the cat rescue project described in our lead
feature for this month, only about half of all feral mothers live long enough to bear more
than one litter, and only half of those live long enough to bear more than three litters. Our
cat rescue records indicate that only one feral mother in a hundred lives longer than three
years, so four to five litters appears to be the normal outside limit to feral reproduction.

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Chicago, New Jersey, Macon: Model animal control programs meet fiscal reality; SHORT-TERM SAVINGS MAY MEAN LONG-TERM TROUBLE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

CHICAGO, Ill., SPRINGFIELD, N.J., and MACON, Ga.–– The financial pres-
sures of the 1990s threaten to undo the model animal population control programs envisioned in
the late 1980s, just as their benefits are beginning to be realized.
The budgetary ax fell first and hardest in Los Angeles, California, where on July 1,
1992, the city closed the public low-cost neutering clinics that helped cut animal control pickups
from 144,000 in 1970 to 87,000 in 1991, even as the estimated city pet population rose by 21%.
Euthanasia rates were cut proportionately. Animal control officials estimated that for every dollar

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What we’ve learned from feral cats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

SHUSHAN, New York––If the ANIMAL PEO-
PLE headquarters were the space station in Star Trek: Deep
Space Nine, old Bull the former feral cat would be
Constable Odo. Battle-scarred as a pirate, he lived most of
his life in a wrecked car in the slum district of a struggling
Connecticut mill town. He hates and fears humanity. And
he’s the walking refutation of almost everything anyone has
ever believed about tough tomcats.
As ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett
puts it, “Bull would be moral by human standards.” Despite
his piratical appearance, he observes rules of conduct gen-
erally believed to be beyond feline comprehension. From
our first introduction to Bull, we’ve been repeatedly con-
founded by his altruism, his rigid respect for law and order,
and his courage in what could only be described as moral
dilemnas.

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ANIMAL CONTROL & RESCUE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The Los Angeles City Council’ s
ad hoc committee on the ongoing municipal
budget crisis has dropped plans to merge
city and county animal control, as a merger
might hurt service without saving money.
The Agricultural Subcommittee
of the Maine legislature has unanimously
killed as impractical a bill to institute
statewide cat licensing.
Washington state senator Scott
Barr’s bill (SB 5832) to force pounds and
shelters to surrender animals to research lab-
oratories recently cleared the state senate
agriculture committee 6-0. The committee is
headed by Marilyn Rasmussen, who is
author of another bill, SB 5532, that would
strip humane societies of the power to
enforce anti-cruelty laws, and exempt dog
and cat breeders, circuses, zoos, aquariums,

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Is the ASPCA a dog-in-the-manger? by Garo Alexanian

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

Last month’s historic announcement from the
American SPCA that it would no longer bid for the $4.5
million contract for operating a pet-killing facility for the
City of New York was apparently motivated by the intro-
duction of Assembly Bill 5376A just three weeks prior.
This bill would finally bring New York City’s
counties (boroughs) parity with all the other counties in the
state with respect to the formation of county-wide Societies
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Whereas almost
all other counties in the state have the right to have their
own county-wide SPCA, the boroughs of Manhattan,
Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn are prohibited from
so doing by state law. An SPCA is basically a volunteer
police force for animals. Functional SPCAs are essential to
shape the public’s attitude, behavior, and compliance with
responsible pet ownership laws. SPCAs help determine
which animal crimes get investigated and prosecuted, and
more importantly, w h o gets prosecuted. If it chose to, a
borough SPCA might bid on any or all of the $4.5 million
contract the ASPCA has relinquished.

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An open letter to the ASPCA and New York City legislators by Elizabeth Forel

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The American SPCA’s recent decision to get out of the
business of killing homeless cats and dogs leaves many
unanswered questions. The killing will continue, only
now it may done behind doors closed even more tightly
than before, since the New York City government will
most likely but not willingly assume the responsibility.
New York City could become the biggest, most horren-
dous slaughterhouse dog pound in the nation.
Will the ASPCA don white gloves and join with
every other shelter and humane society in the greater met
ropolitan area, calling themselves a “no kill” shelter but
closing their eyes to the continuing slaughter of precious
healthy animals whose only crime was homelessness? Or
will the ASPCA accept the moral and ethical imperative
and speak out loudly and effectively against the slaughter,
using their newly released energy and financial strength to
educate relentlessly against the obscenity of breeding and
killing? Their past record does not offer much hope.

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Zoos & Aquariums

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1993:

The World Society for the Protection of Animals recently liberated Flipper, the
last captive dolphin in Brazil, near where he was captured in 1982. Before the release,
Flipper was reaquainted with life in the ocean under the supervision of Ric O’Barry of the
Dolphin Project––who also trained his namesake, the star of the Flipper TV program. Brazil
banned keeping marine mammals in captivity in 1991. The Brazilian Flipper spent the past
two years in solitude at an abandoned amusement park near Sao Paulo, and was kept alive
by the local fire department, who used their pumper truck to change his water after the filtra-
tion system in his tank deteriorated beyond repair.
Colorado’s Ocean Journey, the proposed aquarium to be built in Denver,
recently tried to head off protest by claiming it would include “only third generation captive-
born dolphins.” Pointed out David Brower, president of Earth Island Institute, “There are
no third-generation captive-born dolphins anywhere.” The Coors Brewing Company recent-
ly retreated from the dolphin controversy. According to a prepared statement issued
February 15, “Contrary to rumors and recent advertisements, Coors does not ‘want to bring
dolphins to Denver.’ Our support of this project is not focused on, nor dependent on,
cetaceans.”

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ANIMAL CONTROL & RESCUE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1993:

Legislation In Support of
Animals has awarded the St. Tammany
Humane Society a “platinum” star for being
the top shelter in Lousiana three years in a
row. The Louisiana SPCA won LISA’s gold
star this year; Ouachita Animal Control of
West Monroe and the no-kill Morehouse
Humane Society each earned a silver star;
and Slidell Animal Control received a bronze
star. The award winners include both public
and private facilities, with some of the
biggest and smallest budgets in the state. A
golden heart award went to two anonymous
sheriff’s deputies who arrested a pair of men
they caught torturing a mouse by dunking her
repeatedly in a beer glass, and threw the
book at them. The black star for worst shel-
ter of the year went to the Leesville Animal
Shelter. “The shelter is actually clean and by
most appearances, well run,” LISA execu-

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North Shore Animal League changes guard, offers free neutering

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1993:

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. –– North Shore Animal League president David Ganz resigned
March 1, just as the March issue of ANIMAL PEOPLE reached readers with a page one probe of NSAL’s
unconventional approach to promoting adoptions and neutering. The investigation discovered that the NSAL
approach is substantially reducing both pet overpopulation and euthanasia rates wherever tried, and found little
current evidence to support criticisms often directed at NSAL by more conventional humane groups.
Although a successor to Ganz was not named immediately, NSAL chairperson Elizabeth Lewyt said,
“It is business as usual at NSAL, with all divisions running smoothly,” adding, “All NSAL programs and poli-
cies, including support and assistance for other animal shelters, will continue without interuption.”
NSAL attorney John Stevenson is now acting chief executive officer. “As chairprerson,” Lewyt con-
tinued, “I am now taking a more active role in the management of the shelter.”
As Lewyt’s first public action, she announced that, “Commencing April 1, NSAL will be providing
free spaying and neutering to all NSAL adopters.”

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