NYC Declares War on Cats... (in memory of Susie and Blackie)
Heads up all of you cat lovers, New York City is getting ready to declare war on cats.
“What!” you say. “Impossible – they would never do that. The City has said they are making wonderful changes to the animal shelter system. Speaker Christine Quinn said so in her special letter to me."
Well I hate to disabuse you of this notion, but you are wrong. Are you willing to sacrifice the lives of these precious beings? If not, then you must stand up to this sinister bill.
Speaker Christine Quinn, who has never been a friend to animals, has said that the new bill, Intro 655, will make “key changes” to the animal shelter system.
Yes, she is definitely right about that -- it will make killing cats so much easier and legal.
The bill states:
d. Every owner of a cat who permits such cat to roam outside the interior of the owner's dwelling shall have such cat sterilized. At the request of employees or authorized agents of the department, owners shall provide proof satisfactory to the department that a cat found roaming has been sterilized.
Christine Quinn states in a recent letter
“[the bill] require owners to spay or neuter any cats that they own that roam freely outdoors;”
OK - so let's discuss this bill and what it really means:
There is no way for anyone to tell if a free-roaming cat belongs to someone, is feral, or abandoned and homeless. Now that Animal Care and Control (ACC) is building up its Field Services, they will have more of a capacity to pick up all free roaming cats and bring them to the ACC where they will most likely be killed. If a cat is deemed sick or dangerous, there is no waiting period for killing.
We are going back to the days of "round 'em up and kill 'em."
While it would be possible to tell if a male cat is neutered, it is not so easy with a female cat unless there is a good vet on premises. But it is highly doubtful they will take the time to check this. And besides, what will they do with the cats who are neutered -- after they pick them up? Will they put them in another “holding area” -- and for what -- to notify whom? No, this clearly does not make sense.
People who allow their cats to go out are irresponsible and/or ignorant of the dangers their cat may encounter. They think that nothing can happen to them. Cats have nine lives. Other sources for free-roamers are food stores that house store cats illegally in violation of Department of Health regulations and generally do not neuter them. It is highly unlikely that any of these cats are micro chipped or wear identification collars to allow them to be returned to their owners.
It is hard to wrap my brain around how those who "own" these cats will be identified and fined from $250 to $500. IF they are identified, rather than to pay this huge fine, they will likely deny the cat is theirs.
Beware the Cat Hater: When cat haters learn of this new law, they will be out in force calling the ACC to pick up these outside cats because of the threat to public health and safety.
It has happened before …. Too many times.
In the early 1990s, I was part of a small group of people who was involved with a rescue of homeless cats on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The Super of one the buildings had two cats whom he loved – Blackie and Susie. His problem was that he let them out to free roam. We warned him about a neighbor who was overheard plotting to trap all the cats and bring them to the ASPCA, which had the animal control contract at the time. I was especially fond of Susie – she was a beautiful Calico Tortie and would always come out to hang out with me when it was my turn to feed the cats. We had a very special relationship. One day, Susie and Blackie went missing. Tom, the Super, did not know where they were. We went to the ASPCA to complain and sure enough, they had been taken there by his neighbor who claimed they were his cats so they could be killed immediately. He was taken at his word. By the time we got there and saw the paper work, it was past 48 hours and the erasures on the intake form now indicated they were "strays." So transparent. So obvious.
Tom was heart broken and I believe it hastened his death, which occurred shortly after.
This same scenario will happen all over the city. It is legalized killing.
Punitive mandatory spay/neuter has been shown not to work. In communities that passed this kind of legislation back in the mid 1990s when it was very popular, the killing rate did not decrease and the adoption rate did not increase. Since it is over 15 years, there has been enough time to gather statistics for analysis.
Instead of a punishing law, as is being proposed, a much better life-affirming solution would be for the City to offer free spay/neuter services to anyone who wants it. Get the word out. Put money into an advertising campaign to encourage people to neuter their cats.
Don't punish the cats. They did nothing wrong!
Don't punish the cats. They did nothing wrong!
That is what is missing from this bill. Staff is being increased to increase the killing, but no life-affirming programs are being added.
There is still a chance to reach out to those council members who have put their names on this bill and to tell them why it is not good.
Because this new bill also repeals the legislation passed in 2000, which mandated shelters in all the boroughs -- this meant to add shelters in Queens and Bronx -- since there were already shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island -- there is no additional space to take the cats (and dogs), which will help to facilitate and increase the killing.
A recent law suit against the city was won with the rescue organization, Stray from the Heart (STFH) as plaintiff. Its purpose was to force the city to comply with the law and build the shelters. Instead the city appealed the decision and a judge found that SFTH had no standing. This is a rescue that has been seriously impacted by the lack of shelter space, particularly in Queens. If they were considered not to have standing, it is hard to imagine who might. Cats and dogs cannot sue.
Please come to the Council hearing on the bill, which will be held Friday, September 9th at 10 AM at 250 Broadway -- 16th floor. Testify as to why this bill is bad. You can also write to the Council Members who have sponsored the bill. They may not realize that there are some very dangerous sections in this bill that they should not be supporting.
Dogs have suffered in New York City with threatened breed bans and a prejudice against pit bulls. Now it is the cats who are being victimized.
Please speak out for the Cats of NYC.
This looks like little Susie. RIP sweet girl and you too precious Blackie. We may not have been able to help you two, but we are sure trying to help the others.