8 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Julianne Westberry, who fake rescued 820+ cats (killing probably 600+ of them) and stole tens of thousands of dollars from well meaning people thinking they were helping these cats get to a safe place was give a plea deal and got off on 4 years probation which will be knocked down to 2 years if she continues mental health treatment. Unfortunately, I don’t think they offer mental health treatment for being a sociopath.

  2. Please excuse this long comment. It’s for cat advocates.

    Continuing research from University of Delaware entomologist and wildlife ecologist Douglas Tallamy provides yet more evidence that it’s the plants we choose for our gardens, not the killing of cats, that will help birds.

    Tallamy and a graduate student just completed a three-year experiment showing that native plants in the home environment support many more insects than non-native plants.


    Tallamy’s research focuses on the key relationship between native insects and native birds. Ninety-six percent of terrestrial bird species need insects to feed their young. Those birds have much less food for their hatchlings now, because so much of our planted landscape is filled with species that insects have trouble adapting to. Despite many, many generations of living with exotic plants (think rhodies from Asia), our native insects just haven’t been able to adjust. The result is that there are far fewer of them, and therefore fewer for birds and their young to eat.

    That’s why Tallamy encourages home gardeners to choose natives, especially trees and shrubs, when they add or replace plants. His amazing book Bringing Nature Home (especially the early chapters called “The Vital New Role of the Suburban Garden” and “No Place to Hide”) makes it all very vivid.

    A lot of cat advocates’ energy focuses on pointing out that slaughtering cats only leads to more cats (true), that the so-called research demonizing cats is poorly designed and filled with assumptions (also true), and that humans’ destruction of the natural environment is what harms birds (obviously, true). What’s left out is what would actually help birds. I’ve commented on Tallamy’s research before in a previous Open Thread, but wanted to come back to it in light of this new research, and in hopes that cat advocates will begin pointing out that anti-cat organizations are ignoring the one thing that would help birds the most.

    Because No Kill leader Nathan Winograd has written so much to challenge the claims of invasion biologists, I want to make it clear that I disagree with conservationists who want to kill plants and animals that weren’t here before the Pilgrims landed. That said, there’s no reason home gardeners can’t choose natives when bringing in new plants. I’ve done it myself over the last couple of seasons, and not only is the native plant palette unexpectedly lovely, but I’ve been rewarded by seeing literally a haze of insects over my mixed border, along with an extraordinary number of insects on bark, leaves, and nearby soil. The experience has totally changed my view of plant selection.

    Just as the No Kill movement relies on the local advocacy of regular pet-owners, birds will be helped most by ordinary people in their own gardens. It seems a nice parallel.

  3. So, I’m a bit late for this to be really timely, but Harley, the 2015 Hero Dog is in D.C. He’s attending a congressional briefing tomorrow (October 21st) about puppy mills and has asked for some time with The Top Dog. Harley is one of my long-time clients (thanks to National Mill Dog Rescue). He’ll be on The Today Show on Monday and the Hero Dog ceremony will air on The Hallmark Channel on October 30th. Good stuff.


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