CVMA to fix 60,000 feral cats
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1999:
ALAMEDA, California––Maddie’s Fund, the $200 million
foundation formed by PeopleSoft founders Dave and Cheryl Duffield to
promote no-kill animal control, on August 2 announced a grant of $3.2 million
to the California Veterinary Medical Association, “to spay or neuter
60,000 additional feral cats in California” above and beyond the number
altered in 1998.
“The first phase of the project begins today,” a joint release
issued by Maddie’s Fund and the CVMA stated. “The CVMA anticipates it
will complete all three phases by June 2002.”
Participating veterinarians are to receive $50 per surgery.
Administrative costs are estimated at $70,000 per year.
Feral cats are defined as those who “generally do not voluntarily
accept handling by humans, and are ‘feral, independent wildlife’ or ‘feral,
interdependent free-roaming/unowned,’” as described by longtime Cat
Fanciers Association board member Joan Miller in a 1993 article for the
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The grant was announced concurrent with the unrelated publication
in Nature of a study by biologists Kevin Crooks and Lee McClenaghan
which concluded that human persecution of coyotes has made feral cats the
dominant predators in the hillside canyons surrounding San Diego. This
increases predation on smaller mammals and birds.
Where coyotes persist, Crooks and McClenaghan discovered,
21% of coyote scats contain cat remains.
“No one has really looked at this particular relationship before,”
McClenaghan told Associated Press science writer Matthew Fordahl,
apparently unaware that ANIMAL PEOPLE in 1992 and 1993 described
similar effects observed in Connecticut and New York.
Coyotes in turn may be beneficiaries of reducing feral cat births,
since more rodent prey will become available to other predators.
Another Maddie’s, called Kitty City
Maddie’s Fund is currently considering only grant proposals from
California––but will make grants elsewhere in the U.S. within several years.
Many shelters are meanwhile experimenting with techniques that Maddie’s
Fund president Richard Avanzino introduced during 24 years as president
of the San Francisco SPCA.
The Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey, for instance,
on August 4 announced it will add a newly renovated “Kitty City” to its
Forked River Animal Care Center, one of four shelters the organization
operates. As at Maddie’s Adoption Center at the SF/SPCA, “This area will
boast a two-story complex where cats can roam freely, play on catwalks,
peer through windows and skylights, relax on cat-sized furniture, and stroll
through an atrium,” the Associated Humane Societies release stated. “The
expansion will cost over $1 million, and will make the facility the most
comprehensive in New Jersey.”
Operating on a much more modest scale in Mount Airy, North
Carolina, Surry Humane Society president Karen Snow on July 25
announced that she would donate land for a no-kill adoption shelter, which
could give up to 24 cats and dogs at a time a better chance to find a home
than they now have at the Surry County Animal Shelter. The latter holds
only 50 animals at a time, and adopted out just 16 animals in 1998, while
killing 6,000, according to animal control supervisor Charles Gillespie.
But––over objections from the SF/SPCA––California shelter
directors who claim a mandatory holding period for dogs and cats of four to
six days is trying to force change too fast won a one-year reprieve from
compliance on July 13, when Governor Gray Davis signed a bill delaying
requirement of the holding period until July 1, 2000.
Many shelters with animal control contracts contended that keeping
all dogs and cats through the holding period would oblige them to kill
adoptable animals in order to have cage space for others.
As SF/SPCA law and advocacy department head Nathan
Winograd pointed out, however, shelters are not automatically exempted
from the original compliance deadline of July 1, 1999. Only exempted are
nonprofit shelters operating under public contract, which are open on
weekends or evenings, cooperate with other nonprofit animal rescue organizations
to arrange rehomings and adoptions, have firm plans for meeting
the extended deadline, and establish inability to comply with the original
deadline at a public hearing