While we at 10,000 Birds wouldn’t advocate taking such an approach, it is not without its merits:
Nico Dauphine told a D.C. superior court judge in response to the allegations, “absolutely not, no I did not.” The Ph.D. Smithsonian Institute researcher is accused of trying to poison street cats outside her apartment building on 15th Street in Northwest.
Dauphine works at the National Zoo studying wild birds, where her research has focused on one of birds’ enemies: cats.
An online lecture by Dauphine is entitled “apocalypse meow – free ranging cats and the destruction of American wildlife.” Prosecutors argued in March that the woman put rat poison and antifreeze in food dishes meant for the neighborhood cats.
There is apparently no physical evidence involved, just a video that is not entirely clear. Here’s hoping that Dauphine has her name cleared.
But this does beg the question – What is an acceptable approach for a private citizen to take when their neighborhood is inundated with feral cats?
Personally I wouldn’t do this but I don’t really have a problem with someone doing this if they are just poisoning food for feral cats. If the food was on her property I definitely don’t have a problem with this. My gut reaction is that this is just an attempt by people who don’t like to hear about all the damage outdoor cats do to smear this scientist
We expect hunters and sportsmen to abide by the laws and rules, and therefore we, as birders, should also not – never, under any circumstances – violate laws and regulations. I am sure someone who shoots a golf ball towards a red-shouldered hawk who is distracting him during the game feels that this action is acceptable under the given circumstances in much the same way birders might feel the poisoning of cats in acceptable under certain circumstances.
Either we accept the shooting of a hawk or two occasionally when it is a nuisance to others and then go out and poison cats, or we don’t accept the killing of hawks – and the poisoning of cats that are killing our birds.
If there is a feral cat problem, contact relevant authorities and let them sort it out. That’s the only acceptable way in my book.
I’d be worried about adding poison to the environment through anything that eats the cats. We wouldn’t want to accidentally poison the urban coyotes who were keeping the cats in check, or even Turkey Vultures and Crows that might find the carcasses.
There is much information available on working with feral cats. Poison is a method that only an ignorant and cruel person would use. Certainly, a colony of ferals can be trapped, spay/neutered and relocated. If another group of ferals come along, repeat the process. In that way, one is helping to control overpopulation due to irresponsible humans who allow their cats to roam and get lost. Speciesism is a limitation of the human mind which does not contribute to our evolving to higher levels of ethical or moral living.
Right on, KM. These cats should be removed, but in a way that endangers nothing else: shooting and live-trapping are the best solutions.
If this woman really did set out strychnine and antifreeze, she should be punished as the law requires.
“Relocated”? Yes, to a place where they will never be allowed to roam free again. Unfortunately, most feral and outdoor cats aren’t suited to adoption by responsible owners and wind up, regrettably, euthanized. People should think about that before letting their cats outdoors or dumping kittens.
Not sure what “speciesism” has to do with the matter.
I think it is a Witch Hunt. Dr. Dauphine, in all of her published writings on the topic, has never advocated poisoning or any other version of taking killing into one’s own hands. Her history in dealing with them is to remove food and/or humanely trap and turn cats over to Animal Control.
Also, considering her field of expertise, I think she obviously knows better than to use a non-species specific method of control.
Cats are legally considered an invasive species and aren’t protected under any law which I’m aware of. I wouldn’t use a method of poison in order to try to control feral cat populations. The risk remains high that nontarget wildlife could be harmed. However, I believe that individuals have the right to enjoy their property, even if it means sometimes going to extremes to do so.
In our county it’s legal to humanely trap cats (and other domestic animals) on your property and take them to the shelter. I made sure my neighbors were fully aware of this law.
Thinking as hard as I can, I can’t figure out what are the charges here. If it is ok to poison Norway rats (an invasive species), surely it is also ok to poison Feral Cats, also an invasive species.
Having said so, for the same reason as Arlene, I agree it is a terrible idea. There is already enough chemicals in the environment, no need to spread out some more poison. There are much cleaner ways to do the job.
Feral cats are protected by anti-cruelty statutes throughout the U.S., although some states, like Wisconsin, have attempted to roll back this protection. Unless circumstances have changed since I last checked the laws, it is not legal to shoot or poison ferals, despite a few comments here to the contrary. Animal control can live trap cats and remove them to shelters. I’m a wildlife rehabilitator and we obviously see our share of both cat-caught birds and poisoned raptors and mammals. Because of this, I’ve worked with groups that had good success in reducing local feral numbers through TNR and adoption, even though not all situations are as successful. As Susan said, there are better ways to deal with feral populations. Cruel measures or ecologically harmful agents that easily make their way up the food chain are not the solution.
I personally have proclems with poisoning feral cats. The problem of feral cats goes back to the decision by irresponsible humans in letting their indoor/outdoor cats outside, by not having their cats spayed or neutered, and by callously abandoning cats.
I also wonder about the studies that have been cited about feral cats being responsible for “hundreds of millions of bird deathe each year”. If that were true, then what would that say about the total bird population?
TNR = releasing feral cats into the wild. It should be as illegal as it is ill-advised.
@Bonnie Mulligan: It would say that many bird populations are in decline. Which they are.
Rick, I think I get your point – that releasing any cat in the wild presents a hazard to birds, and that is an unacceptable risk. I do understand that position and, believe me, it’s no fun to be at intake when a cat-caught bird is brought in by a pet owner. At the same time, the research I’ve read suggests that there are far greater threats to bird numbers, including the ever-present hazard of disappearing habitat. Humans present significant stresses to birds in the form of deliberate activity such as hunting, and inadvertent threats (windows, chemicals, etc). All of these things in collusion contribute to population declines and stresses. Feral cats do their share of damage but I believe there is still some controversy over precisely how much. I’ve met many people trying to find genuine solutions to the feral cat problem without violating anticruelty laws. Where I’ve worked with TNR programs, they were among the only solutions offered in overcrowded shelter networks, handled almost always at a grass roots level where nothing else, at all — at all — was being done.
Corey, I know that bird populations are in decline. I asked for information about scholarly. scientific studies. I appreciate all of the responses, in particular Ingrid’s.
Thank you Ingrid, Susan and Bonnie for adding rational and humane arguments to this discussion. I realize that much of what I consider cruel and inhumane comments posted here are the result of some very frustrated bird advocates and lovers. However, I don’ think it is in the best interest of any group to support illegal and/or inhumane behavior. I was truly shocked when I read this article and some of these posts.
I keep my cat indoors (he gets walks everyday on a leash and has an outdoor enclosure) partly because I am afraid of this kind of cruelty and attitude. I know that Facebook has many pro cat pages. Wouldn’t it be best to post your concerns there? I do understand that the folks here may be frustrated but so are many cat owners and advocates.
I guess everyone remembers the case of the piping plover versus feral cats issue in Texas. The New York Times paper was excellent.
Laurent, thank you for that link. I hadn’t seen it when it was published. It’s one of the most balanced and thorough pieces on this issue that I’ve read. As a wildlife rehabilitator and photographer, I am committed on every level to protecting and advocating for birds. At the same time, I just can’t personally advocate for a lawless free-for-all against feral cats, from a cruelty standpoint. I’ve seen what transpires when we allow unchecked hunts of “varmint” animals and it’s gruesome beyond measure. That’s my personal ethical block. Others obviously have different perspectives. In the end, I don’t think that acknowledging the complexity of this situation in any way implies apathy or inaction. On the contrary. There are a lot of people out there with their sleeves rolled up, doing what they can, but feeling utterly frustrated by the situation for wildlife at large.
Please don’t make Nico Dauphine out to be heroic or some kind of martyr—or even a concerned citizen, for that matter. This is not the first time Nico Dauphine has been in front of a judge trying to explain her treatment of neighborhood cats.
As a PhD student at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, she took it upon herself to round up cats—unowned and owned alike—and haul them off to the shelter where they would likely be killed. (And the neighborhood wasn’t “inundated with feral cats,” either. She made it very clear in court testimony: she went looking for any cats she could find outdoors. ) Dauphine called this “community service.” (I posted much of the transcript from that case on my blog: http://www.voxfelina[dot]com/2011/08/community-service/).
Regarding your “witch-hunt” reference, you’ve got the right metaphor, but misapplied it. Dauphine and her colleagues have been using cats as scapegoats for years now. Indeed, Dauphine’s scientific claims are no better than her legal claims. She has routinely used her position to misrepresent the “threat” of free-roaming cats, in journal papers, letters to the editor, and presentations (her now infamous “Apocalypse Meow” presentation, riddled with errors, was pulled from the Warnell website shortly after Dauphine’s arrest in May).
Simply put, she’s twisted the science any way she could in order to fuel the witch-hunt against free-roaming cats.
Much of her testimony, however, was apparently spent denying her well-documented position on the issue. According to a story in Monday’s Washington Post:
“Senior Judge Truman A. Morrison III said it was the video, along with Dauphine’s testimony, that led him to believe she had ‘motive and opportunity.’” He specifically pointed to her repeated denials of her writings. ‘Her inability and unwillingness to own up to her own professional writings as her own undermined her credibility,’ Morrison said.”
All of this raises several unsettling questions, beginning with this one: How did Nico Dauphine, whose reputation (both in terms of her attitude toward cats and her lack of integrity as a researcher) clearly preceded her, land a prestigious research fellowship at the National Zoo studying—that’s right—the hunting habits of neighborhood cats (a fact the National Zoo has refused to acknowledge in its press releases)?
I’d also like to know what happened to all of Dauphine’s supporters (e.g., The Wildlife Society, the American Bird Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.) since her arrest. The individuals and organizations that were so quick to cite her sloppy work when it suited their purpose (i.e., the aforementioned witch-hunt) have remained—at least publicly—silent over the past few months. Despite their silence, though, the message is coming through loud and clear: Dauphine’s professional work on the subject of free-roaming cats is as indefensible as the actions that landed her in DC Superior Court.
Perhaps the guilty verdict will have the media looking into these questions.
Peter J. Wolf
@Peter Wolf: If her papers were peer-reviewed and no specific errors can be cited then her later behavior does not effect the validity of those papers.
And free roaming cats are a major threat to wildlife. That is simply indisputable. Your use of scare quotes does not make the threat feral cats represent any less real.
Peter Wolf needs to stop misrepresenting the case in Athens. He left out some very important details. Would you care to enlighten the other readers, or do I have to?
@Annie: Feel free! It sounds like you know more than me.
The general rule-of-thumb in the USA is that if your land is in an area zoned for agricultural or livestock use then it is perfectly legal to destroy any animal, someone’s pet or not, that is threatening the well-being and safety of your own animals. The only animals exempt from you taking immediate action, legally, are those listed on endangered or threatened species lists, and any bird species under protection of MBTA (the Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Even then variances can be given should there be sufficient problem but this requires further study by authorities. Since cats are listed in the top 100 WORST invasive-species of the world in the “Global Invasive Species Database”, this means they have no protection whatsoever from being shot on sight. And in fact, if your area enforces and obeys invasive-species laws — as they should — then it is against the law to NOT destroy any cat on sight, someone’s pet or not. It is your civic and moral responsibility to destroy any invasive-species that is found away from safe confinement and roaming freely in a non-native habitat.
A cat-owner that releases their cat in an area zoned for any form of livestock or agricultural use has no legal grounds to sue anyone if their cat is shot. Even if the shooter walks up to the door of the ex-cat-owner and hands their dead cat back to them, saying, “I shot your cat, here it is! Better luck next time!” Though local law-enforcement frowns on this because the criminally-irresponsible ex-cat-owner will just raise a stink with law-enforcement, wasting their time when they have more important things to do than explain to and coddle an idiot. Hence the popular “SSS Cat Management Program” (Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up) method to save your gendarmes the further hassle by the ex-cat-owning trouble-makers.
Besides, what difference does it make if the cat gets shot or ran over by a car or attacked by another animal or poisoned? The result is the same. The cause is the same — the fault of the criminally irresponsible pet-owner that let that cat roam free. It only means they really didn’t care about that cat at all so nobody else should either.
When flying over the USA on a clear day, look down. Then you’ll see that vast coast-to-coast patchwork-quilt of farms and ranches where it’s legal to shoot every last cat.
(Poison is frowned upon, because once released into the environment, it goes on to harm anything that comes in contact with it. It cannot be easily retrieved from nature once it’s done its job. This is why shooting, or trapping and drowning, all excess and stray cats is the preferred method.)
TNR programs and their advocates are making absolute fools out of each and every one of you that they con with their nonsense. Not only are they causing untold damage to ALL native wildlife (directly and indirectly) and further spread of deadly diseases to all animals and humans, but are also doing *ABSOLUTELY* *NOTHING* to curtail cats’ breeding rates. On top of that, they are doing all of this while violating all invasive-species laws in existence. (Cats being listed in the TOP 100 WORST invasive-species OF THE WORLD in the “Global Invasive-Species Database”.)
If you do the research, as I did using data from the most “successful” TNR programs, you’ll easily find that no TNR program has EVER trapped more than 0.4% of existing cats in any one area for over a decade now. (Even Oregon’s amazing 50,000 TNR’ed cats, at the end of this year will have only trapped 0.35% of them in Oregon.) They simply cannot trap them faster than they breed out of control, no matter what they do. And those cats that learn to evade traps go on to produce offspring that now also know how to evade any trapping method used. So not only are >99.6% still and ALWAYS breeding out of control, and spreading their diseases everywhere, and still destroying ALL wildlife (native prey becomes tortured play-toys, native predators starve to death from cats destroying their ONLY food), but TNR fools are also ensuring that any future generations of these devastating invasive-species won’t even be able to be trapped. This is why, due to TNR-Advocates’ insistence that they have “the answer”, that their feral-cat population has now climbed to an ecologically-deadly 150 MILLION feral-cats across the USA. Soon to turn into 1.5 BILLION cats within the year if you apply cats’ breeding rates to previous population numbers. (That’s actually a low low estimate. The real number from calculations spit out by their reproduction rates is closer to 2.4 BILLION.)
Find whatever way that you can to destroy all feral and stray cats on-site. Avoid using traps if at all possible because trapping is what slowed everything down to where cat populations have now sky-rocketed out of control. TNR advocates are at least right about one thing; trap and kill doesn’t work either because it is based on the very same flawed method that they use — slow, random-chance, inefficient, easily outfoxed traps. There’s a reason the phrase “hunted to extinction” is so well-known in all cultures across all lands. It is the *ONLY* method that is faster than a species can out-breed and adapt to. The following link (of a study done by the University of Nebraska) is some good documentation on the most humane ways to confront a feral-cat problem where you live; including the best firearms, air-rifles, and ammo required. Though avoid using their suggested slow and inefficient trapping methods that got us into the ecological disaster that we have now. http://deenawinter.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ec1781.pdf
On advice of the local sheriff where I live I used a .22 equipped with a good illuminated-reticle scope and a laser-sight for use when they are most active, dusk to dawn; as well as to afford precision aim for a humane kill. I shot every last one of them on my property to restore all the native wildlife to proper balance. Mission accomplished! 100% total success! This is even a more humane method than terrorizing trapping and animal-shelter methods; and why it is the preferred feral-cat management policy in so many areas today. One moment the cats are happily stalking defenseless animals to cruelly torture again, the next they are dead and don’t even know what happened, they don’t even have time to make a sound. Making your land 100% cat-free is something that cat advocates haven’t been able to solve nation-wide for 30-40 years. On my land only 1 person in only 2 seasons was able to accomplish what they couldn’t attain in decades. Why is that? The cost per cat was also only 0.3 CENT, 3 cats PER PENNY, a ONE-TIME expense (5000 rounds on sale for only $15). All cats gone for the price of a few cups of coffee. And contrary to another famous TNR-Advocate’s bald-faced “vacuum effect” LIE … NO CATS REPLACED THEM. The NATIVE predators and their required NATIVE prey that WAS here and BELONGS here is what replaced their lousy invasive-species cats that had destroyed the entire native food-chain. This year I’m even enjoying birds I’ve never seen in my life before. Two of the warblers listed in the top 10 songbirds of the world for their song. What an amazing sound to awake to each morning. You have no idea what you’re missing if you have cats by you. I now feel sorry for anyone who has cats. Their lives and world are dismally empty and they don’t even know it.
May you have as much success as I did, and so quickly and inexpensively too.
p.s. Avoid the use of poisons if at all possible that, if released into the food-chain, would go on to harm the very wildlife that you are trying to save from destruction by cats. And please bury or incinerate the carcasses so all the highly toxic diseases that cats now carry won’t go on to harm nor infect more wildlife or humans. Which, if you do a Google search, now even includes cats spreading the plague in the USA. So much for that myth that cats would have saved people from the plague in Europe, cats would have made it far worse, and just might do so this time around. Search some more and you find they are also spreading flea-borne typhus and tularemia now too.
There WAS physical evidence, rat poison in the cat food. I’m concerned that the author of this article does not even accurately present facts. I’m also concerned that the author seems to think nothing of an educated individual — who of all people should have known better — that took the law into her own hands. Where does that kind of behavior stop?
Woodsman – since you have repeatedly advocated illegal activity, on this website and on others, would you please post your real name and location, so that you can be reported to your local law enforcement?
I pulled into my driveway last night and my headlights shone upon yet another friggin cat. I wish I lived in an area zoned for agriculture. Woodsman, you’ve got my support.
EC, in areas where spineless and ecologically-ignorant lawmakers have been voted into office (fearing losing their jobs by doing the right thing), then there’s the TDSS Cat Management Program. Trap, Drown, Shovel, & Shut-Up. There’s no crime committed if it never happened!
You might also like to know that CO2 asphyxiation is also supported as a humane method to put down an animal.
According to this documentation: http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/euthanasia.pdf
(Though I don’t buy into them not supporting drowning, people who have survived drowning say it’s actually a very pleasant experience once they get past the holding their breath portion. An interesting show on PBS recently exploring humane deaths for capital-offense cases (and livestock animals) showed that humans or animals dying of hypoxia, loss of oxygen, as what happens during drowning, is the most humane method of all — dying in a complete state of euphoria, even more humane than by injection.)
Doing a quick check online, a 16-gram C02 cartridge for a paintball-gun creates 6.57 liters of gas. Which is just about 400 cubic inches of space at 100% concentration. Considering they use 30% to 50% concentration of CO2 for humane euthanasia, you could use a 16-gram CO2 cartridge to euthanize a cat in an 800-1200 cubic-inch area of confinement. (8″-12″ x 10″ x 10″) That seems pretty small, so adjust number of cartridges required accordingly. They lose consciousness in under 1 minute and have respiratory arrest in under 5 minutes. (from above document) Just get the right fittings and valve for paintball CO2 cartridges.
This seems excessively troublesome when drowning is free and easy and used on nearly every farm in the country, but it’s another option for people with astoundingly ignorant and spineless lawmakers.
Guest, would you please post your real name and address? You sound just like one of those many many sociopathic a psychopathic cat-advocates that send and phone-in death-threats to everyone who is doing what needs to be done. I like collecting those death-threats, I have a list of thousands so far. Would you like to add yours? I’m sure the FBI will have fun with the list one day.
Woodsman, I think it’s surprising that so many people are shocked and angered by what you’re saying (and you are intending to provoke) when most of the people in the US eat factory farmed animals. We all should take a hard look at our own impact on the planet before condemning this.
They also don’t often realize that the Toxoplasma gondii parasites that gets into their own brains from eating undercooked meats come from cats that roam around stockyards and farms. Cats are often euthanized around any livestock to prevent miscarriages in livestock from the T. gondii parasites that cats spread. The same problems that humans have from T. gondii (miscarriages, still-born births, fetal hydrocephaly and microcephaly) also happens to all other wildlife and animals that contract this parasite from cats.
I find it interesting how many animal-shelters are now desperately starting campaigns online to promote their feral-cats as “green rodent control” for people in urban areas. They want to make THEIR problem into someone else’s problem. Putting these diseased cats right where they can pass their disease to livestock. They don’t realize that people in the country are smarter than they are when it comes to animals and diseases.
TNR advocates are living in a permanent state of self-inflicted delusion.
Some further interesting reading on T. gondii:
This parasite not only changes the mind of the animal it invades (including the minds of humans, I suspect it being the cause of the crazy-cat-lady-cat-hoarders and TNR-advocates),
but can even kill you at any time during your life once you’ve been infected by it. It becomes a permanent lifetime parasite in your mind, ready to strike at any time that your immune system becomes compromised. It’s now being linked to the cause of autism, schizophrenia, and brain cancers. The weirdest part of all, its strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are actually attracted to cat urine.
So even the often proclaimed use for cats to control rodents is now false. Cats actually attract rodents to your home, with their whole slew of flea-borne and other diseases. If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract rodents to your area.
typo correction, typed “urban” meant to type “rural”
That an innocent woman could be convicted guilty given the lack of evidence and attacks on her research.
That a wildlife rehabilitator would support TNR (Hmmm…actually, not too surprised – wouldn’t be the first instance of someone claiming to be concerned about birds/committed on every level yet abandoning ecological principles – kind of like the HSUS).
That people have the nerve to compare the humane removal of free ranging cats for impoundment at the local animal control facility – indeed, a community service – to the poisoning of cats. (Again…maybe not too surprised – tunnel vision from TNR zealots means removal/euthanasia and poisoning are the same in their minds).
Woodsman, your comments here and your ad hominem attacks on “sociopathic … psychopathic cat advocates” suggest you are probably resistant to civil discussion on this issue. In spite of that, I have to correct your assessment of CO2 as a euthanasia method for cats. You’ve cherry-picked from the AVMA report. Even the report itself suggests distress for some larger animals who can raise their heads above the effective level of CO2 used. It’s much more complex than that. But the upshot is that it’s irresponsible to advocate for this usage in a public forum without all of the caveats.
Although I’m not a veterinarian, I have experience witnessing C02 euthanasia in a wildlife setting and CO2 was not used in this settings for larger animals (of a cat’s size) because that usage is construed as inhumane and problematic on several levels. There’s a reason some state like California outlawed CO and CO2 chambers for cats and dogs, and designated euthanasia by injection as the preferred method.
Given your comments, I suppose it’s possible you’ve used CO2 and have experienced firsthand the distress that can occur, particularly since CO2, in addition to its various shortcomings, requires training and experienced monitoring to get the CO2 levels so precise as to cause little distress to the animals.
Lastly, despite the seeming authority of the AVMA guidelines, and their wide usage as reference, you may not be aware (or perhaps you are and choose to overlook this aspect) that humane groups continue to challenge some of the provisions. And individual professional associations concerned with the humaneness of euthanasia for the animals in their charge, be they cats or birds, deliver their own code of conduct and ethics where humane euthanasia is concerned.
@Corey, sorry, I meant that statement for Peter to clarify
Just so I am clear. I’d like to give you a chance to clarify what the case in Athens was really about. Your description and choice of quotes from the transcript appear to be deliberately misleading. Was that your intention?
Oh yeah, and owned cats were not likely in any danger at the Athens Humane Society (they prided themselves on that).
Woodsman, I realize you’re probably trolling this thread for a reaction, given your incendiary comments, and I have no idea if your comments will be left to stand as such. But I doubt you’d be so quick to advocate for these illegalities and inaccuracies using your real identity.
You wrote, “The general rule-of-thumb in the USA is that if your land is in an area zoned for agricultural or livestock use then it is perfectly legal to destroy any animal, someone’s pet or not, that is threatening the well-being and safety of your own animals. The only animals exempt from you taking immediate action, legally, are those listed on endangered or threatened species lists, and any bird species under protection of MBTA (the Migratory Bird Treaty Act).”
You know as well as anyone that cats are not wildlife and are not covered under the auspices of wildlife laws, right or wrong, for better or worse. Even feral, they are considered domestic animals in most states and are protected by anti-cruelty statutes in most states. It’s one thing to have the strong opinions you do. It’s another to misrepresent the overarching legality in the interest of your “cause.”
In case you didn’t see my above comments and are prepared to label me a sociopathic cat advocate, I am a wildlife rehabilitator and photographer and advocate for all wildlife and birds. But I’ve been on the other side of the issue, too — rescuing birds that were shot by someone who had no regard whatsoever for wildlife laws. Under those circumstances, it becomes impossible to stomach the eradication ethic for which you are advocating, for any species … if one can even call it that.
Ingrid, you’re absolutely right. They are not wildlife, they are not a native-species of any sort. They are a destructive, disease-spreading, exponentially overbreeding, INVASIVE-SPECIES. They have NO protections whatsoever. Why do you cat advocates always lie so much and so often? Is that all you’ve got?
Here’s a little information to help you understand the behaviors of “cat-lovers” and their cats. Something I discovered when local “cat-lovers” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) were using cats to overtake my land and woods, eventually even by moving my property markers when using their cats had failed — because I got the legal go-ahead to shoot them all on my land. (An expensive many $1000s lesson for these property-thieves, surveyors are not cheap.) I often wondered why they kept releasing new cats onto my land even long AFTER they already knew that all their cats were being shot to death, they were told this is what was going to happen, and was happening. They didn’t care about cats AT ALL! Clearly something else was motivating these people. How many people do you know that keep releasing cats even after seeing many of them become road-kill? (Like every last TNR-advocate for starters.) They don’t care about cats, not in the least!
Now you’ll know exactly why cat-lovers do what they do. It really has nothing at all to do with their concern for cats, nor even the lives of anyone nor anything else, quite the opposite.
Human Territorial Behavior By Expendable Proxy
I have come to the inexorable conclusion that the vast majority of “cat-lovers” and cat-owners that let their destructive invasive-species roam free, and especially those that defend the rights of feral cats to overtake private and public property and wildlife areas, are only (cowardly) using cats as a proxy for their OWN territorial behavior. Not unlike uneducated inner-city youth that will disrespectfully and inconsiderately use loud music to stake-out a territory for themselves. Whether this behavior is done consciously or subconsciously, the underlying motive is the same. As long as they can have one of their cats defecate in another’s yard or destroy their property, animals, and wildlife; and the land-owner not have any recourse; the cat-owner/caretaker owns that territory. It’s time to put a stop to them using their “cute kitty” excuse for usurping and stealing others’ property. If they want territory they can damn well buy it just like anyone else. Instead they’re using underhanded, disrespectful, and manipulative means. By putting (and sacrificing) live animals in the path of their envy and greed. Again proving why they don’t care about cats nor anyone else at all. “Cat-lovers” only really want your yard, garden, or forest while making all others and all other animals suffer for what they can’t have nor own. Bottom line–they want to control you and your property. That’s _ALL_ that “cat-lovers” are really after. It’s why they don’t care at all if their cat nor any other animals, nor even other humans, get harmed by their goals and (lack of) values in life.
@Guest: The initial article linked to did not mention physical evidence. And, while poisoned cat food was presented as evidence at trial, there was no physical evidence linking Dauphine to it, only video showing Dauphine at the location. The judge obviously felt that this was enough circumstantial evidence to convict.
Honestly, I wish that if Dauphine did try to poison cats that she had just admitted to it and used the trial as a platform to further the cause of ending the threat that feral and free roaming cats are to wildlife.
TNR is a joke. It just means more dead birds. I completely disagree with spreading out poison for the feral cats but I would have no problem shooting them cleanly or trapping them and taking them to animal control for disposal.
Hey Peter Wolf,
I noticed your blog has no comments section? Coward.
Enemy of feral cats everywhere
We animal folks are in different groups: dog people, cat people, Bird people, herp people…. and we just seem to Tolerate each other… I am NOT a fan of the cat….I have birds, and I watch and rehab wild birds. Having a mammal in the house requires a mammal Vet.along with a bird vet $$$$$…as for the woman that is allegedly killing off feral, and Ms. Prims down the road…. my big concern is what she does with the bodies???? Cats are dangerous to birds, period. But throw poison on top of it all spells disaster on both ends.
We are not necessarily in different groups. I’m an avid birder and conservationist, but I also have, dogs, cats and a parrot. The cats live indoors and are fixed. I don’t see why you would have to only be in one corner. People would not put up with feral dogs running the neighborhood. I’m not sure why more isn’t done about feral cats.
Karen, thank you for that! Does anyone think it would be OK to have stray and neighbor’s dogs coming onto private or public property, fighting with each other, killing everything they could reach, destroying the habitat? No! So why do people think it’s OK for cats to invade private or, much worse, public land? Because it’s “natural?” Guess what: It’s “natural” for dogs to kill cats too, but it’s illegal for my dog to go into your yard and kill your cat.
Back to the original story, though, poison is horrible in all forms. Years ago we put rat poison cubes out for the vermin living under our neighbor’s hot tub and within a day I saw a Cooper’s Hawk on our fence with a rat in its talons. I will never get over that guilt, that I might have caused secondary poisoning of a bird. Poison = bad, for many years.
I’m stunned by the vitriol that’s passing for commentary in this blog thread. Woodsman, caring little as you do for civil and reasonable exchange, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that you didn’t read a thing I’d written and have chosen to wipe away my comments with a broad, disparaging brush. I’m a wildlife rehabilitator, dude. And I spend every free moment in the field with wildlife. The last thing I advocate for is cats killing birds. Cat-caught birds are something staff and volunteers deal with regularly at wildlife hospital and it’s something every wildlife facility works hard to change. It is definitely a problem. But to advocate for the welfare of wild animals and birds does not mean one must invoke deliberate cruelty toward other species. As Karen wrote, caring for one doesn’t preclude caring for the other. In fact, in the work I do, one can’t afford to be that myopic. Almost every wildlife solution involves complexities. I don’t think it speaks to the best of human character to suggest there’s only one way to address a problem — and a very limited and short-sighted way at that, riddled with dubious assertions.
SHOOTING IS ONE OF THE *MOST* HUMANE METHODS AVAILABLE ANYWHERE. THIS IS EVEN MORE HUMANE THAN DEATH BY INJECTION.
Though to be perfectly honest, considering how INVASIVE-SPECIES cats cruelly torture and destroy all other animals by ripping the skins off of live animals or disemboweling them for slowly dying and twitching cats’ play-toys (not even using them for food), I’m not sure why cats should be given the privilege of a humane death. I’ve been drawn to many animal screams in my woods to find their cats shredding another animal to death; which I had to then quickly put that animal out of its misery, torment, and suffering caused by that cat. Lucky for those I found so fast from their screams. Other wildlife that I’d find days later had died a slow and agonizing death from wounds after being shredded by their cats. I guess I’m just more humane than all cat-lovers and their cats, that’s why their cats get shot and die instantly instead of equitably and justifiably tortured to death. If cat-advocates want REAL justice for their cats then any cat found outdoors would have to be cruelly tortured to death the same way their cats cruelly torture all other animals — something that I couldn’t do. Maybe that’s why TNR-advocates don’t mind that their cats slowly suffer to death by means of “attrition” — by disease, attacks, exposure, starvation, road-kill, etc., on ad-infinauseum. They have absolutely no problems in torturing animals. They’re just like their cats.
You as a cat-lover, why are you advocating for all this senseless and needless suffering, destruction, and cruelty to ALL animals — INCLUDING CATS?!? Perhaps a long prison-sentence for you would give you the time you need to think about this more clearly.
Have-a-heart trap and a 30 gallon garbage can full of water
You might also want to stop and realize that shooting is the *ONLY* method that is faster than their breeding rates and their ability to adapt to all other methods and doesn’t harm nor harass any other wildlife, as well as taking care of the problem of IMMEDIATELY stopping cats from spreading deadly diseases too. The moment you introduce trapping into the equation you are back to trapping less than 0.4% of feral-cats in any one area, ALWAYS allowing more than 99.6% to continue to breed out of control.
All you are doing is making the problem VASTLY AND EXPONENTIALLY WORSE — NOT BETTER.
You want to blame someone for this disaster? You need look no further than your nearest mirror. THIS IS *YOUR* FAULT.
I swear I was born into a planet of complete and utter morons.
I think Woodman last comment makes a lot of sense (I am an indoor cat owner, btw). The shooting method reduces the “average animal suffering”, overall, and might be the only effective method anyway (except for Urban area). The only “greener” (not necessary more “human” for the cats, though) alternative I can see might be to protect/release coyotes in problem areas.
Coyotes won’t help. Well they will, but very minimally. I had originally started to get rid of excess cats on my land by increasing the populations of what few native predators were left. In the hopes that they might displace or destroy the excess cats. I started to feed raccoons, opossums, foxes, skunks, etc. (sadly, all coyotes are gone from this region from farming practices). This process occurred over a time-span of about 10-12 years.
I observed a really curious thing. At ANY TIME that a cat would enter their feeding area, they’d all run away back into the woods. I kept saying to them, “YOU IDIOTS! You’re supposed to EAT THOSE CATS!!!” This went on for 2-3 years, the cat problem getting worse and worse. It was then advised that I just shoot all cats. I did.
During that time I thought I could FINALLY put these cats to some good use and have their meat put back some nutrition into the native food-chain that these very cats had destroyed all these years. Several times I would put out one or two dead cats in the wildlife feeding area for them to enjoy that evening. Every time ANY of the wildlife would enter the area, as soon as they spotted the (now dead) cat(s), they’d RUN AWAY! I was baffled. They wouldn’t even approach a dead cat!
It wasn’t until one of the very last cats I shot, an all gray one, where a resident family of opossum (2 adults 3 juveniles) that were living next to the house, finally chewed on that cat-carcass that I left for them. (Then I never saw them again. After going online I learned of all the deadly diseases that cats carry. I now suspect all those opossum died from a cat-disease. I never saw them after that. I so now regret having ever tried to feed them any cat-meat, and am really glad that all the other wildlife ran away from them.)
But this was the final clue, the only all-gray cat finally getting munched on, that let me know why all the other wildlife was running away from cats.
Due to the bold coloring patterns that have been bred into cats, all wildlife now perceives cats as having hidden toxic or olfactory defense mechanisms. A universal symbol in nature — bold patterns = potentially dangerous. Native wildlife; not having millennia of adaptation to grow accustomed to the cat-shape, cat-size, and cat-behavior; falls back on this instinct to evade and avoid anything unusual with bold patterns. Each cat also having a unique pattern, making wildlife decide if that cat is predator or prey even more difficult. They choose to flee from all that doubt, rather than risk their life trying to get a cat-meal.
I had also read reports online of where other people saw coyotes running from cats. Cat owners sometimes making those claims with, “Oh, you should see my brave boy! He chased a coyote away!” Nonsense, it was the cat’s coloring pattern that frightened that animal.
Coyotes may pick off a few of the more bland patterned cats, but that means that only those with bold patterns will survive and go on to exponentially reproduce again. Putting everything back again at square one.
I also suspect now that most of those reports about coyotes killing cats (or any wildlife killing cats), is just someone covering up their own getting rid of someone’s pet cat. They make a handy excuse for anyone using the SSS Cat Management Program. “Oh, I bet your cat got killed by a coyote / car / dog / raccoon / etc. I’ve seen lots of coyotes / cars / dogs / raccoons / etc.s around lately.”
This is purely a man-made ecological disaster. Don’t expect for nature to help bail you out this time.
I’d like to correct several misleading statements Peter Wolf has made about Nico Dauphine concerning events in Athens, including the court case.
I think a commenter on another blog said it best (responding to P.Wolf):
“SHE was the one that went to the court to stop the death threats and hate blog set against her for the LAWFUL trapping and removal of stray cats in her neighborhood. Remember your main point about TNR is that you can’t get an army of volunteers to do trap and remove. Damn straight. I don’t need death threats for doing legal activities.”
Also, no pets or sociable cats were killed – the Athens Area Humane Society prided themselves on that! All trapping occurred on her own property or at the request of colleagues and she even helped trap and rescue cats at the request of Animal Control! There is absolutely no record of Dauphine trespassing or abusing any cat or any other animal.
I’d also like to voice my agreement with posters Karen and EC. I, too, live with adopted cats, dog, and birds! I love and respect all creatures. But, our domestic friends should not be allowed to roam wherever (for their safety, safety and respect for others, etc).
Poison is a non-target method of killing. I think that Nico Dauphine, as an ecologist with a PhD, would be entirely aware of the implications and would not be dumb enough to use such a method. Indeed, her history in dealing with feral cats is to bring them to the Animal Shelter! She is even on the record stating that she likes cats (they just don’t belong outside)!
Peter has become a troll….drops off a missive and then leaves….never answering the questions that truly challenge him. So…for the record..and this is all in the public record..Nico went to court in Athens to stop death threats and a hate blog leveled against her for the legal trapping and delivery to the Athens Area Humane Society shelter of feral cats in her yard and the yard of friends. BTW, trapping in the yards of friends IS a community service. Cat feeders feed and TNR cats on properties they DO NOT OWN, and in many cases they do this without landowner permission…I have personal and direct knowledge of this. But I digress. Nico knows directly how destructive cats can be on birds and other wildlife so she chose the legal and humane way to deal with this. In Athens you do not have to put up with neighbor’s free-ranging cats, and you have the power to trap and remove cats that are on your land (or the land of friends who have given you permission). So, personally I DO think this is a witch hunt. I think she was removing cat food (with permission of the property manager) and that is what the video captured. No one in court stated that she was seen sprinkling anything on the food…no evidence for her buying any poisons, and testimony from a security expert showing that there are blind spots and someone could have easily put poison there from behind the planter never seen by the camera. No…they (washington humane) knew of Nico’s opposition to TNR and decided to go after her. I’m just sickened that the judge went along with that. What happened to beyond a reasonable doubt? Our our writings now enough to justify our persecution?
Annie and CiaoKitty – thank you for bringing some sanity and explanation to this discussion.
We used to have LOADS of stray cats in our neighborhood, then the coyotes moved in.
At least in our neck of the woods, they did a terrific job of controlling the feral cats. They probably got a few “owned” outdoor cats too, which is ok by me.
Dingo, thanks for the data point. My experience with predator wildlife (though not coyotes) was the exact opposite. Then when I read reports online of coyotes running from cats, it confirmed what I had observed. Lots of variables to consider. The most important one of all, the variable coat-patterns in cats. You might have been lucky having strains of muted-patterned cats in your area. Not so here. The ONLY one was that all-gray one I wrote about. Next time you see any feral cats, take a note of its coloring pattern. Did only the bold-patterned ones survive coyotes to create the next wave of exponentially-breeding feral cats? Something to keep an eye on.
re: This poisoning conviction … knowing what I do about the underhanded and deceitful methods that cat-advocates are willing to stoop to support their cockamamie theories and delusions, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch at all to believe that some cat-advocates framed her. Death-threats are as common as breathing with cat-advocates. Congressman Oda and other lawmakers in Utah have even employed the FBI to investigate all the death-threats that they and their families received from cat-lovers when they tried to change some state laws to deal with feral-cats. Then too, look at the pet-food industry that is behind all the donations to TNR groups. They have a S***LOAD of money to lose if they don’t sell cat-food to all those TNR groups. That’s why they make such hefty donations to TNR causes. The more cats the merrier they say! More money in their pockets. The hell with the environment, diseases, or preserving wildlife, even rare and endangered wildlife — they have more canned tuna-offal to sell to TNR fans.
p.s. If everyone is not aware of it yet, this “Peter Wolf” monicker, a.k.a. Pedro Lobo, also believes that every invasive-species in the world should have the right to destroy every native species in the world. This is even posted on its blog site. It just doesn’t mention this too often because it knows it’s not a very popular concept. If you don’t believe me, just ask it. This is as far as I ever bring any attention to that fool and its fool-followers. Someone that ignorant and demented usually deserves no consideration nor attention whatsoever.
Woodsman wrote about me: “Perhaps a long prison-sentence for you would give you the time you need to think about this more clearly.”
Wow. I’m surprised statements like this are allowed to stand without some commentary by a moderator, at a respectable blog like this.
Ingrid, playing victim, as you so often do to manipulate others, isn’t going to work.
Big difference, Woodsman, from victimization, and hoping for intelligent and civil debate among differing opinions — and for some moderation when someone clearly exceeds the bounds of propriety. The screwy part about your comments is that you appear to be talking to someone else, because none of the things you say are even about me. You’re using the age-old belligerent tactic of not reading nor acknowledging what anyone else says, using, instead your own bull-headed narrative to fill in the blanks. I can’t even count the number of injured birds and wild animals I’ve worked with and rescued over the years. It’s my life passion and my greatest commitment, to the end of my days. It’s a shame you can’t see a theoretical ally when she presents herself. We differ in our methodologies and philosophies, but we both agree that cat-caught birds are a problem. I wonder if you’re as concerned about the lifestyle behaviors you engage in that contribute to untold losses of wild animals each year. Somehow, I suspect not … given that you don’t even have the courage of conviction to use your real name and post these exact same, anonymous ramblings across various blogs and news stories. End of story.
@Woodsman: Ingrid is right – you have stepped over the line several times here. Please treat others who make comments here with the respect that they deserve.
You want to talk about bound of propriety when cat-lovers won’t even stop their cats from defecating and spraying and destroying their neighbor’s property, nor stop them from destroying all the wildlife that they do? Or all the diseases they spread? And YOU want to talk about “bounds of propriety”? I don’t think a person could stoop beneath hypocrisy lower than you’ve just laid yourself. How can you even live with yourself. That’s the real question here.
@Woodsman: You, like a human feral cat, are fast wearing out your welcome.
You can look at it this way …. it took me 2 hunting seasons to get rid of every last stray cat on my land, feral, pet, it mattered not. This was done through relentless vigilance and accuracy. I realized that the ONLY way to prevent this from ever happening again was to apply the very same techniques now to those that had caused this local ecological disaster in the first place. To stop them, for myself and everyone else that has been tormented in life by people just like these mindless TNR advocates. I’m not going away until every last person that advocates the release of invasive-species cats has been stopped from practicing their criminally-irresponsible behavior. You can count on that.
Woodsman HAS BEEN POSTING ON 100’s OF SITES the same exact wording. He’s obviously a landowner with a financial interest in being able to shoot cats on his property. Most of his arguments are distortions of statistics or irrelevant if you check them. Such as links to studies showing that fleas cause disease, etc. So what?
TNR does help reduce cat populations. Those who promote it have the same goal as the landowners like this guy. Cats are just wild animals. The reason they are multiplying on your land is because you upset the ecosystem by killing all the coyotes, wolves, owls, etc. Certain groups are heavily propagandizing to advocate killing of all wild animals in favor of expanding human expansion, profits, etc…Successful TNR threatens their goals.
Shooting cats is not the answer. Some of them are already friendly and have been set free by ignorant people… There’s a lot of youtube videos of happy endings with for feral cats. An example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V0c3shTi-A . If the goal is to eliminate suffering, TNR helps. Also, these programs must be allowed to continue because eventually science can find a more effective way to mass sterilze cats via biotech and perhaps some sort of dna-altering substances which can be put in their food. (and which would only sterilize cats, not other species). Something like that. This would also solve the problem for landowners like the one who’s posting all this over-puffed comments.