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The Quantico Marine Corps Base is utilizing a catch and kill method to control their current feral cat colonies. Catch and Kill is where the feral cat is trapped and taken to a kill shelter. Nearly all feral cats brought to shelters are killed right away, because while feral cats are the same species as companion cats and are healthy, they are not socialized to humans and cannot be adopted into homes.
Many ferals in these colonies have been spayed/neutered/rabies shots by HSFC (Humane Society of Fairfax County) and mostly through personal funds of the caretakers. Some colonies have been maintained by their caretakers for many years. The caretakers have been threatened and intimidation tactics are being used to force the feeding of these colonies to stop. They have been told they can no longer trap without a license. This is only a tactic to prevent them from saving these ferals while the base command continues to trap and take them to the Prince William Animal Shelter where their fate is sure death. We need to educate the Command and stop this practice of catch and kill. The best of all worlds is to allow these colonies to stay where they are and allow the caretakers and rescue groups involved to continue to support these colonies through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR is a proven method in controlling a feral cat colonies. Visit AlleyCatAllies.org for more information on TNR.
Quantico Marine Corps Base feral cat policy as stated by the Head of Natural Resources. "I am concerned with the adverse impact feral cats have on wildlife and the possible introduction of disease to our domestic pets. However, we do not employ "catch and kill" as our policy to manage the feral cat population on Marine Corps Base Quantico. According to Naval Policy and our Base Pest Management Plan we must control the feral cat population because of it's impact on wildlife, domestic animals and public health. Therefore our policy is to restrict any activity, including feeding, that may sustain or promote the feral cat population on the Base. When required, we do humanely capture feral cats which are taken to the local animal shelter. "
I am appalled to learn that Quantico Marine Base would catch and kill the feral cat colonies on the base grounds, particularly when an effective, humane Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program has been utilized. I ask that you place a moratorium on the feeding ban and cat trapping that has been mandated by the Base Commander, Colonel Charles Dallachie.
Cats have resided on the base for many years. There has been an effective TNR program in place. Using volunteers from the Humane Society of Fairfax County, Feline Network and a few dedicated caretakers, this TNR program trapped, sterilized, and vaccinated many of the cats and returned them to the base where the caretakers provided them with food and water. Because the cats were sterilized and managed, the population was stable. The cats were causing no problems.
The feeding ban, in addition to being exceedingly cruel, can be expected to cause problems. When cats are suddenly cut off from human feeding, they scavenge from garbage and any other source of sustenance, frequently becoming a real nuisance. If the cats are simply removed from the base, other, sexually intact cats will move in from surrounding areas to take advantage of whatever resources (garbage or other) are available. Even subsisting on a meager diet, the cats will reproduce at alarming rates. In addition, a catch-and-kill (or remove) scheme has to operate continuously, at considerable cost, and simply will not work. Cats breed far faster than we can kill them. They reproduce prolifically and will quickly form another colony.
It is apparent that Colonel Charles Dallachie does not understand that he already has at hand the most effective way to reduce the feral cat population, and that he is not considering the cost to the federal, state and county budgets with constant removal of these cats would incur.
This is at time when our Federal Government just approved a $700 billion bail-out to assist the failing economy. And then you have our Government at all levels, local and federal, spending money unnecessarily to catch and kill these defenseless feral cats.
Feral cats exist in every community and they usually live in family groups called colonies. Feral cats are not socialized to humans and are therefore not adoptable. Thousands are routinely killed in animal pounds and shelters each year. If you want to help a feral cat, get educated about a program called Trap-Neuter-Return, a humane method of care that ends the breeding cycle and creates a safety net for the cats and our community. Alley Cat Allies%u2019 web site (www.alleycat.org) is a great source of information on Trap-Neuter-Return and the importance of spay and neuter for all cats.
Millions of cats are being killed. Americans would probably be shocked to learn that being killed in an animal shelter is the number one documented cause of death for cats in the United States. That%u2019s right %u2013 over 70% of cats who enter animal shelters are killed. And nearly all feral cats brought to shelters are killed right away, because while feral cats are the same species as companion cats and are healthy, they are not socialized to humans and cannot be adopted into homes.
It%u2019s time to put an end to animal control practices that rely on catch and kill. Not only is it cruel, it is expensive and our tax and donor dollars are funding it. Catch and kill is also not supported by a majority of Americans, according to an Alley Cat Allies survey conducted by Harris Interactive.
Cities across the country are realizing that rather than endless catch and kill, our tax dollars and donations would be much better spent on Trap-Neuter-Return for outdoor cats and low-cost spay and neuter for all cats. Now it%u2019s our community%u2019s turn. I urge you to visit www.alleycat.org and educate yourself on the true cost of lethal animal control.
It is indisputable that being killed in a shelter is the number one documented cause of death for cats in the United States, due to failing and inhumane animal control policies that rely on catch and kill. It%u2019s bad public policy based on bad science. Trap-Neuter-Return for outdoor cats is a humane method of care and a responsible program. The difference between euthanasia and killing is that millions of cats who die in U.S. animal control pounds and shelters every year are not euthanized, they are killed.
This is unquestionably going to bring adverse publicity to the Marine Corps Command when at this time in our country%u2019s tribulations we should be putting our emphasis on national security and the economy.
Please consider the benefits that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) has already shown for the cats on Quantico Marine Base and require Colonel Charles Dallachie to allow the caretakers to continue to feed these cats and reinstate the previous effective, low-cost, and humane management program that was in place by caring rescue groups.