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LETTER: Bill oversimplified the feral cat problem

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LETTER: A letterbox with the inscription Letter to the editor

To many of us deeply concerned about feral cat overpopulation, it was apparent that Senate Bill 1390, legalizing the trapping, neutering and return of feral cats, was a scramble to legislate a simple solution to a complex problem. 

This bill simply provided a few definitions and statements that cats and TNR volunteers would be exempt from the good laws that protect pets, wildlife and human health. Solutions to any problem of such magnitude and complexity are never so simple, and there are many valid reasons that SB 1390 was tabled. 

Absent from the Senate discussions were well researched scientific studies that don’t conclude that TNR reduces feral cat populations. Absent from the bill was acknowledgement that cats are linked to extinction of 63 vertebrate species and that cats are the No. 1 source of human-caused bird mortality.

Absent from your article were pictures of TNR cats suffering from disease, attack by predators, lack of medical care, food and shelter. Absent were pictures of veterinarians and wildlife rehabbers struggling to save birds and small animals from maiming and infection caused by a cat attack. We would have appreciated your publication reporting on these issues more objectively. 

Fortunately, the Virginia House of Delegates realized that this bill didn’t capture many facets of this issue or the levelheaded input of experts. We are hopeful that a better bill can be crafted by a diverse body of professionals who will consider all aspects of the cat problem -- wildlife, human health and companion animal welfare.

Terri Cuthriell


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