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NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!

 
Insane!
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03/14/2010 12:03 PM
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NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
Animal groups: Could ruling lead to hunters shooting cats?

The cat: Common, popular house pet or exotic, dangerous animal?

A number of animal activists have contacted state officials in an effort to head off a potential reclassification of feral cats, which could end the growing number of programs that trap, neuter and return them back into neighborhoods or the wild, and allow them to be hunted.

The state Fish and Game Council has condemned the idea of leaving cats in the wild and now another committee that reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection is studying the issue of TNR programs.

"Nothing has happened or been proposed so far,'' said Michelle Lerner, who works with the Animal Protection League of New Jersey and helped start a TNR program in Mount Olive last summer. "We are trying to work with state agencies to make sure this ridiculous proposal does not see the light of day.''

In a letter sent earlier this month to DEP officials, the APL and seven other groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, protested any effort to reclassify cats.

Such a reclassification could bring an end to TNR programs like those in Morristown, Mount Olive, Netcong, Boonton and Randolph, and could allow hunters to shoot cats.

Some members of the state Fish and Game Council have brought up the issue of feral cats at several meetings, dating back to May 2007, when the council voted unanimously on a resolution stating that feral cats do not belong in the wild.

Council member Leonard Wolgast was the sponsor of the resolution and has brought the issue of feral cats up at several council meetings. Some animal activists have questioned whether he should be allowed to participate in such discussions at all because he is listed as owner of the East Brunswick property where Blumig Kennel, which they say is owned and operated by his wife's family, is located. That kennel contracts with several communities in Central Jersey to pick up and euthanize cats.

Wolgast, of Somerset, did not return calls for comment.

Jeannette Vreeland, acting chair of the Fish and Game Council, asked in 2007 if feral cats could be added to the list of animals that could be hunted, according to council meeting minutes. This week she defended the 2007 resolution.

"When a cat is left to roam outside the house it becomes a character who kills birds and small mammals -- rabbits, chipmunks,'' she said on Thursday. "It's really not a natural, native animal. They are exotic and not meant to be outdoors.''

Assistant DEP Commissioner Amy Cradic said this week she could not comment on the specifics of the animal groups' concerns because she had just received their letter.

"We did receive a letter from multiple groups asking for a meeting and we are working to set that up,'' Cradic said on Friday.

No action by the council is expected before a recommendation from an ad hoc committee of the DEP's Endangered Nongame Species Advisory Committee. That group, of which council meeting minutes indicate Wolgast is a member, is looking more closely at TNR programs and is supposed to recommend whether these should be supported or opposed. Its next meeting is in April.

The Fish and Game Council makes recommendations to the DEP and earlier this week recommended a bear hunt be held in the state.

TNR programs, bolstered by the 2004 report of the New Jersey Animal Welfare Task Force, have a lot of support.

Steve Austin, Boonton's Health Administrator, said Boonton's TNR not only works, but has saved the town money.

"Over the past five years, we've been able to save the town $19,000,'' Austin said, noting the cost to trap, hold for seven days, then euthanize a cat is $95. Often, he had neither the manpower nor the money to do that. Now the Parsippany Animal Support Society uses grant money to conduct the TNR program in Boonton.

"It should be our choice. If they are going to make TNR illegal, it's going to cost us a lot of money,'' Austin said.

In Mount Olive, the cost to euthanize a cat is $146, said Lerner of the Animal Protection League. Her group's local efforts have trapped about 90 feral cats and only released about 25 back into the township, with the rest being adopted. She estimates that since August, that has saved Mount Olive about $14,000.

But David Blumig, East Brunswick's animal control officer, wrote a letter to the Mount Olive Council as it was considering the issue, saying TNR does not work.

"One of the claims made by some groups is that the colonies die out. That never happens,'' wrote Blumig. "And eventually, when the money and volunteers become unavailable to support the program, you, as the governing body, will be asked to take over.''

However, Katharine Payne, president and founder of a group called Smitten by Kittens, said Morristown's program has been going strong for five years and is a success.

Payne said her group has trapped and fixed 948 cats and reduced the overall feral cat population in Morristown by more than three quarters. When the group started, as many as 30 cats a year were being brought to the shelter; last year, only one went there.

"So there are 800 cats not on the street caterwauling at night, defecating on laws, males spraying,'' Payne said. "Best of all, there are no more kittens out there suffering.''

TNR groups usually move the cats and then set up feeding stations and then manage the colony.

Various estimates put the number of stray and feral cats nationwide from 13 million to 100 million. Some say that leaving feral cats in the wild puts birds and other wildlife at risk.

"One billion songbirds, that's the number (feral cats) take in a year's time,'' said
Vreeland. "That's very much our concern. Everyone loves songbirds.''

Animal activists dispute that number and the American Bird Conservancy puts it at half that. But they don't deny that cats do kill birds. The debate is over the best way to deal with feral cats.

"They can have rabies, they flood shelters with babies, there are smells and odors, they do kill wildlife, There are tons of consequences,'' said Bryan Kortis, executive director of the New York-based group Neighborhood Cats. "So how do we reduce their numbers?'' He said such strategies as euthanasia alone and banning the feeding of wild cats has not worked. But education programs along with TNR have proven very successful over time, he said.

In New Jersey, the animal activists, wildlife supporters and most governmental agencies have been working together on solutions.

"The Fish and Game Council is really an aberration,'' Kortis said. "They are trying to derail these efforts. Obviously they stand on extremely tenuous legal grounds.''

The activists' letter states that because the state Legislature has deemed cats to be companion, domestic animals, the Fish and Game Council is prohibited from reclassifying or regulating them.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services has jurisdiction over animal control issues, including stray cats. It has not taken a position on TNR but does talk about managed cat colonies as one solution.

The Sheriffs' Association of New Jersey discussed the issue this week and plans to join the animal activists in opposing any reclassification of cats that would allow them to be hunted and is asking Wolgast to recuse himself from the issue.

The groups say the Fish and Game Council should back off and not try to fix what isn't broken.

"We've seen TNR reduce feral cat numbers and reduce the numbers of complaints,'' Lerner said. "This is really inappropriate for the council.''

[link to www.dailyrecord.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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03/14/2010 12:22 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
My question is what happens if you have outdoor cats in a hunting area? Hunters can call them strays and shoot them?

This is nuts and must be stopped.
DoUCDem2?

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03/14/2010 12:24 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
They'll start with the cats, then stray dogs, then old people wandering around, then folks who've lost their homes in this economy.

It's to eliminate those who can't fight the government, like unborn babies. " I thought that was about eliminating those that we don't want..." as Ruth "Buzzy" Ginzberg, Supreme Court Justice, said of the Roe/Wade decision.

I love cats and think that we should improve spay and nueter programs. Over time this has been helping. Cats are incredible creatures, it allows us to be in touch with a part of nature that is still wild. They still retain that wildness to a degree and that is a good thing, not bad.

Last Edited by DoUCDem2? on 03/14/2010 12:26 PM
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds.
Samuel Adams
Drakensang

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03/14/2010 12:28 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
catdance

"Got my ticket! Gonna catch
the midnight train to Georgia!"
DoUCDem2?

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03/14/2010 12:30 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
My question is what happens if you have outdoor cats in a hunting area? Hunters can call them strays and shoot them?

This is nuts and must be stopped.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 888780

Well, let's shoot the hunters' dogs, they have teeth and can be dangerous as well. I wonder how they'd feel about that?

Or, maybe just equip the cats for a fair fight.

angry

Last Edited by DoUCDem2? on 03/14/2010 12:31 PM
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds.
Samuel Adams
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03/14/2010 12:34 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
This is outrageous and it will be the beginning of a tsunami of "outrageous" things to come! Give an inch and they'll take a mile. Animal rights activists better stay on top of this one. Makes ya also wonder if they foresee a shortage of food in the future and this will help "feed" the hungry. Dunno...........
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2010 12:36 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
My question is what happens if you have outdoor cats in a hunting area? Hunters can call them strays and shoot them?

This is nuts and must be stopped.

Well, let's shoot the hunters' dogs, they have teeth and can be dangerous as well. I wonder how they'd feel about that?

Or, maybe just equip the cats for a fair fight.

angry
 Quoting: DoUCDem2?


What about the hunters? running around with guns trying to kill your cat?

violence is not the answer here. Excusing violence because of potential LAZINESS is, perhaps, the dumbest argument for killing something I have ever heard!

Even the trophy hunter gains something from the experience. (A head for a wall?) But cat killers? What do they get? Cat fur coats?
Drakensang

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03/14/2010 12:58 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
Even the trophy hunter gains something from the experience. (A head for a wall?)

But cat killers? What do they get? Cat fur coats?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 497893


kim jong

"Stir-fry kitty
and cat cakes!"
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2010 01:02 PM
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Re: NJ trying to reclassify CATS as "dangerous animals" so hunters can SHOOT them!
Cat....the other white meet.

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