Letter to the Editor: Solution for Washington Island Cat Situation

I read an article in this week’s edition of the Peninsula Pulse (Aug. 18, 2017) titled “Humane Society Saddled with Abandoned Washington Island Cats.” If you haven’t read the piece, it basically explains how staff from our Door County shelter made a couple of trips to Washington Island to rescue a colony of community cats, as the abandoned home they’ve been living in was actually razed yesterday, Thursday, Aug. 17. A proper and noble effort to be sure. However, some of these kitties may not come out of this alive, and that, my friends, is a problem.

According to the article, 38 cats were brought back to our shelter out on Park Drive. They are to be evaluated by both the executive director of the shelter, Carol Boudreau, and veterinarian Deb Johnson. Along with medical evaluation and whether or not spaying or neutering is yet required, the cats shall also be evaluated regarding behavior. Apparently, some of these cats once had families of their own, but those that are truly feral – in other words, as wild as a fox or any other woodland critter – will not react favorably to human interaction. Ever. To read more about this go to [Sharon Thill’s blog] and bring up “FERAL vs. STRAY,” published Feb. 18 of this year. These cats will be euthanized, as Carol feels, and I quote from the article, “If they are truly feral, no, we can’t rehabilitate them. Despite the fact that we’re a no-kill shelter, there are two reasons we’d euthanize a cat. One is if it presents a danger to itself or the staff…” I don’t have any idea why she thinks a feral cat would present a danger to itself, any more than a raccoon or a turtle would present a danger to itself. A danger to the staff? Of course. These cats are terrified. Regardless of any of this, these animals have every right to live and thrive.

Here is a suggestion for dealing with the kitties that cannot be socialized to humans. I can get four cat carriers into my vehicle. After these felines are assured healthy, spayed/neutered if necessary, and have received their vaccines, I will, on my own nickel, get four of them back to their community on Washington Island. If there is anyone else out there that agrees with me, then call Carol Boudreau and tell her that you disagree with the proposed killing of healthy animals and would also be willing to take some of them back to their home. Or, if you are a farmer and need some barn kitties, here’s your answer.

The killing of community cats is highly frowned upon everywhere. It is an embarrassment to think that the cats in Door County are out of the loop. Carol does not have the right to make this decision all on her own. The shelter belongs to all of us…government supported or not. Rally, people. We live here. These are our cats.

In closing, it will cost a great deal of money to give the cats all that they need – both those that will remain at the shelter and those who we will return to Washington Island. Give what you can. Purina One kibble and Friskies Pate. Thank you.


Sharon Thill

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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