Feral cats may face the risk of being the target of hunters in New Jersey, as state officials are now considering ending Trap-Neuter-Release programs and instead allowing hunters to shoot cats. Please add your voice to prevent this barbarism. Urge New Jersey state officials to NOT legalize the shooting of feral cats.
I have just read that N.J. state officials are considering ending Trap-Neuter-Return programs and allowing hunters to shoot cats. Specifically, I have learned that the Fish and Game Council is proposing to legalize feral cat hunting. This is misguided, cruel, and dangerous. I must add my voice to the many animal welfare organizations who have sent letters to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife condemning this outrageous proposal.
To reclassify abandoned, stray cats as "exotic, dangerous animals" would end the growing number of successful programs that trap, neuter and release them, and instead allow them to be hunted. Shooting cats is unbelievably backwards, vicious, and cruel: is this the image of New Jersey that you wish to project?
Because the state Legislature has deemed cats to be companion, domestic animals, the Fish and Game Council is actually prohibited from reclassifying or regulating them. The state Department of Health and Senior Services has jurisdiction over animal control issues, including stray cats. It has not taken a position on TNR but does talk about managed cat colonies as one solution.
Council member Leonard Wolgast was the sponsor of the resolution and has brought the issue of feral cats up at several council meetings. I question whether he should be allowed to participate in such discussions at all, because he is listed as owner of the East Brunswick property where Blumig Kennel, which is owned and operated by his wife's family, is located. That kennel contracts with several communities in Central Jersey to pick up and euthanize cats. The Sheriffs' Association of New Jersey discussed the issue this week, plans to join animal welfare activists in opposing any reclassification of cats that would allow them to be hunted, and is asking Wolgast to recuse himself from the issue.
TNR programs, bolstered by the 2004 report of the New Jersey Animal Welfare Task Force, have widespread support. Further, communities that utilize these programs save thousands of dollars. This is a win-win scenario.
I urge you not to take the barbaric step of allowing cats to be shot to death, but to support humane and economical Trap-Neuter-Release Programs.
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