Sunday, May 8, 2011
Monessen Cat Trapping Draws Protests
via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Last month, residents in Monessen, PA protested a city ordinance that allows free-roaming cats to be impounded and euthanized. The group called Coalition for a Humane Monessen calls the ordinance "inhumane" and wants the city council to consider alternative methods for managing the feral cat population.
The ordinance, which was amended in February 2011, eliminated the required 72 hour holding period and gave the animal control officer vast discretion as to whether the animal should be returned to its owner. If the animal is not returned to the owner, it is given to the Humane Society and "may be disposed of in a humane manner".
Trapping began in March 2011, and according to the city administrator, 34 cats have been caught and killed. Coalition members state that the trapping program began without prior notice, and a number of indoor/outdoor cats and feral cats who were spayed/neutered as part of a trap-neuter-return program (TNR) have been euthanized.
The Fallen Timbers Shelter of Western PA Humane Society has refused to accept any more cats from Monessen and has offered to do a TNR seminar for city officials; however, that offer has not been accepted. The trapping policy is currently on hold until the city is able to find a shelter that is willing to accept the cats.
City officials have found an unlikely ally in the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA does support some TNR programs, but only in situations where the cats are kept in isolated areas and are regularly attended to by people who feed them and care for their medical needs. PETA is working with the city to find a shelter or veterinarian who is willing to euthanize the cats.
Image: Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette