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Council balks at controversial cat rules

New city ordinance pits cat rescue groups against Audubon Society

With weeks of controversy over new cat license requirements now resolved, you might think that a new city animal control ordinance would have passed without a hitch at Tuesday's City Council meeting. That wasn't the case.

The City Council approved a new animal control ordinance at its April 1 meeting that almost included new laws against feeding and releasing stray cats on public and private property north of Highway 101, where council members say feral cats could easily wipe out the few remaining burrowing owls at Shoreline Park. North Bayshore is also home to a large mobile home park and -- if the "Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View" is successful in changing city zoning, North Bayshore may be the possible future site of a new residential neighborhood intended for area's growing population of Google employees.

Heavily lobbied before the meeting began, council member Mike Kasperzak said council members were being "whipsawed" between cat rescue groups and bird habitat preservationists with the Audubon Society, whom he characterized as wanting the council to "come down hard" on stray cats. Audubon members criticized the "trap, neuter and release" (TNR) programs being used to reduce feral cat populations without euthanasia, including the city animal control provider's own "Feral Freedom" program, saying they allow cats to be a major threat to young birds, some species of which are increasingly rare.

After three hours of discussion, the council voted 6-1 to pass the animal control ordinance with several portions removed that would have prohibited trap, neuter and release activities in North Bayshore -- along with the feeding that tends to go with it -- for what the cat advocates called "community cats" and "homeless cats." Council member John Inks was opposed.

Hoping to find a compromise solution, council members directed city staff to assemble a "stakeholder group" to come up with an acceptable way to manage feral cats, and to figure out the locations and numbers of feral cats in the city. Council member Jac Siegel suggested a name, inspired by such a group in Hawaii: the "Mountain View Coalition for the Protection of Cats and Wildlife."

It was revealed at the meeting that Google employees have been running their own feral cat program near Google headquarters, which is located near the edge of Shoreline Park and Stevens Creek, where the Santa Clara Valley Water District prohibits cats to be released, said Brian Schmidt, a Water District board member.

"The information I have from Google is that there were about 170 cats they provided services for, over a several-year period, I believe," said Dan Soszynski , executive director of Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority. He added that SVACA receives 150 cats a year from Mountain View, about a dozen annually from the Shoreline Park area, where other cat rescue groups also service an unknown number of cats.

Cat rescue groups warned that ending TNR programs would mean trapping and killing cats, which they claim is not effective because cats learn to avoid such traps if it means cats disappear. And since cats are territorial, they would be replaced by other cats in a "vacuum effect." Cat rescue groups, the Palo Alto Humane Society and the city's own contractor, Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority, all testified to the effectiveness of TNR programs in reducing local stray cat populations.

"The best we can do is manage the population," said a representative of Mountain View's Fat Cat Rescue. "The volunteers will not be doing the trapping and you will have an explosion of the problem and it will backfire." He asked the council to "make it easier for people to do the right thing."

Audubon Society members had a different opinion, saying that bird hunting was an "instinct" for cats, which should be trapped and removed from North Bayshore. Soszynski said SVACA has been able to do so because of their relatively small numbers, though relocating cats is usually a major challenge if no one wants to adopt them. Cat advocates said relocated cats end up fighting for territory with other cats or are killed in shelters. Soszynski said 16 percent of SVACA's cats had to be euthanized in 2013.

"There are dozens of stray cats in North Bayshore, I've seen a lot of them," said Shani Kleinhaus, environmental advocate for the Audubon Society. "There are many cats that go into the creek corridors and Shoreline Park. They usually catch the most vulnerable, the nestlings, the fledglings."

Local Audubon chapter director Stephanie Ellis said "studies have shown cats kill millions a birds a year. Cats are not native species and they are not in decline however they are putting birds at risk that are in decline."

"If you remove cats the argument is more will move in," Ellis said, "but feeding areas and cat colonies are actually attractive to other cats because of pheromones (and mating behavior)."

City officials said that only two burrowing owls have been killed by predators in recent years, which include hawks and other raptors, but that it wasn't possible to tell what sort of predator was responsible for the deaths.

At one point during the meeting, it appeared that council members could have put put the entire ordinance on hold over the issue.

"There's really no urgency in passing this," said council member Ronit Bryant. "There's a lot of completely contradictory information. We truly have no information. I don't feel comfortable that we know what we are doing."

Ordinance approved

Though it was overshadowed by the stray cat issue and received little discussion, the council approved an entire overhaul of the city's animal control ordinance, which was first presented to the council a year ago. That was when residents overwhelmingly rejected a proposed requirement that cats be licensed and vaccinated. That stipulation was removed from the ordinance approved Tuesday night. Dogs do have to vaccinated and licensed under the new ordinance.

Among its many provisions is a rule that households be allowed a total of only four dogs and cats, defines "adequate exercise" for animals, prohibits regular use of chain collars for dogs, restricts all but service dogs from entering restaurants, restricts pets from public properties except parks, open spaces and sidewalks, where council members added an exception to allow owners to feed their own animals.

There are also new provisions allowing beekeeping in backyards, the only part of the ordinance that council members approved last year.

Comments

Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Gemello
on Apr 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I was really hoping this was an April Fools prank when it was published yesterday.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

It is the irresponsible people who do not have their cats spayed or neutered and those that abandon their pets that cause the problem.

Cats do cat things and birds do bird things. Cats should not be killed just because they do what is natural.


Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I highly recommend that people watch the video from this Council session once it becomes available. I was very surprised at all the back and forth as well as by the fact that after a year of work on this issue, there was no scientific data available to make an informed decision on some of the more controversial elements of this ordinance.

In addition to the Feral cats issue, there were several other parts of the ordinance that I had questions on that were not answered during the discussion such as:

How are service animals identified?
What options do business owners have to request that those with non-service animals leave food service establishments? (I read recently that anyone can claim that their animal is a service animal whether it is or not and that business owners are forbidden to ask for proof)

Section 5.11 A1 seems to indicate that people are no longer allowed to walk their dogs for the purposes of letting them relieve themselves in their neighbors yards. How will that be enforced? What are the penalties? Can a violation be reported or does it have to be witnessed by an officer?

It was also brought up that only one to two owls have been killed in Shoreline Park over a 5 year period, and that it was not known whether the owls were killed by feral cats or other predators. Shouldn't we have a definite answer to questions like this before making policy?

Near the end of the debate, it seemed that Ronit Bryant's motion to table the ordinance until it could be studied more fully, would win out; but then just before the vote, Mayor Clark kept raising additional issues and managed to cobble together a large enough coalition to pass the ordinance.

In my opinion, this was a mistake. I would much rather have seen a clean and clear ordinance go through based on having all the facts. As Ronit said, there was no urgency to pass this, so why couldn't it have waited another year?

The bottom line in my opinion is that any time an ordinance is passed that puts restrictions on people, places, pets, or businesses, we should make sure that we all know exactly what it does and why. It is better to get it done right, than to do it quick and then have to deal with unintended and unnecessary consequences.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link (candidate website)
info@electneal.org


Posted by Hmm, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm

What to do with the overpopulation of feral cats. They are overly productive in producing babies. And to top things off they are smart. Sounds very similar to the humans race.

Excellent comment Neal!!!! You have my vote for council!!!


Posted by Wow, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Wow council must make you feel good to kill innocent animals. Hawks fly into my back yard and take little birds right off my water fountain. Can I kill them? Or maybe those killers are protected?


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Yes, we could have frittered away millions on endless studies which may or may not give any real usable data. Just because we throw money at an issue does not guarantee iron glad data to act on. I'm glad they will not ban the WORKING trap/neuter/release program.


Posted by reader, a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

"There are also new provisions allowing beekeeping in backyards, the only part of the ordinance that council members approved last year."

And what ARE these new provisions? And what was approved last year? How does saying that they did something, but not explaining what it was that they did, educate readers of the Voice?! There are lots of people with backyard bees and it would be helpful to know what the council said about bees.


Posted by George, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Only in MtnView on April Fools day would our City Fathers (and Muthers) spend three hours debating the cat problems.. EGADS... and they get their pay for doing this ??
Leave the damn cats alone. We have real issues to debate, decide and discuss.
I wonder if Sherwood Forest had this problem... and what did the King , the Shire Reeve (later, the Sheriff) do about the kingdom being overrun with Cats having fun.
How absolutely silly... to cause the friction between the do gooders and the kill em group.

Vote NO on all of them... pray (but don't expect) a better group of "leaders" next time.


Posted by Denise, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm

If members of the Audubon Society see roaming, unfixed cats out there with no distinguishable TNR 'managed cat' EAR TIP, then why don't they help trap them, so they can get fixed? They are UNWILLING to be a part of the solution. Just want to create retroric, and fear, with unsupported information (no actual EVIDENCE of a TNR managed colony cat killing an owl). Why would a cat do that anyway? By nature, cats are pretty lazy..so once they are fixed and feed regularly, most don't bother to hunt. They just eat, and sleep. And no, sorry. Once fixed, they do not get "attracted" to other cats due to pheromones. The just eat and sleep, and don't even think about hunting and breeding anymore, for the most part. Get your facts straight at least ,Audubon, and provide statistically, locally-relevant information, like the fact that TNR has REDUCED the local outdoor cat poplation over the last 2 years by a whopping 25%. Now those are real facts! And fewer cats, and a reduction of litters of kittens born, helps the shelter, the community, the cats, the birds, AND it saves the taxpayers money. TNR does all that! Next time a Audubon member sees a free-roaming unfixed cat out there, I sincerely hope they grab a trap and trap it for fixing!. Take action and DO SOMETHING to be a part of the SOLUTION. Rather than just talk, and slam the folks out there that ARE taking action TO LOWER the cat population, and protect the owls.


Posted by CatMom, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Amen Denise!!! You've got it nailed!


Posted by Casey, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Thanks Denise, for supporting your argument with actual facts. How refreshing (-: What gets lost sometimes is that people who love cats also can love birds and anyone I know who does rescue or Trap-Neuter-Return does so at considerable time and personal expense to REDUCE the number of homeless cats!! Why wouldn't that make Audubon thrilled to pieces? Fixing cats, ALL cats, means fewer cats. Kind of a "duh." And was there any mention of the greatest predator to birds and wildlife at this meeting? Sorry, but it is not cats... it's humans )-:


Posted by endTNR, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm

endTNR is a registered user.

Why would a cat do that? Because the hunting instinct is separate from the urge to eat. Well fed cats are NO less motivated to hunt.

Gotta love it. TNR groupies acting like ecologists.

What a travesty to allow the cats to free roam to continue to decimate wildlife, spread diseases, infringe on property rights, and put themselves at risk.

All for an ineffective and misguided method.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 3, 2014 at 12:22 am

Ahhh!!! So the cat rescue groups are to be trusted with the truth and wildlife organizations with their biologists should not be?

Cats are non-native predators that are constantly being releases by irresponsible humans. Absolutely ridiculous to let them run around, especially in wildlife refuges. If cat licensing was enforced, then there would be fewer strays to begin with!

Why is our council so afraid of the cat mafia?


Posted by Steve, a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 3, 2014 at 6:55 am

"studies have shown cats kill millions a birds a year."


Hmmm. I wonder how many bird deaths humans are responsible for every year? Between hunting, pollution, loss of habitat and massive food-production slaughtering, I think we should leave the darn cats alone for now and look to ourselves first. Birds can fly away elsewhere. Cats cannot, and they have to eat too.


Posted by Tissue Box, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

This issue has been put to rest for now. TNR will continue and continue its trend of cat population reductions. All that's left is the complaining from the losing side as we move to the next issue. As time goes by more measurable success will be noted and the opposition will be forced the program worked.


Posted by endTNR, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2014 at 11:39 am

endTNR is a registered user.

Humans let their pet cats roam. Humans dump unwanted animals. Humans re-abandon cats through TNR.

This HUMAN problem is the single greatest direct cause of mortality for wild birds according to Loss et al 2013.

Wild animals - they are the ones who have lost. Such a shame.


Posted by GDM, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I'm just back from Istanbul, Turkey where you see feral cats everywhere you look. Is this what we want in Mountain View?

There is no shortage of cats. Euthanize the feral cats you catch is my view.


Posted by Can't have it both ways!, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

They keep arguing that cats are "too smart" to enter traps after they see other cats caught for killing, yet somehow the same cats aren't "too smart" to enter traps after they see other cats caught for neutering. More rhetoric, portrayed by the faithful as "evidence."

If people are so sentimental about even feral cats, why don't they ADOPT them personally, or else stop trying to have it both ways! Stop making excuses, euphemisms, and rationalizations for leaving these animals loose.


Posted by Can't have it both ways!, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

"Next time a Audubon member sees a free-roaming unfixed cat out there, I sincerely hope they grab a trap and trap it for fixing!"

Since such a sighting means "TNR" failed in that case, it would make sense for the Audubon member to trap the feral cat and have it killed.


Posted by Janipurr, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Cats have been domesticated and have hung around humans between 9,000 and 11,000 years. If they were the primary cause of bird population reduction, don't you think we would have seen that before now? Everywhere humans have gone, so have domestic cats, but it's only in the last several decades that we have seen significant reduction in multiple species of birds. I suspect the cause are humans--humans polluting the environment, humans decimating ecosystems, humans killing birds either directly or indirectly. How about Audobon doing a study of that, instead.

Also, we humans have been catching and killing cats for over a century now--there are still plenty of cats. Is that not enough evidence that catch and kill does NOT work? Yet we have plenty of evidence that TNR IS effective at ultimately reducing feral cat populations. It's time to reject outright slaughter and move to more effective solutions, like TNR.


Posted by TNR Volunteer, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

TNR is a program that takes time, it is not a one-time "event". So seeing an un-tipped cat is not real evidence that the program has failed. You can be part of the solution by letting us know where cats are that still need to be fixed. You can request trapping help through catcenter.org, a volunteer-run clearing house for all of Santa Clara County. Requests are dispatched to the nearest trappers/rescuers.

Some cats are "trap smart" and it can take weeks, occasionally months, to nab a particularly cautious one. We have different strategies for these cats and, like The Mounties, we don't give up and almost always get our "man" eventually.

The tremendous amount of personal time and money volunteers invest to make TNR work is a actually a service to you, our neighbors; this is not your tax dollars at work. So please save the snide remarks for people who are not genuinely trying their level best to make our community a better place for everyone.


Posted by Reasonable, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Cats are killing all of the birds because they have no predators in urban areas. When is the last time you saw a coyote in MV? It is absolutely ridiculous to continue dumping cats in shoreline park. Cat TNR's keep saying that is the best way to manage the populations. This is not true. The best way is to trap and then euthanize them.

TNR's say that if you keep a feral population in an area, that they will become territorial and push back cats coming in from other areas. That may be true, but what happens to the invading cats? They go back to where they were or on to another area! There's no real feral cat population reduction...they just get pushed away 'out-of-sight...out-of-mind' And what do they eat? Birds, birds and more birds.

Sorry TNR Volunteers..it's great that YOU enjoy YOUR hobby, but don't push it on us saying that you are performing a civic duty.


Posted by RabidCats, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

From the ASPCA:

"Which Cats Are Most at Risk For Getting Rabies?

Unvaccinated cats who are allowed to roam outdoors are at the highest risk for rabies infection. Outdoor cats may, in the course of daily life, get into a fight with an infected wild animal or an infected stray dog or cat. And although widespread vaccination programs have helped to control rabies in dogs, feral cat populations remain a reservoir host for the rabies virus."

We could actually eradicate rabies in this country, if the cat-people wouldn't insist on their right to let their cats roam around outdoors, without identification and without vaccination. Then, we have the TNR's who object to any trapping or shooting of feral cats. Result-- this country has one of the highest populations of rabid animals in the industrialized world.

End TNR. Institute mandatory cat licensing and vaccination.


Posted by Can't have it both ways!, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Well said, RabidCats.

Daniel DeBolt could have summarized the past year's history more accurately in the article. In September, he reported that over half of US animal-control service veterinary experts surveyed _require_ rabies vaccinations for _all_ cats; nearly all these experts at least recommend such vaccination. In Mountain View, substantial community support surfaced in last Summer's survey for at least vaccinating "outdoor" cats (a more moderate measure even than the US animal-control experts recommend), but the Council has not yet acted to do so.

In this week's Council action, staff were directed to further investigate "an acceptable way to manage feral cats."

These issues are far from settled. We have new City Council members coming in next Fall. Hopefully with the wisdom to listen to objective experts, not just cat hoarders who use spin euphemisms like "community cats" and "homeless cats."

As one of the comments pointed out in the other (pre-Council-meeting) article, even PETA opposes "TNR."


Posted by endTNR, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm

endTNR is a registered user.

1. Cats have been around for thousands of years, but in the past several decades, the population exploded and birds have precipitously declined due to a variety of human caused factors, cats included. There is a cumulative effect.

2. Hey Volunteer, I didn't sign up for that 'service' - if some cat hobbyist sets up shop next to my home, there goes the property. Cats will always be around my home - sterilized or not, maiming wildlife in MY yard, they still poop, they still spread disease, they still irritate the living heck out of MY indoor cats, and they still damage property. And the food will simply draw in rabies vector species and even more cats. What the freak kind of service is that?

I say, every single council person that voted for this ridiculousness that exempts TNR needs to live next door to a 'managed' cat colony. Shame, shame, shame on them.

3. Web Link


Posted by CheriM, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Sorry to be so wordy, but I wanted to post part of a sample letter Ally Cat Rescue has on their website advocating TNR. It has some good information.

The preferred non-lethal method of controlling feral or stray cats is by implementing a trap-neuter-return program. In practicing TNR, cats are caught by humane traps, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and returned to the site. Kittens/cats that are friendly or can be socialized should be placed into an adoption program to find permanent homes. Cat rescue organizations, such as Alley Cat Rescue, have over 30 years of experience working with feral cats, which has taught us that TNR immediately reduces colonies, because all kittens and tame cats are removed. Those who are truly "feral" should be returned to the site, where supervised, long-term care is ensured by dedicated volunteers.
The benefits of TNR are numerous. It stabilizes populations at manageable levels, by stopping the reproductive cycle. Over time, the natural cycle of attrition will maintain the stable numbers and any new cats to the colony will be sterilized. Sterilizing eliminates "annoying" mating behaviors, such as fighting, yowling, and "spraying." TNR is also more effective/less costly than repeated eradication attempts. Complete eradication attempts fail and in some cases are counterproductive because they cause a vacuum effect. Biologist Roger Tabor, explains that removing cats all together will allow for more cats to quickly fill in the vacant space. However, "if a colony is neutered and returned to its area it will continue to hold the location and keep other cats out by its presence." In addition, in numerous cases when feral cats are removed from an area, the rodent populations explode, causing further problems. In September 2008, Cape May removed feral cats and the skunk population took over, and in the news now, an Australian island removed feral cats and now the rabbit population is destroying vegetation. Lastly, TNR is humane to the animals and fosters compassion within the community.
Also, cats that have been trapped and evaluated by a veterinarian are healthier and are less likely to transmit diseases (to other cats and to humans). Those that have been spayed (females) are less susceptible to uterine, ovarian, or mammary cancer, and males that are neutered are less likely to get testicular tumors or have prostate problems. In addition, cats that are "fixed" tend to be less aggressive (fight less, which decreases disease transmission) and wander less (they will keep other cats from joining the colony and it makes managing them easier). Lastly, a three-year rabies vaccine is administered; which in studies have shown to be effective for longer than three years. Vaccinated cats will also provide a buffer zone between wildlife and humans.
Yes, various options exist; however, TNR makes the most sense. The trap and kill method has been proven not to work, as I explained above, and another approach to the problem is to pass ordinances prohibiting people from feeding stray/feral cats. At first thought the idea of such an ordinance may seem to make sense; however, this step may only heighten the problem rather than help. The logic behind such bans is that if there is no food available, the cats will go away. This is not true. "Starving out" cats will only make the situation worse for the community and for the cats. Plus, it will put those individuals willing to take care of and give homes to stray/feral cats under fire, when all they are trying to do is help the animals. Instead of blaming the feeders and criminalizing their actions, we should encourage their acts of compassion by assisting them with the resources and information available to care for and sterilize the animals. After all, it is not necessarily their fault the cats are homeless; they are just trying to be upstanding citizens, by taking it upon themselves to help the animals.
Simply prohibiting individuals from feeding strays/ferals will not solve the problem. Where there is a large number of people living (food source), there will be cats. And if individuals continue not to spay/neuter their pets, allowing them to reproduce, there will be stray/feral animals. Ultimately, we all need to work together, if we are to control the pet overpopulation. The current trend of scapegoating cats is very dangerous, for it fosters cruelty to animals, and the time spent placing blame is only time wasted. Plus, non-lethal methods for controlling their populations exist and should be advocated by all who are trying to instill a more compassionate ethic towards the earth and all its inhabitants.


Posted by endTNR, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm

endTNR is a registered user.

Preferred by whom? Not everyone wants to live next door to a colony of cats!

Recent paper by Lepcyzk and Lohr. Least preferred method out of seven? TNR. TNR was less favored than lethal methods.

Web Link

And this is actual research, unlike TNR propaganda.

Colonies rarely stabilize. Tame cats are not necessarily removed. Nuisances are not abated. And the vacuum effect is hogwash. Immigration also happens in 'managed' colonies.

Those skunks are out of control in their own population due to all the cat feeding stations.

This part:

"Also, cats that have been trapped and evaluated by a veterinarian are healthier and are less likely to transmit diseases (to other cats and to humans)."

Big fat freaking lie. These folks pull stuff out of their butts. How about substantiating this with ONE peer reviewed paper?

So, they are less likely to transmit rabies? Not so according to Roebling et al 2013, which has four authors from the CDC.

How about toxoplasmosis? Viral diseases? Parasitic diseases? Bacterial? Fatal feline diseases to other cats and native bobcats and panthers?

Pulled. Out. Of. Butt.

Where is the compassion for wildlife?

You want to work together? You want a compromise? Not happy about euthanasia? Then FENCE IN the cats.

Take real responsibility for these animals without harming wildlife and endangering public health.

Web Link



Posted by More TNR, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 5, 2014 at 6:41 am

Wasted efforts, TNR is continuing and will continue.
Good work.


Posted by Elaine, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2014 at 11:06 am

I agree with Ronit Bryant...not sure why this issue is a priority for the Council. It certainly isn't a priority for me or any of my neighbors. Wonder how it got on their agenda?

Maybe we could redirect the Council's attention to bike and pedestrian safety. We could start improving infrastructure now, to have a real impact on safety. THAT I'm interested in. THAT would be so useful - preventing actual human deaths in Mountain View.

Make bike/ped infrastructure improvements the Council's top priority, right now.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Castro City
on Apr 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I am disappointed. When song birds decreased, predation was considered the cause. Studies showed that instead it was habitat destruction. Basically cutting down trees to build housing. The Audubon Society should remember this study. I have to wonder if building housing for Google employees would, perhaps, disturb the burrowing owls more that the cats have (1 or 2 birds in 5 years and it may not have been cats.) I wonder why the well respected Audubon Society has nothing to say about the effect of housing development on burrowing owls.


Posted by Garrett83, a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Garrett83 is a registered user.

Habitat restoration or in this case. Less front yard landscaping, miles of office park lawns, more native plants.

Does Google want to be a landlord or even deal with the headache of dealing with a property company.

No Dogs, no cats, no nighttime activity, limits to weekend activity, 15,000 or even 7000 residents will need services. Truck traffic, pizza deliveries, visitors, and pet visitors. Children?

Office workers come to work, spend time working, lunch, work, maybe meetings, some outdoor.activity and then go home.

7000+ people running in and out 24/7.




Posted by endTNR, a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

endTNR is a registered user.

Not instead of, but in addition to.

You suggesting that Audubon should 'remember that' is humorous. How do you not understand that Audubon and ABC and others are conservation orgs that work on a variety of issues that affect wildlife?

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Denise, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:53 am

Rabid Cats,

I agree with you, rabies spread and public safety & health is always a concern, thus why all free-roaming and outdoor owned cats (that roam off the property and onto public property) that are trapped for TNR, are fixed, ear-tipped for identification, and they also receive both a FVRCP and a Rabies vaccination at the time of neutering.

Rabies vaccinations are ALWAYS included a part of TNR medical "package", to protect and preserve public health & safety.

Accordign to vector control, its been over 18 years since rabies has been detected in a cat in Santa Clara County, so the Rabies vaccinations are doing a their job at protecting rabies from occuring in Mt. View and throughout Santa Clara county, in both cats and dogs.

So, I agree. Rabies vaccinations must contintue to be a part of every TNR 'medical package" as they have been for the last decade or so.

Denise


Posted by No Kill policy, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Why would anyone want to kill cats? The purpose of TNR is to reduce the number of cats reintroduced to the streets. Yes people are the biggest reason for the number of homeless cats, but now people are doing the right thing by trying to reverse the problem. We don't kill homeless people because they destroy the land that they use until it is no longer livable. Are we going to kill any animal that has been known to kill birds? TNR is the correct path to take in order to correct the imbalance caused by humans. Let's be compassionate and intelligent about the lives of all animals. We dont want to become a country that is known for killing anything that it doesnt understand or lost control of. The cats in Turkey was actually a very nice story about how they care about the cats. It is fantastic that other countries are now finding out what a wonderful experience it is to see them play and thrive once fixed and fed.


Posted by Killing in Mt View, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Wasnt it Mt View that decided to kill all of the squirrels in Cuesta Park?
Is that the answer that Mt View comes to every time there is a controversial issue? Over time TNR has assisted the communities that have incorporated the process by reducing the population of cats. There are non profit organizations that are striving for a NO KILL solution over time, but it takes time to get there and a plan. TNR is a solution and a good plan to slow down the numbers of cats reproducing. Its the owls today, then tomorrow it will be some other animal that you think is at risk. Give it a rest and leave the cats alone. If you dont want to be part of the solution then stay out of the way and let those that care do the work at their cost to get the population under control. This is the way to do it as it has been proven, if you remove one cat and do not replace it, a litter will be provided to take the place of the missing cat..do the math folks


Posted by Really?, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm

It's a shame that peoples love of cats are interfering with the survivability of local wildlife. There is no scientific evidence that shows TNR as an effective method of controlling feral cat populations. Studiies have shown that AT LEAST 50 pct of all cats in a certain area must be fixed to make any headway whatsoever. Trap-shy cats continue to contribute to the gene pool and future generations will more likely be trap shy too. Evolution in Action!

It's very difficult to make an accurate count of shy, feral cats which is why the Stanford TNR numbers are in great question.

Other studies show that the theory that fixed, feral cat populations DO NOT keep other ferals away. That's the facts.


Posted by Killing in Mt View, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

@ Really - How long have you been studying the feral cat population? sounds like you have a lot of thinking behind your statements, which is all it is - your thinking. Over time the population can be managed. Dont hate the cats for what has been done to them. Wildlife has and always will take care of its own. If you want to sit and babysit the owls then let us know how many feral cats you see even interested in them.
When you have compassion for all animals people might listen to what you have to say, but for human hands to be at the source of killing innocent animals, is simply inhumane.


Posted by Denise, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Dear Really?

If you are worried about cats being too "trap shy" to TNR them, then how to you propose to trap them to have them killed? Have you EVER even trapped a cat for fixing? I'm guessing not. I've trapped over 450 for TNR, (which if you do the math, assuming 1/2 were female, means I prevented nearly 1,000 cat from being born outdoors), thus preventing 1,000 free-roaming cats from being ADDED to the Population (plus thier offspring), thus HELPING the bird population. What have you done to help, other than offer your "opinion" and expert advice on trap savy cats here? Every cat can be caught with the right amount of patience and skill, and the technique of an experienced rescue. But animal control staff is not able to wait for hours for the trap to work, nor do the public, so they often seek out rescue groups to help them, control the population. Which we do. The funniest thing I'm noticing about this whole arguement, is that there are people who ARE doing SOMETHING, to help the situation, and there are others just want to offer up advice. So, for those typing...please encourage people to fix their pets, report anyone dumping or abandoning pets (which is a crime in the city of Mt.View), only adopt from shelter/rescues (who take in abandoned animsls for re-homing..many Trapped cats are rehomed , by the way, which INSTANTLY removes them from the streets), volunteer you time with a local rescue group, give $$/or your time volunteering at a cat adoption event near you, trap and fix every single unfixed cat you run accross, make sure NONE of your friends or associated are Breeding animals for profit, and encourage every pet owner you know, to be responsible, to fix the pets, and keep them indoors if at all possible. Help out please !

Whether the bird advocates want to admit this or not, TNR folks and the Audubon folks ARE on the SAME PAGE..and want the SAME LONG-TERM OUTCOME, which is fewer Free-Roaming Cats ! So we are friends. Not foes.

So lets stop fighting and starting WORKING TOGETHER to identify any hot spots or issues that need addressing and fixing, and fix them.

And not create problems, where there aren't any.

A WORKING GROUP would be good start, to identify if there are areas/issue that need to be addressed and where, so we can go fix them .


Posted by Great!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:33 pm

It sounds like you have a lot of personal experience in trapping, fixing and returning feral cats into the environment and claim to want to solve the problem. Maybe you are the *exception* with the "cat rescuers."

Unfortunately, the TNR folks seem to be the same ones that do not want any cat licensing, vaccination of cats, mandatory identification tags/tattooing/microchipping/etc.

In the MV Voice article, an outspoken TNR advocate and cat rescuer claims that the TNR trappers will not bring in cats that may be euthanized (presumably due to poor health) rather than fixed and returned. This means those cats will continue to breed.

The TNR folks DO NOT have science behind them. The "Wildlife" people (Audubon society is just one example) are taking a holistic approach to the entire wild/feral animal situation. The TNR folks are simply considering the feral cat population. I'd rather trust the wildlife scientists than the activist cat rescuers.


Posted by Ericka C, a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Kill all the ferral cats, license the legal ones.
Just put them all into one big bag and use them
for target practice out at shoreline.
This should fix all the over population problems.

Case close, part of the solution not the problem...


Posted by Dina G., a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm

The Audubon Society brought absolutely no evidence that cats in Mountain View are threatening Shoreline Park's bird population (where cats are banned, and which is protected by Park authorities), so thank goodness the Council had the good sense to pass the ordinance without the anti-cat/ anti-TNR provisions.
TNR is achieving spay/neuter rates of well over 50% where it is supported by the community is not stopped or driven underground by bad regulation. I've seen it work, in Mountain View and elsewhere in Northern California. And I have the opposite: draconian, heavily enforced rules about no feeding and no TNR-return that results in exploding cat populations. Because bans don't work (any more than Prohibition or anti-drug laws work).
If anyone tells you that TNR doesn't work, they aren't looking at real TNR programs. But some people just hate cats, and refuse to look at the matter objectively. Cats have become the visible scapegoat for loss of habitat to development,including recreational park facilities. And for loss of birds to other predators-- like rats, opossum, fox, coyote...even other birds.
TNR supporters are some of the biggest supporters of keeping pet cats INSIDE ONLY. If everyone kept their pets indoors and created actual bird habitat in their yards (instead of planting grass and non-native, water-guzzling plants) we would have a fantastic increase in habitat for birds and other wildlife.


Posted by Really!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

"TNR supporters are some of the biggest supporters of keeping pet cats INSIDE ONLY"

Oh really? How many TNR advocates spoke up in support of mandatory cat licensing to the Council over the last year?

Which TNR group is lobbying Myn View to have all pet cats remain indoors? County lobbying? state?

Right.... The wildlife scientists are watching the bird species get decimated by cats. Sure, development is a factor too, but one cannot stop development. People need a place to live. Cats are non-native predators. They ought not have some inmate right to become a protected native species.


Posted by Johanna van de Woestijne, MD, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Stanford Med '87 and SJSU Med Micro 1982

I have seen and photographed the feral cats at Shoreline, hunting and catching prey, in the Burrowing Owl Nesting Grounds at the base of Vista Slope. I see cats hunting inside the park when I am visiting, just about every time I visit. I grew up with cats and see them faster than most people. I'm really good at trapping them too. I no longer have a feral cat problem on my property, because all 8 ferals are gone now and it didn't take me decades to take care of the problem. Basically, don't feed free roaming cats, trap them, and remove them to enclosures. NOT RELEASING AND FEEDING FERALS is the key to success.

The ferals I see at Shoreline are prowling and on the hunt, often successfully. The ones I don't see are probably asleep. I have some photographs, with a prey item from the base of Vista Slope. The issue isn't just that the cats hunt birds and small animals, but they also disrupt the food chain for raptors. Well fed cats continue to hunt (study cat poop sometime and learn all about DNA and anatomic analysis of cat poop). 30% of the diet is birds and the rest is small mammals, lizards etc. I'd be glad to share the science references for any of this, but most people can't comprehend the science and quit reading after the first sentence of the abstract.

Definitely there are a lot of unneutered cats in and near the park, attracted by the feeding stations. The outdoor feeding and release of feral cats is a misguided program carried out by well meaning people. I sure don't want the feral cats near parks, reserves, play grounds, or backyards. The average person doesn't know the first thing about Toxoplasmosis, infection, zoonoses, disease transmission, protection of watersheds, or protection of pregnant women from zoonoses, or protection from rabies. This is why recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control are helpful to the general public and city administrators. Since I'm retired, I'd be glad to organize a summary of the medical and public health issues for the task force, unless they have any other better qualified members on staff already.

There are many big problems with TNR from a public health point of view. Rabies is being ignored. Sound public health policies recommended by the CDC include vaccination (with boosters... notice that feral cats don't get boosters), tags or microchips for ID, restraint at all times, and removal of strays. The recommendations apply to dogs and cats.

Cats are now the biggest cause for rabies post-exposure treatments reported to the CDC. The data varies slightly year to year, with about 35,000 treatments per year. Vaccinated dogs and cats provide humans a buffer zone between transfer of rabies from the wildlife to humans. Before we have another case like the 8 year old in Humboldt County in May of 2011, let's make sure all the cats are getting their booster shots. How can we do that without licenses, microchip ID, and verifiable ownership of all cats? We can't. Just like dogs, cats need the same treatment.

I'll address the latest science on Toxoplasma sometime too. Basically, keep cats in enclosures and control the flow of cat poop into the environment. I can explain the science behind that if anyone on the council cares to hear biology explained.


Posted by You still here?, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:57 am

I find it fascinating the very well educated folks around here (VERY COMMON) feel the need to qualify their expertise by referencing degrees that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Its an interesting phenomenon that some people who may very well be brilliant in one area feel they are now brilliant in all areas.
"Hey, I interned at Johns Hopkins so let me tell you what is wrong with Turkey's economic policies."

Anyway, this topic is closed to the point of any decision being made. Its all done except for the complaining of the losing side.
All that is left are the empty keystrokes of those who disagree...but they are weightless at this point.


Posted by Johanna van de Woestijne, MD, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

I gave my full name and credentials because there are public health issues involved with feeding feral cats in open settings. Many people feeding the ferals don't understand how rabies is transmitted. Some people have never even heard of Toxoplasmosis or Congenital Toxoplasmosis and don't understand the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii. Cats are the only definitive host for Toxo and cat feces are becoming a worldwide health issue, as Toxo enters the water supply and is even infecting marine mammals around the world.

Because of my science training, I can understand the data regarding feral cat diets. I know that a combination of DNA analysis and anatomic examination of cat feces provides very accurate information. If you are relying purely on observation alone and don't understand the science, you will claim that well fed cats don't hunt and kill. I gave my science and medical degree information because I understand the science and data behind the CDC guidelines better than someone who has never studied medical science or the biology of infectious diseases. I'm not commenting on the economy of Turkey. I'm commenting on topics where I'm well informed, well educated, and have real life experience.

I grew up with cats and I'm very good at trapping them. I have experience clearing feral cats from a large area with great success, very quickly, using humane trapping methods. I did not need to maintain cat colonies for decades. I also know that it is very hard to trap a cat twice for follow up rabies boosters. I have a unique combination of science training, medical knowledge, and real experience with feral cats. There are more people like me, I'm sure, but I am rather well qualified to understand issues of public health, feral cat management, and impacts on ecosystems.

There are solutions to the feral cat problems, but TNR is not one of them for many sound reasons. Again, CDC recommends the removal of all strays, for very good health reasons, that includes dogs and cats. That doesn't mean let the dogs run free in packs and release all the cats out into the environment. I'd be glad to provide public health information and review the science behind the CDC guidelines, because I'm well educated in the right areas for that type of review.


Posted by Can't have it both ways!, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

Johanna van de Woestijne:

Thanks for sharing your info on the subject. As you know (if you read the actual Voice article), the issue of feral cat policy is NOT settled locally (contrary to one poster's clueless but repetitive assertions): 'council members directed city staff to assemble a "stakeholder group" to come up with an acceptable way to manage feral cats.'

If you're willing to assist this effort with your knowledge of the science and relevant literature, you should be able to locate the relevant City staff members, by checking the City web site for the advance background materials that will have supported the April-1 Council discussion of this topic.

I know -- and this Comments thread makes it clear too -- that MANY local residents would welcome active participation in this issue from people OTHER than rationalization-spewing cat hoarders, who demonstrate that their ultimate basis for any position or decision is their own egos.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Johanna van de Woestijne:

Did you really say "trap them and place them in enclosures". At that point, you lost me. And I sincerely hope and your "credentials" do NOT end up on this stakeholder panel. Especially, since you gloat about rounding up and "doing away with" the 8 cats (feral is the word you use , but they could have been your neighbor's pet ! So, you "did away with" which is another way of saying you killed them, or poisoned them, right?" (so, which did you do?). Did you use Tylenol to kill them? Like the Audobon's hired hand suggests? Please take MD elsewhere, and keep your bloody cat-murdering hands, off this stakeholder panel. We don't want or need your so-called expertise, in MV. The animal shelter can handle such matters, as they have done successfully, for years (the numbers ARE being reduced throught TNR, the STATS prove it).

You go play elsewhere.


Posted by CatBirdCat, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 11, 2014 at 5:02 pm

"Johanna van de Woestijne, MD, a resident of Monta Loma, Stanford Med '87 and SJSU Med Micro 1982":

Something tells me this isn't the first time you've touted those credentials whether relevant to the topic at hand or not.

"see them faster than most people."
"Many people feeding the ferals don't understand how rabies is transmitted"
"I'm really good at trapping them too."
"but most people can't comprehend the science "
" I'm well informed, well educated, and have real life experience."
"Because of my science training,"
"I have a unique combination of science training, medical knowledge, and real experience with feral cats"
"but I am rather well qualified to understand issues of public health"


With all of your science training, ability to see cats fast and other awesomeness, we should all be humbled, honored and blessed that you should take the time out from your busy day to communicate with us common people.


Posted by Sterling, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 12, 2014 at 12:26 am

Johanna van de Woestijne, MD

"There are many big problems with TNR from a public health point of view. Rabies is being ignored." THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. See below for empirically based information from a DVM and infectious disease specialist that is employed by the state of California...

Folks, if you have questions about rabies, you may contact Dr. Ben Sun, DVM the defacto expert in rabies education, as well as an infectious disease specialist for the State of California. There are approximately 3-5 cases of rabies in California annually, and no. 1 is the skunk, no 2 is the raccoon, and no 3 is the bat.

RABIES IS NOT AN ISSUE! You are attempting to incite fear into people, and it is patently untrue.


I have been through a series of rabies shots, and what Johanna MD is saying is completely untrue. Scaring people into submission makes you a smaller person.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 12, 2014 at 2:12 am

Web Link

Great excerpt from the California Department of Health:
"Being a responsible pet owner. Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats and dogs. Take your pet to your veterinarian on a regular basis. Maintain control of your pets by keeping them under direct supervision."

So, the department that spends all day and every day protecting us from unnecessary sources of disease say that we should rabies vaccinate all cats and dogs and keep them up to date. How can we do this if they only are trapped and brought in to the clinic once??

They also recommend that cats stay under our direct supervision. How does letting them run around all over the place follow this advice??!

Cat people need to realize that their attitudes are in conflict with scientific research... Unless they know they awe wrong and are iust turning a blind eye....


Posted by So where's all the sick people in MV?, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 12, 2014 at 6:43 am

So tell me. If rabies and such are a big problem, please show us the body count. IF there is a realistic danger, I would assume at least ONE case of these terrible diseases would be found in MV during the past 30 years and was tied to a ferel cat.
If not, I don't consider it a realistic threat. A POSSIBILITY, yes, just as its possible to get hit by a lightning bolt, but constructing an entire plan based on the possibility that these things are sometimes known to happen, but have not ever happened in the past 30 years, when the populations were at their highest,would be silly. Now that the numbers are in decline, and continue to decline, the very minor risk is becoming more and more minor by the month.
I'll wait for the CDC link showing all these cases of diseases occurring in Mountain View. If someone can show a true health risk(including actual MV cases)I would support taking action. Otherwise, its like requiring tornado proof buildings be built in MV because there is a minor threat that a tornado MIGHT occur, as one did in Los Altos in the 90's.


Posted by Figured it out, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 12, 2014 at 6:58 am

When rational arguments do not support abandoning a program that is working, some people will resort to trying to insight fear in the public, akin to "If you don't do this, you and your children will be doomed"
I saw the Republicans do it while trying to win elections during the 9/11 days, and I see it being one here by the cat licensing people.
Desperation breeds this sort of behavior.
I'm glad the cat numbers are declining and zero signs of any of these diseases stemming from the Shoreline area have been reported. As the population continues to decline, so does the very very minor threat of contracting one of the listed diseases its possible to get from cats in general.


Posted by Facts not fear mongering, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 12, 2014 at 7:09 am

Here is a great link showing the number of animal rabies found in the sate since 2007. Over the course of 7.5 years, there have been ONLY 4 cases of rabies found in a cat in the entire state, and ZERO in the entire Bay Area. This is just for rabies found in animals, the risk of a human actually contracting it from one of these 4 cats in the entire state over more than 7 years time, is not even worth discussing at this point.
Here's some actual data for those who are not blinded by ideology:
Web Link


Posted by Can't have it both ways, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

"When rational arguments do not support abandoning a program that is working..."

As usual, TNR ideologues _begin_ with a conclusion -- that their way of doing things "is working." In all the rhetoric both before the City Council and here on Town Square, I have never seen this point seriously, objectively, examined by its partisans. Just asserted, impatiently even, as an assumption from which all else flows.

It didn't work in Los Angeles, where a judge threw out TNR in 2009 for lack of promised evidence, even from TNR advocates, of its effectiveness. In Broward County, Florida, TNR was found to be hurting endangered species, until replaced by a more diverse, balanced approach that did actually eliminate the feral cats.

One sure sign that someone is caught up in ideological blinders is that they will not tolerate reality tests. I'd be happy, and I think many other residents also would be, to put the local issue in the hands of objective, disinterested experts who could determine how best to reduce the North Bayshore feral cat population. If the experts conclude that TNR is the best approach, so be it! You will see, though, that if the experts conclude TNR is NOT appropriate, the TNR crowd will never be similarly accepting. Their entire mind-set revolves around releasing these cats -- whatever rhetoric they must employ, and whatever other species are killed, in support of that mind-set.


Posted by Sterling, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

In addition, the Mountain View Voice could use some fact checkers on their staff. Burrowing Owls are NOT endangered, they are listed as a "species of special concern," and this information is printed on every information pamphlet/posting in all of Mountain View.

May I ask why it was fine for the Audubon Society to relocate the burrowing owls from both Alza (when J&J built there), as well as from the Google Recreational field? If I'm not mistaken, the owls don't relocate easily or well, but apparently the donation from Google to the Audubon Society made it easy to overlook the issue.

May I also say that when I spoke with the head (now retired) of the Audubon Society last year when I found a burrowing owl at the San Jose Airport (on my way to catch a plane), I called him immediately, and he told me to just leave it alone - it was not injured, and that in fact, the San Jose Airport has one of the largest, healthiest population of burrowing owls in the nation. However, another paid Audubon society person, active in many of these feral cat discussions, disputed that, saying they get caught in plane engines. Uh, hello? They don't fly that high.

Please continue to communicate with the MV City Council about this - they cannot be expected to do a huge amount of research due to other pressing issues, such as development in the Mountain View area, and it's very helpful to help them understand factual data.


Posted by Chirp, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 13, 2014 at 6:34 am

I'm glad the city is keeping TNR.
Why didn't the anti-TNR people know the actual risk of rabies in CA cats before they decided to proclaim our children at risk of getting rabies from these cats?
They either had no clue that only about 4 cats in CA have tested positive for rabies since 2007, or knew about the non-risk, but hid it because it did not support their argument.
4 cats, none in the bay area since 2007: That is the "public health risk" they proclaimed, and even tried to instill more fear by saying our children were at risk.

Here's the real numbers again so you can see how they operate.
Web Link
Remember, they were screaming about the rabies risk(until this link got posted).
Now you will see, they will stop using that rabies falsehood and jump to another "risk/problem/doom".
The loosing side gasps and chokes on the way out.


Posted by Annabelle, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 13, 2014 at 8:49 am

Erica C:

A portion of your post:

"Kill all the ferral cats, license the legal ones.
Just put them all into one big bag and use them
for target practice out at shoreline.
This should fix all the over population problems."

Do you by chance remember WWII? And a fellow named Adolph? I believe this was his thinking as well. I truly hope you were joking.

One other thing: reading through this email, I see no statistics that include numbers, individuals' names (big problem when you just get "Fish and Game" and what other large org involved; you have no individual to call). Big problem for me. Let me see the data from an objective party, not the cat haters or the other inane folks out here. NUMBERS people, numbers.


Posted by Chirp, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 13, 2014 at 9:34 am

Annabelle, Yes, I agree. The link in the post above you is a good start to assessing the actual risk of rabies to humans from cats, which at the start of this discussion was a key component of the anti TNR folks.
I always say, if its such a terrible thing, there will be bodies to count.
Reminds me of the anti medical cannabis people saying how the world would spiral into decline if we had medical cannabis. Some 20+ years later and I still don't see the doom that was then foretold...in fact just the opposite.


Posted by Chirp, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 13, 2014 at 9:44 am

I guess the question we need answered is "Which bird populations in this Shoreline area have suffered declines in the past 40 years, that can be tied to feral cats?"

I have a feeling bird populations in this area are up in the marsh area due to improvements over the years, with the exception I would assume of the burrowing owl, but when you plow their grounds and put buildings on them, its tough not to move on. If populations are up, I can see why the no TNR camp would be hiding that fact, just as they hid the real risk of rabies.

Again, the question we need answered is: Which bird populations in this Shoreline area have suffered declines in the past 40 years, that can be tied to feral cats"
The answer must be backed up by verifiable data from a .gov website such as the rabies in cats data was. Ready set go!


Posted by Garrett83, a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

Farming was also was destructive to native wildlife, but that is another debate.

Last night watched neighbors cat stalk and kill a bird, seen same cat stalk a squirrel.


Posted by Oh Behavioral, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Our neighbor's cat stalks my 3 year old(then leaps at him to play; very cute.)
My parents had a cat that used to stalk the paper boy, back when there were paper boys. From my backyard last year I watched a red-tail nest raid a baby crow: snatched it up, flew to a redwood tree and ate it, much to the dismay of the squawking parents.
The coolest "catch" I've seen though, was a coyote taking a quail, leaping about 4 feet in the air to grab him.
Nature can be cruel but amazing at times.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

In case you couldn't guess, Doc van de Woestijne is a Coordinator for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network.

Hmmm...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm

To Great: "The "Wildlife" people (Audubon society is just one example) are taking a holistic approach to the entire wild/feral animal situation. The TNR folks are simply considering the feral cat population. I'd rather trust the wildlife scientists than the activist cat rescuers."

Want to know the position of the Audubon Society on outdoor cats (including pet cats)?
They continue to employ Ted Williams (as a contractor) for their national Audubon magazine. Last year, Mr. Williams, then editor-at-large, wrote an article in the Orlando Sentinel identifying Tylenol as an effective poison for feral cats and blaming those in favor of TNR from blocking Tylenol's registration with the FDA as a feral cat poison. The Audubon Society quickly suspended Williams' contract, only to reinstate it 10 days later. Williams apologized for sullying the reputation of the Audubon Society, adding that he shouldn't have used the term Tylenol, he should have "used the generic, lesser-known name."
New York Times: Web Link
Audubon Society: Web Link
Williams' apology: Web Link
Peter Wolf (Best Friends Animal Society): Web Link and Web Link

I find it interesting that the Audubon Society channels their resources and funds on eliminating outdoor cats. Granted, cats kill birds, but it seems to me that there much larger issues than outdoor cats: global warming, rising sea levels, industrial pollution, deforestation, rapid human population growth, loss of wetlands, hydraulic fracking, and specific issues like the Keystone XL Pipeline.


Posted by Residents, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Here are the links:
New York Times: Web Link
Audubon Society: Web Link
Williams' apology: Web Link
Peter Wolf (Best Friends Animal Society): Web Link and Web Link


Posted by Great, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Residents... "I find it interesting that the Audubon Society channels their resources and funds on eliminating outdoor cats."

Hmm..let's see... A non-native, transplanted-by-people predator at the top of the food chain that is responsible for wiping out legions of birds, many of which are in the protected, special interest to endangered......sure..let's just leave colonies in place. Oh, even better..let's FEED them to they are strong enough to hunt and breed future generations.

I know you guys love cats, but please, please, please...just trap them, spay/neuter and then KEEP them! If you love them so much, then you will do this. Shoving them back outdoors is irresponsible to the environment and frankly, cruel to the cats. Wake up!


Posted by Dina G., a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2014 at 10:12 pm

More evidence of very very selective science cited by Audubon supporters who hate cats: Why the emphasis on diseases spread by cats? Most of those diseases are endemic among wildlife and cats are not important vectors. It's another red herring. Rabies-- not a problem in cats or in the Bay Area. Ringworm? Are they serious??? Same fungus causes athletes foot and jock itch. Let's outlaw school locker rooms!! Toxoplasma Gondii? Read the Center for Disease Control's info page: you can get it from undercooked meat, poultry or fish; they are more of a danger than cats. Birds catch it from fish that they prey on...know what the CDC says? Wash your hands people!

Now if you are worried about serious disease, worry about the diseases spread by migrating birds: encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, Pandemic Influenza A and a long list of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and zoonotic enteropathogens. See the Clinical Medicine & Research Jan. 2003 about migrating birds as disease vectors:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1069015/

Ooops, somehow the real science and the real risks got lost in the cat-hating pseudo-science rhetoric. I'm looking forward to their discussion of how they protect us from these wild bird diseases which are serious public health risks.


Posted by Sigh, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Once again, the cat people admit they like cats in the environment because they kill birds! Even our city council ought to be able to see how ridiculous listening to these fanatics are. They should spend less time worrying about cats and more time about their own mental health.

Planting cats in a wildlife refuge is an idea just too stupid for words.


Posted by No proof, no validity, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 15, 2014 at 7:01 am

Yes, you found them all out. People just want animals to kill birds. You sound like you thought long and hard about it and figured it all out. Congratulations. No damage to bird populations by ferals has ever, EVER, been shown to affect the Shoreline area. You're screaming fire at the bottom of the pool.
What specific populations to you feel are in decline in that area due to cats?
Why not address dogs? There is just as much evidence that they are affecting the birds in this specific area. In fact, I've heard rangers speak about the increase of populations due to habitat restoration. There has yet to be any credible link posted showing Shoreline area bird populations in decline, not only from cats, but in general.
Screaming about birds in decline in this area is like screaming about the forest fire burning at the bottom of the ocean.

If what the bird fanatics say is true, why can't they show us the links show populations in decline in this area!!!
If the truth is on your side, its easy.


Posted by ReadandLearn, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Title:
The impact of free ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States
Authors:
Scott R. Loss, Tom Will, Peter P. Marra
Affiliations:
Smithsonian
Conservation Biology Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Journal:
Nature Communications
Year:
2013
Summary
Using a data-driven systematic review of previously published studies that estimated predation rates of
owned and unowned cats, the authors quantitatively estimated total mortality caused by cats in the contiguous United States. The results showed that free roaming domestic cats
kill 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9 20.7 billion mammals every year. The majority of this mortality is caused by unowned cats, whose predation rates averaged three times greater than rates for owned cats.

If we move to a Trap and Do-Not-Return (adopt out, place in retreats or euthanize) then we will have fewer feral cats. That is incontestable. The above study proves the massive assault on the wild animal population, so Trap and Do-Not-Return will result in a healthier wildlife ecosystem.

It's time to take off the blinders. Cats are not citizens of the United States..they don't have Constitutional right to life over every other species.


Posted by CatsKill, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Title: Trap/Neuter/Release methods ineffective in controlling domestic cat "colonies" on
public lands
Authors:
D. Castillo, A. L. Clarke
Affiliations:
Florida International University
Journal: Natural Areas Journal
Year: 2003
Summary
A study was conducted to identify the outcome of a managed trap
neuter release (TNR) program in two county parks in Miami, Florida. TNR failed to reduce the population of cats at either park and the population at one park actually increased. Stray cats were attracted by food provided to the colony by caretakers, and the community pet owners used the colony as a dumping ground for abandoning pets.


See? It goes on and on. All legitimate scientific studies show major problems with the TNR program.

Animal control and rescue groups like the program, because it *appears* to reduce mortality rates. They can point to animal control statistics and notice a decline. Unfortunately, this is why we can't trust rescue groups to either be honest with us or have good sense.

The reason why the numbers go down isn't that there are *fewer* cats out in the world.. It's just that the ones that are out there are more reclusive. After being trapped and going through a horrible torturous experience the TNR people put them through (would YOU Like to be trapped, stuffed in a garage for a few days, forcibly sterilized and then dumped back where you were found?) Since the cats are more reclusive(stay away from people) and avoid the traps, then they aren't picked up and put back "in the system". Numbers go down.

Unfortunately, the numbers of feral cats flourish and spread. The counts of wildlife go down. Cats are a non-native species, at the top of the food chain (because we chased off their potential predators) and protected by humans... They should be trapped and not returned. This is just so obvious, I don't know why the non-TNR fanatics don't get pissed about being lied to constantly.

Humans have over-developed and pushed out wildlife...and they now make the problem worse by infesting the remaining land with these non-native predators.

Time for a change.


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Interesting that the city has just cut down approx. 60 mature trees along Garcia Avenue (next to the Shoreline park area) for the new sports playing fields which are soon to be construction. If each tree had only three nests, and each nest had only three babies in it...that is over 50 little birds killed through construction. So progress and sports fields are approved for killing birds, but let's go after the cats.


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I meant over 500 little birds killed.


Posted by crazy, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

" So progress and sports fields are approved for killing birds, but let's go after the cats. "

Most development proposals submitted or passed by the city staff and council in the Shoreline area are rejected for environmental protection reasons. There are very occasional exceptions made that usually have a corresponding improvement that results in a net benefit to the situation.

Dogs, even leashed, are not allowed in Shoreline park. This would be a perfect place for people to bring their pets. They can start on the stevens creek trail, end up at shoreline, have lunch at the cafe and head back. So much healthy fun for all.. However, to help ensure the protection of the wildlife, there is a dog ban. Now, for some completely crazy reason, the TNR people care allowed to bring CATS into the park and dump them. This is absolutely insane.

Wouldn't it be great if cat fanatics would stop spouting off about things they know nothing about? Crazy...


Posted by Waiting for your Shoreline Facts, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 6:16 am

Still no data on the Shoreline bird populations
If you cannot show the specific damage to Shoreline area birds, how can you expect anyone to believe you?
Fanatical ideologues often believe something without evidence, as long as it fits within their already made up mind.
Still waiting on the actual Shoreline area showing cat harm over the past 30 years. Are bird populations in decline in the area? Prove it with the facts.
Are we at risk of rabies from stray cats? Prove it with facts(btw, the facts already show NO, we are not at rabies any significant risk)
How about all the other illnesses the bird freaks tried to scare us with? How about posting data for that risk?

C'mon. Anyone can make claims and find some supporting study from some far afield place.
If you cannot SHOW harm in the Shoreline area how can you yourself even believe harm is being done...oh yah, I forgot. Fanatical Ideologues.


Posted by AhISee, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Now I understand. You need a peer reviewed scientific study that specifically addresses the impact of transplanting a non-native predator species into Shoreline Park. Even though there have been a lot of studies presented to show the danger and inefficacy of TNR and the massive predatory damage caused by cats, because it doesn't specifically study Shoreline Park, you are saying it doesn't count.

I guess you wouldn't mind if I drive 100mph in front of your house, since no scientific study has been done to show that speeding in front of YOUR HOUSE is dangerous. Why do cat fanatics have no basic reasoning ability? You don't need a specific study of Shoreline since there have been similar studies done in other areas. Lots of references have been provided.

Regardless, wouldn't it make more sense to stop transplanting and feeding cats in Shoreline Park until such a study is done to show that there is no harm?


Posted by The Closer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm

And there we have it. Everyone has had their say and TNR will continue because
the system works. Congratulations I look forward to seeing you all on the trails.


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Why is anyone who thinks killing cats is not the solution called a "cat fanatic"? The Western Bluebird population around the Shoreline Park area has actually increased... Audubon has data submitted to document it. Data is important and has nothing to do with speeding in front of someone's house. If it is presented that thousand of birds are bing killed, it must be presented with data or it is only empty talk. Where is the link to the actual year-over-year data?


Posted by resident, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm

I trapped ferals in the area for a year but got so disgusted with the groups ethics. they insisted that if we trap a cat that looked ill that we should just release it so it wouldnt be put down. i love cats but this is not healthy so i quit. those cats keep breeding and maybe have disease.


Posted by Must prove you point with data, a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 17, 2014 at 5:36 am

If you want change, you MUST show the harm being done by the current system in this area. If you cannot show the harm, how to you even know there is harm? Bird populations are up and the risk of rabies is almost zero, so unless you can show some data for this area that suggests otherwise, you're just flapping in the wind.


Posted by Taskforce?, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2014 at 1:47 pm

When is this task force going to start meeting so they can report back to the Council? Science-based testimony about the damage feral cats are doing to the bird population has been submitted and it has been countered with numbers to show a slight decline in the number of cats taken into shelters.

The problem with looking at the shelter stats is they are only looking at the cats that are brought in. When the TNR folks trap the ferals, they only bring in the ones that look healthy and have not already been trapped & spayed before. The key numbers to look at are:

1) Are there any endangered, threatened or species of special concern? In Shoreline, for example, the burrowing owl is a species of special concern. This is a species that is on it's way to be threatened or endangered. When that happens, federal government will step in and do what it takes to protect the species. This could include shutting down large areas of Shoreline Park.
Since there is the burrowing owl, there ought to be steps taken to protect them. Dropping bird hunters into this area is simply contrary to common sense and is not supported by the scientific data out there.

2) What are the actual numbers of feral cats in Shoreline park. Are the numbers going up year-after-year, are they stable or declining? Unfortunately, it is very expensive to study this. It takes teams of biologists to do "transects" of the area over a period of time. Who will pay for this? The cat lobbyists got out of paying their fair share through the pet licensing program, so will all taxpayers chip in to pay for this?

The task force is supposed to work these details out, but nothing has been spoken about since. Is something going to happen? Or has it been "referred to committee" and the issue will die (along with a lot of the shoreline bird population.)?


Posted by Stale Bump, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 11, 2014 at 5:54 am

Keep at it. Maybe the horse will come back to life.


Posted by Stale Bump, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 11, 2014 at 6:42 am

I don't care if MV starts enforcing the four cat limit per home. They will have to pry my bakers dozen of kitties from my cold, dead fingers.


Posted by I'm sorry, a resident of Bailey Park
on May 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

I hope these latest posts help heal your pain. You can also help eliminate that feeling of powerlessness over an issue you are obviously passionate about, but taking direct action in person at the City Council meetings. It will be much more productive than just trying to stir up stuff from a month old thread.
Whatever your path, though, I hope it brings you peace.


Posted by Jessica, a resident of Gemello
on May 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I would like to know more about this task force to resolve the feral cat problem.


Posted by Hungry Jack, a resident of Shoreline West
on May 12, 2014 at 5:14 am

I'd like some waffles.


Posted by responsiblecatowner, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 12, 2014 at 9:24 am

Palo Alto somehow came to a decision when they banned the feeding of feral cats (and wild animals) in parks and open spaces. They were concerned about the problems in their bayshore area (like our shoreline park area) and did something about it.

Web Link

Even the Humane Society and the Palo Alto Animal Shelter approves of the ordinance!

"... Carole Hyde, executive director of the Palo Alto Humane Society, and with Scottie Zimmerman, co-founder of the group Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter. Both said that while they have no objections to banning the feeding of wildlife in open space areas, they were concerned that the restriction would later spread to other parts of the city...But with the scope limited to open space preserves and parks, Hyde and Zimmerman had no qualms about the new ordinance."

Hopefully, Mountain View's feral cat task force will soon meet as promised by the Council, sift through all of the emotional pleas from the cat rescue groups and the scientific data provided by the wildlife protection organizations and present their findings for a final decision.


Posted by Suuuure., a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Yah, I'm sure they'll get right on that.


Posted by Earl, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

The council is on notice that if my children are attacked by feral cats in shoreline park, then I will sue them. Feral cats are extremely dangerous predators. Not only the large number of birds they wipe off the planet but people too:

"METRO VANCOUVER -- Bryn Erin Ward is hoping she won't be cast in Scarface when the bruises and scratches she's sporting today fade away.

Ward, an actress who now works as a realtor, was showing a house in New Westminster on Tuesday when she and her client were mauled by a cat.

"It was certainly a catfight that I didn't win," she said.

One of Ward's clients escaped unharmed in the unprovoked attack, but the other needed medical attention at the hospital.

"I went to turn a light out and heard this weird noise. She went to look out the window. All of a sudden this cat, a feral cat, was on top of her," Ward recalled. "She fell over a table and was on the ground, and this cat was attacking her."

After escaping the animal, the women went to emergency at Royal Columbian Hospital. Ward said staff were shocked by the damage inflicted by a cat.

"I jumped in to get the thing off of her. I have stitches in my face, I have a black eye, I am torn to pieces," she said. "She got bitten all over her leg and tush."
Web Link


Posted by Nobody heard, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

You are addressing the wrong group. The council does not regularly read these pages so your threat might as well be made to a concrete wall. Good luck with your quest though.

If you are worried about animal attacks, you're FAR more at risk from an off-leash dog than a cat, statistically speaking, and since they just allowed them off-leash in parks, you should be careful. I also think the city is at risk from legal action w/ the off-leash law.
Once you find the correct audience, remind them of the legal risks involved.


Posted by Catlover, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Cateater you need mental help.


Posted by OK cool, that'll work, a resident of Bailey Park
on May 20, 2014 at 5:48 am

You post was removed catlover. Looks like they are able to recognize all kinds of BS here. See you at the council meeting.


Posted by Good Read, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I found this in a related thread. I think it is very helpful to read and understand the core issues:

"I'm another local cat lover. Please, STOP clouding this issue with remarks about local shelters and cats in cities (the core issue, instead, is wilfully releasing cats in an undeveloped wildlife region where they're not native). Stop making armchair assertions about what's "working." Stop playing prove-it-to-me-while-I-stand-on-one-foot games. Stop name-calling people who post references here to real scientific studies raising questions nationwide about re-releasing feral cats. Plenty of serious evidence about the problems of feral-cat release has been cited on this and related threads, and the reaction to these citations is name-calling, which is itself revealing of the mind-sets at work.

"Resident" in the other current thread commented further on a mind-set at work here, about releasing feral cats REGARDLESS of costs to themselves and other species:

"I trapped ferals in the area for a year but got so disgusted with the groups ethics. they insisted that if we trap a cat that looked ill that we should just release it so it wouldnt be put down. i love cats but this is not healthy so i quit. those cats keep breeding and maybe have disease."


Posted by All day long, a resident of Bailey Park
on May 21, 2014 at 6:23 am

I find it made up and without any verifiable aspect to it. Just made up words unless there are some actual names and organizations tied to it.
Besides from the decision of the City Council, I thought it was a dead issue.
Are you going to have them revisit it? How?


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