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perspectives

While the brown tabby recovers, I decided to advertise that I had found a cat in hopes that his owner might claim him.

I posted a few signs around the neighborhood, brought a sign with his picture to the nearby vet’s office and placed ads on Craigslist.

I have already received a few inquiries from the Craigslist ad but sadly this cat was not their cat. When I brought the notice into the vet’s office I asked them if they recognized the cat, but sadly, they did not. They were willing to hang the poster by the reception desk and they celebrated that I got the cat neutered, one less unaltered cat roaming the streets. I always feels supported by them. They suggested I call the animal shelter to report a found cat.

When I got home I called the city animal shelter and provided the information about the cat. The woman sternly scolded me and said that I am legally liable for having had surgery performed on someone’s cat. Now, the information she provided about my possible liability was not a surprise (you can get sued for anything these days), but what was surprising was her attitude. She was very threatening and mean. She made it a point to tell me again before ending the call that I was legally liable.

Now, I am assuming her attitude comes from dealing with all sorts of weird people who do all sorts of weird things to animals. Maybe I’ve become one of those weird people. Or maybe she doesn’t understand about the extent of the free roaming homeless cat problem in the city. The cynical side of me thinks maybe she was looking out for her job, because if there were no more homeless animals she would be out of a job.

I do understand when trapping free roaming cats there is a level of taking on liability, this is something every TNR person must grapple with. I just wish she would have conveyed that information in a kind manner rather than a judgmental one.

Just for kicks, I just scanned through the city municipal code animal control section to see what my liability might be. There is no mention of the unlawfulness of altering stray cats and dogs. But there is this: “It shall be unlawful for any person to permit a domestic cat to trespass upon the property of another in such a manner as to be a nuisance.” And I have the photos to prove that this brown tabby was stealing plays on Oliver’s nip napper on Oliver’s back porch! That certainly must quality as a nuisance behavior! Okay, maybe I am one of those weird people! :)

One of the things with TNR is that you have no way of knowing if a cat belongs to someone or not. Sometimes it’s clear (collar, microchip, etc.) but when there’s no obvious sign, then the trapper has a choice to make. I made the choice that seems in the best interest of the animal. If the cat gets reunited with his owner and they have a problem with my choice then I’ll take than up with them. In my ideal world, it would be legally required that any domestic animal that is allowed to roam outside would be required to be spayed or neutered!

When the shelter person wasn’t scolding me for my inappropriate behavior, she told me I now needed to keep the cat for 30 days after filing the report and to continue to advertise that I had found it. 30 days?! They want me to hold this cat for 30 days, while if the cat was at the shelter it would have only 72 hours (or six days if it was wearing its license tag, which this cat was not). So they hold a lost cat for 72 hours and I have to hold it for 30 days. Sure thing lady. This requirement is actually in the municipal code, so she wasn’t just making this up. After 30 days the unclaimed animal becomes property of the finder.

So what did I learn in all this today? Sadly, I feel like I learned that the city animal shelter is not my friend. In the future I will be reticent to involve them in any TNR matters. I’ll also provide less information, which probably would have made things go better this time around. I should have just told them that the cat was intact (as he was when I found him) and left it at that. The other thing I take away from all of this is gratitude for the supportive people at my vets office. They’re awesome!

(updated 10/22/2012 5:15pm)

9 Responses to “perspectives”

  1. Marg says:

    That is terrible about that lady at the shelter. I would contact other shelters to see how they feel about all this. I thought it was the shelters purpose to find homes for homeless animals and this cat doesn’t seem to have a home. That is the craziest thing I have heard in a long time. But good idea to get the word out about the cat being there to see if anyone owns him. I betcha, someone moved away and left the cat.

  2. Katie Isabella says:

    I am SO SO SO very sorry that this happened to you. Unbelievable how they can be that way. What a mean natured and just plain rude and miserable person. I can’t believe any animals would be better off under her “care”. Sending Katie headbumps. And lots of them she said.

  3. Terri says:

    I’m not sure why she was throwing such a fit. You had the cat neutered and of course, you are liable for it. I think I would certainly find out who the manager of the facility is and let them know you didn’t appreciate her attitude. No one dealing with the public should behave like that.

    We have a unique setup in our city. Animal Control and the Humane Society are next door to each other. Every animal that is picked up by Animal Control is assessed by the Humane Society for its adoptability. After the holding period, unclaimed adoptable animals are transferred to the Humane Society.

  4. Fuzzy Tales says:

    In our town, our humane society is the animal control, but they don’t automatically neuter/spay any of the cats they pick up, adopt out, etc. They provide a voucher toward the cost of it for adoptees, and that’s it.

    That woman could use an attitude adjustment. You did the right thing, period. Anyone who (a) doesn’t neuter/spay their cat and (b) lets it roam is negligent, IMO. Tough bananas. I doubt very much this cat has a human caretaker anymore.

  5. It is sad that you found such a negative person at the shelter when you have done such a great thing to have this sweet guy neutered. I just hope someone claims him and is happy to have this ‘procedure’ done for them. I know when we had Mr Toes neutered we thought what if he belongs to someone else? But he had stayed with us for so long at that point we just claimed him. He is now indoors and completely happy! Great work and don’t let the haters get ya down!!
    hugs, Linda

  6. Greg_1948 says:

    In Pierce County the “humane” society shelters are more akin to Nazi death camps. The only reason to go there is to save an animal.

  7. katie says:

    Same here in Tulare county, Ca. Animals go in but rarely come out. You were 100% Correct to snip. Shelter people here are horrible also. It must be the job that drains them of their humanity. TNR is becoming the best solution out here in farm country. No babies, No sheltzer. Now, if we could just get the local Vets on board for low cost spay…..

    • Woodsman says:

      I shoot and bury every last cat in my “farm country”. Go ahead, dump some more cats on farmers. They get shot dead as soon as they are sighted off of their property. I’ve shot and buried HUNDREDS of these destructive invasive species vermin in the past. All you are doing is adding to the cat-shooting quotas of every rural person.

      • thecatguy says:

        Woodsman, thanks for the comment. You raise a few good points that I would like to speak to. First off, I never support the “dumping” of cats (or any other animals) on any farm or other location. Dumping cats on someone else’s property is not only unethical but most likely illegal. It does not help the cats, the people who’s land is being dumped on or anyone.

        Relocation of feral cats is ONLY done when a property owner has requested the cats. Usually these are property owners with a small piece of land who have an out building and they are looking for natural rodent control. They offer the feral cats food and shelter in exchange for the cats keeping the rodent population down. But again, I want to stress that these relocations only happen at the property owner’s request, never dumped. If people are dumping cats on your property, I hope you can find out who those people are and talk some sense into them.

        It is also going to point out that relocations are actually more the exception in TNR, after all, the “R” is for return. Most TNR’ed cats are returned to the location where they were found.

        The second point I wanted to speak to was that the biggest challenge for feral cats may be humans. Feral cats are often misunderstood. Because they are untamed, they are not able to be adopted out. They live as wild animals in the wild. And like all other wild animals, they need to hunt to survive.

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