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Paws & Reflect by Maui Humane Society

May 13, 2011 - Mark Vieth

MHS applauds Judge Bissen for upholding a first degree cruelty charge in a recently publicized case in which some feral cats were killed with a bow and arrow. The defending attorney argued that the law was not meant to apply to feral cats as they are not ?pet animals.? The judge disagreed, and rightly so. This decision was a victory for Maui's feral cats--animals that are often misunderstood and mistreated.

A feral cat is a domestic cat that has learned to live with little or no human contact.  Many feral cats started as lost or abandoned pets; others were born in the wild and have never known a human touch. Life can be short and harsh for these creatures. MHS and the Feline Foundation of Maui are helping feral cats through a Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage  (TNRM) program. There are now feral cat colonies across the island managed by volunteer caretakers who spay/neuter, feed, and monitor the cats for injuries or illness.

Recently, we have heard of individuals and even a local animal welfare agency recommending that people take unwanted cats to known colony locations and dump them there. This is animal abandonment -- illegal in Hawaii since 1995, and an act of cruelty. Cats "relocated" like this are subject to starvation, injury, and attacks from other animals protecting their territory.

MHS finds homes for the majority of tame, healthy cats brought to our shelter, but unfortunately that is not the case for feral cats.  Euthanizing feral cats is not the answer, nor is dumping cats in other areas. Support the TNRM program. Spay/neuter your cat. And treat feral cats with the respect and compassion all animals deserve.

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