Letter to the Editor: A Human Problem

I read a story in the Sept. 23-30 issue of the Pulse about Village of Forestville residents being pestered by stray cats. They were going to explore whether the humane society would charge the village for taking cats that have been trapped. In my opinion, asking volunteers to round up stray cats is cruel, ineffective and an outdated approach. 

This is not a cat-pestering problem, but a human problem. If cats are taken to shelters and cannot be returned to their outdoor homes through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, these cats most likely will be killed. This outcome is not only unacceptable to the increasingly humane values of our society, but it is also incredibly wasteful of taxpayer money and shelter resources. 

TNR is a mainstream approach. Hundreds of communities just like yours have adopted official TNR ordinances and policies, and thousands more conduct grassroots, volunteer-led programs.

TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cats, also known as feral cats. Through this tried-and-true program, cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (to indicate that they have been treated) and returned to their outdoor home.

Studies show that TNR ends the cycle of breeding and stabilizes the cat population. Cats also no longer suffer the stresses of pregnancy and mating behaviors such as yowling and fighting. 

TNR is also proven and sound public policy. TNR reduces shelter intake, the number of cats killed in shelters and calls to animal control, which saves taxpayer dollars. Instead of wasting money on an endless cycle of impounding and killing cats in shelters, animal-control officers and shelter staff can focus on animals in need.

If you would like to get involved, contact your local TNR program. There are TNR programs in northeastern Wisconsin, or start a new one. 

Whether you want to help a cat in your neighborhood through TNR or are willing to volunteer your time or set up a grassroots effort, you can make an incredible difference for our community’s cats and kittens!

Wendy Haske

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin