Balto. Co. policy leads to unnecessary euthanasia

May 10, 2010

After reading the "Cat caretakers work under the radar" (May 10) I am incensed. As a resident of Baltimore County, I'm also embarrassed and disappointed in my representatives. Not only do they appear to condone needless euthanizing of animals but they are willing to waste taxpayer dollars in order to do so. Trap-neuter-return programs have already prevented the births of thousands of kittens, most of which would have been destroyed at taxpayer and county expense in the Baltimore County shelter.

My neighbors and I participate in a TNR program. The cat colony in our area was established years ago when a former resident started feeding (but not neutering) strays. When my in-laws lived next to the cat colony, they called animal control numerous times and had at least 25 cats taken to the pound. My in-laws moved away a few years ago, but the cat colony still exists — proof of the "vacuum effect" described in the article.

So far, my group has trapped, neutered and returned 6 female cats and 3 males. This year, there is only one kitten in the colony, as compared to last spring when there were at least 6. We hope that our efforts will eventually lead to a stabilized population that decreases naturally throughout the years.

Some citizens have expressed concern about the colonized cats killing native birds. Perhaps these people should go door-to-door in the neighborhoods to convince cat owners to keep their pets inside their homes. This is a larger problem than TNR, in my opinion. In my area of Southwest Baltimore County, residents let their cats and dogs run free.

I feed wild birds, and have noticed that, at least in my yard, the TNR cats don't prey on the birds much. Pregnant female cats seem to be the worst offenders; having them spayed means no more kittens and less desperate hunting in order to keep up their strength to nurse. If I happen to trap a neighbor's cat along with a feral, I take it in to the TNR clinic. My feeling is that if the neighbor is irresponsible enough to let his/her cat roam outside, I will have it vaccinated and neutered so that it doesn't become a community nuisance.

I sincerely hope that the Baltimore County government will reconsider and get on board with Baltimore City in adopting the legalization and implementation of trap-neuter-return.

Cecilia Strakna, Halethorpe

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