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Kern Co Pound Increases Killing, Offers Dubious Feral Cat Plan

Kern Co is killing more shelter pets now than in the past 6 years, according to numbers reported in The Bakersfield Californian:

[Kern County Animal Control Director Jen] Woodard reported that the county has had to put down 18,708 dogs and cats so far this fiscal year — or 63.9 percent of the 29,278 dogs and cats taken in since July 1, 2012.
That’s a higher kill percentage than the county’s six-year average of 62.46 percent.

Ms. Woodard also has a plan in place to turn away feral cats beginning July 1.  Kern Co takes in approximately 1200 feral cats a year and kills them.  So in the sense that the pound will be turning these cats away instead of accepting them for killing – it’s good news.  But since TNR is the only humane method proven to reduce feral cat populations over time, I’m concerned about how this plan will be implemented in Kern Co:

[T]he person who brings the cat in will be given a voucher or some other resource to spay or neuter the animal and will be encouraged to release it where it was picked up.

If this is the plan, I don’t see it as resulting in the humane reduction of the feral cat population over time.  It requires the trapper, who may consider the cat a nuisance animal whom he doesn’t want around, to schedule an appointment for surgery, keep and care for the cat until the appointment day arrives, drive the cat to the clinic, pick the cat up after recovery and release him where trapped.  While it’s certainly possible that some people might complete these tasks to help a feral cat, I think the more likely scenario is people opening the trap door in the shelter parking lot after being turned away.  Or worse.

I wonder if Kern Co couldn’t take on the responsibility for neutering and returning feral cats to make sure it’s done – and done humanely.  But they would need to make cats’ and dogs’ right to live their priority.  And based upon the horrifying number of shelter animals being killed in Kern Co this year, that doesn’t seem likely under current management.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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