Apr 19, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


11Feral Cats Dying in AZ, Poison or Deadly Feline Disease?

An Arizona family is worried that someone may be poisoning feral cats in their Chandler neighborhood. Even their veterinarian is bewildered by the symptoms.

“Five--possibly six--cats have been poisoned,” Mary Rose told 3TV. But she then admits she's not really sure what is the cause of their death.

She said her aunt has been feeding the cats for years on Monterey Street, but within the past couple of months, a number of the cats have developed similar symptoms and died.

At first there is disorientation and loss of balance, then their back legs stop working. “Then we’d soon find them dead,” Rose said.

It’s not known whether the cats are being poisoned or have a feline disease and even her veterinarian is baffled.

“It was confusing for him, he says he hasn’t seen anything like that before,” Rose said.

With the number of feral cats left in the neighborhood dwindling from possibly unnatural causes or a deadly contagious feline disease, Rose now just wants answers.

“It’s really disturbing,” she said.

Chandler police confirm they’ve investigated the case but have no leads and no real evidence yet.

Rose tells 3TV she’s reached out to animal groups, including the ASPCA, but has not received any response or help.

Source: AZ Family

1117 Cats Found in Motel Room and Car, 2 Women Charged with Animal Abuse

Linda Mitchell, 60, and her daughter Kristina, 26, were charged with animal abuse on Thursday, after police officers reported finding 17 cats in their motel room and car.

The charges stem from an investigation conducted at a motel in Fenton on January 13.

Police reported that officers were called to the Super 8 Motel, 650 South Highway Drive by the motel managers who "noticed a problem."

Officers found 14 cats in the women’s room. Three additional cats were found in their car.

Police described the room as, “…filled with trash and debris, smelled of urine and feces and had no water or food bowls for the cats.”

The county animal control agency took the cats. A veterinary exam showed they suffered from neglect, police said.

The two women gave their address as on Meadows Drive in the Mehlville area of south St. Louis County, Missouri. Buckley

No court date was posted yet.

Source: St. Louis Today

11TNR Ordinance Rejected by Las Cruces, NM; Called 'Decriminalization' of Feral Cats

After hearing residents debate the pros and cons of trap-neuter-release for feral cats in Las Cruces, New Mexico, City Councilors voted 4-2 on Monday, to reject a proposed TNR (trap-neuter-release) measure within the city limits.

Officials had described the proposal as a "decriminalization" of feral cats, because, rather than creating city-sanctioned feral cat colonies and managers, the TNR provision proposed removing penalties for abandonment by people who released cats that had been spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies and ear-tipped, reported the Las Cruces Sun.

The city's broader ordinance proposal, which was being considered at the same time, would, conversely, prohibit anyone abandoning cats or feeding free-roaming cats that aren't microchipped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies and ear-tipped, said animal shelter Director Beth Vesco-Mock.

Cats entering the shelter that lacked the requirements still would have faced euthanasia, Vesco-Mock said. And a person would have to pay to reclaim the cat if it wound up in the animal shelter.

Several animal advocates reminded the Councilors that feral cats are already present in the city, and a trap-neuter-release provision would prevent as many of them from reproducing.

Some residents had argued that the TNR measure could help reduce high numbers of cats being euthanized at the city-county animal shelter, known as the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley.

Critics worried about the impacts of cats on wildlife, mainly birds.

City Councilor Nathan Small stated that he empathizes with TNR proponents, because he owns a cat that had been feral. He said he and his wife caught it and, after two years, it has become tame. Still, he said he doesn't think allowing for feral cats is the right decision inside city limits, where there's a high density of development.

Counclor Small said he would back trapping, neutering and releasing cats into "catteries," contained spaces for 10 to 15 cats.

"Ultimately, I'm unable to support the full decriminalization approach," Small said.

Councilor Pedroza said she had "way too many problems" with the feral cat proposal to support it. She said she questioned whether enough people would follow through with all of the steps of properly maintaining the feral cats.

Councilor Gill Sorg, also an Audubon Society member, said he believes rather than a TNR program, the city should put more money and emphasis into educating people about spaying and neutering, and responsible pet ownership.

Councilor Levatino said she appreciated input from opponents and proponents of the feral cat measure, but she thought the council should have taken its cue from Animal Services Director Vesco-Mock, who is the city's main expert on the matter.

Some residents reminded the Council that the feral cat proposal also raises legal liability questions.

Source: LCSUN News

11Two Texas Teens Arrested In Satanic Ritual Killing Of Dog And Cats

Two Texas teens have been arrested Wednesday on felony animal cruelty charges after they allegedly killed a dog, a cat and three kittens in a “cult style manner.”

Authorities began an investigation after a dog went missing near County Road 769, and arrested 17-year-old Mark Ainsworth and 18-year-old Delaney Walters. The teens have been charged with five counts of animal cruelty to “non-livestock animals.”

According to a press release from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office, an 8-year-old Australian cattle dog, named Camo, was found tied to a tree and had been skinned, Fox8 News reported.

Further investigation reveals that the two teens also tortured and killed a cat and three kittens in a “satanic-type” ritual.

“The animal went through a lot of torture,” Sheriff Jason Bridges said. “It was skinned. Some of the parts were removed. We all love animals. We all love him and they weigh heavy on our hearts and to see what these animals went through and the way they were tortured is sad.”

During a police interview, the two teens reportedly confessed to killing the animals. Investigators later found video and photographs of the crimes.

Ainsworth and Walters remain in Nacogdoches County Jail, and are currently being held without bond.

Camo had been part of a nearby family who said he was a rescue dog.

“He had a heart of gold,” the owner said. “He loved children very much. He was very smart.”

The unnamed woman said Camo would walk with the children to the bus stop every morning and wait for them to return.

“Sometimes it shows up in children or adolescence and it is what we call conduct disorder and that’s one of the criteria; aggression towards people or animals,” licensed counselor Debra Burton, who believes the teen may be mentally ill, was quoted by The Inquisitr as saying.

Burton has not interviewed the teens who were arrested for killing the neighborhood pets. She says conduct disorder is just an example.

11Vermont Woman Tries To Rescue Wandering Cat, Turns Out To Be A Bobcat

Nancy Hill, of Greensboro, Vt., just wanted to do a good deed for what appeared to be a cat outside her home during a snowy day.

"It was below zero and I thought the poor cat needs to get in and thaw in warmth," Hill told local news station WCAX.

It was Town Meeting Day in Greensboro when Hill said she saw the furry feline in front of her home, sitting under her bird feeder. She thought the animal needed assistance, so she grabbed a cat carrier and went outside to help.

"I used to have a cat and I had a cat carrier," said Hill.

But as she approached the kitty, Hill noticed “quite a bit of blood and some fur,” and thought something wasn’t quite right.

It was only after Hill got close to the animal that she realized it was not a cute and cuddly cat.

"Well once it got up, it went so fast,” she says. “It was scary."

Hill wasn’t injured in the incident, but she went back into the house to grab her camera and take pictures of the animal that actually turned out to be a bobcat.

Wildlife experts in Vermont say that encounters with bobcats are not uncommon in the state due harsh winter season, forcing the animals outside of the woods and closer to people’s homes to find food.

“When there’s deep snow for prolonged periods of time our bobcats tend to have a tougher time,” Kim Royer, the deputy commissioner at Vermont Fish and Wildlife, told WCAX News. “If you see one, be excited, appreciate the fact that we live in this great state where bobcats still do very well, and leave ‘em alone.”

Hill says she will heed that advice in the future.

“It wouldn't have fit in my little cat carrier,” said Hill.

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11Hawaii Legislators Advance Bill Banning Consumption Of Cats And Dogs

The state of Hawaii’s House Committee on Agriculture recently advanced a bill that would ban the consumption of any animals that can be kept as pets, including cats and dogs. 

Although consuming cats and dogs is not a widespread cultural practice throughout Hawaii, it has occurred often enough to encourage a group of protesters to visit the state’s legislative session in order to request a new bill be drafted. 

The bill was initially brought to fruition by the Humane Society’s Hawaiian branch, which claims, according to the NY Post, that it receives “at least two reports each year of dogs or cats being slaughtered for food." 

Inga Gibson, senior state director for the Humane Society, explained that there is no specific legislation that the organization can use to prosecute individuals after receiving these reports. 

“When we do get these reports of cases of dog or cat slaughter, unless they’re caught in the act, law enforcement is not able to really prosecute,” Gibson said. 

There is, however, existing legislation currently in place regarding the slaughter of pets. Rep. Jessica Wooley, House Agriculture Committee chairwoman, explained that it’s the wording and intent of that legislation that makes prosecution difficult. 

“There are cases every year, and they’re not able to prosecute fully because of the way the law is currently written,” Wooley said, the San Antonio Express reports. 

Because cultures and individuals treat animals with varying degrees of respect, there are widely differing opinions regarding the consumption of specific animals throughout the world. Whether or not a certain type of animal should or should not be slaughtered for consumption is a moral debate with no easy answer, but Hawaii’s legislative body will soon decide whether it believes animals that can be kept as pets can also be eaten under the jurisdiction of the law. 

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11Your Cat Might Be An Expert Meteorologist

Cats are good at a lot of things – landing on their feet, looking abnormally adorable, making blooper videos, and eliciting high-pitch voices from women. According to 19th-century Army Lt. H.H.C. Dunwoody, our feline friends also have quite a practical skill up their sleeves … err, paws, as well: predicting the weather.

In an 1883 book entitled "Weather Proverbs," Dunwoody touted cats as a more reliable way to predict the weather than meteorologists. 131 years later, many of us are still left awkwardly dressed and ill-prepared for weather our local meteorologists failed to predict.

According to Dunwoody, we shouldn’t be looking to people for weather advice. We need to look at animals. Though he lists a number of animals who display certain behaviors prior to inclement weather, he placed an emphasis on the prophetic abilities of cats.

“Cats have the reputation of being weather wise," Dunwoody wrote. "It is almost universally believed that good weather may be expected when the cat washes herself, but bad when she licks her coat against the grain, or washes her face over her ears or sits with her tail to the fire."

Here, according to Dunwoody, is how to interpret weather forecasts from your little kitty:

  • - When cats sneeze, it is a sign of rain.
  • - When a cat scratches itself, or scratches on a log or tree, it indicates approaching rain.
  • - The cardinal point to which a cat turns and washes her face after a rain shows the direction from which the wind will blow.
  • - When cats lie on their heads with mouths turned up, expect a storm.
  • - When cats are snoring, foul weather follows.

The next time your cat does this, you'll know she isn't looking for attention. She's telling you to grab your raincoat:

Sources: NPR, Time

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11Detroit Study Shows City Strays at 7,500 Dogs and 18,000 Cats

Michigan State University researcher Laura Reese, Ph.D., has been studying a Detroit animal-welfare issue for more than a year and has crunched responses from 75 nonprofit animal agencies.

In the first academic study of Detroit’s dog and cat overpopulation problem, the MSU political science professor estimated the number of city strays at 7,500 dogs and 18,000 cats.

Reese said that would mean there are about 54 stray dogs and 129 stray cats per square mile in Detroit’s 139 square miles.

Detroit mayoral spokesman John Roach was asked how often he sees stray dogs and cats, and he replied, “Occasionally, but not frequently.”

Reese emphasized that whether the number is 3,000 or 50,000 (both are previous estimates), the magnitude of the problem is not really what matters. “What’s important is tackling it, with other animal welfare issues," she said. “It’s a sign of disorder in the community.”


“For the city and its residents to move forward and get out of the current crisis, we need to get out of these disorder issues, whether it’s abandoned buildings or roaming animals," Reese said. "Psychologically, it does not help the city move forward.”

Her study says Detroit needs to do a better job of taking care of stray animals. Public education is also needed in providing care for animals, because tethered dogs have been found frozen to death in backyards.

Detroit Police Department spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the city’s animal control division has nine employees: four animal control officers, three supervising officers who monitor the building and handle the animals, one veterinarian, and one investigator.


Woody said the department was never operating at full capacity and now has the money to hire more staff. He said that 10 animal control officers will be hired next month, and that over the next three months, the department should get an additional four investigators.

“Last year, we had 703 dog bites and we had one investigator doing all that work,” Woody said. “The upswing to all of this is we are recognizing the need for the additional manpower in that area.”

Source: Detroit News, Huffington Post

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11"No-Kill" Fixation Causes Mistreatment of Animals at Humane Society, Say Former Employees

Two former employees have sounded an alarm regarding conditions for animals at the Humane Society of Washington County. The two women stated this week that concerns for health and safety of the animals were ignored when the facility decided to become “No Kill.”

“They mistreated animals, adopted out sick animals, and had a mass euthanization in one day,” the women told ABC7.

The decisions by new management that came on board in January 2013 was fixated on making the facility a “no-kill” shelter. The results – there were too many cats, many of them sick,” a former employee says.

Amanda Surber is now showing evidence of what she believes is cruelty to animals at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them.

Amanda is not alone in her claim, WJLA reports. At least two former employees are saying the humane society mistreated and adopted out sick animals.

One of those workers has filed suit saying she was wrongfully terminated when she refused to keep the shelter’s secrets.

For two-and-a-half years, Amanda Surber was an animal care technician at the Humane Society of Washington County in Hagerstown, Maryland. Then in January 2013, new management declared the intention to become a “No-Kill” shelter and did not consider the reality that “there were too many cats, many of them sick,” she told ABC7 reporters.

“The overcrowding, the best way to describe it, it looked like a concentration camp. The way they were stacked on top of each other, we would have five to six cats in a cage.”

Former volunteer Andrea Carroll says she witnessed the same conditions.

“Forty cats would be coming in every day. We had nowhere to put them. They’re sick; diseases were spreading that we can’t treat.”

Surber says the mistreatment ran the gamut from cats with infections and disease to, “in one case, more than 100 being euthanized in one day.”

“We had to go room to room to put these animals down. You can’t kill 130 animals in an hour and expect it to be humane,” she says.

“They did not have the welfare of the animals in mind. They were more concerned with getting the number of euthanasias down at whatever cost," Surber says.

Surber says she was then asked to sign a non-disclosure form. When she refused, she was fired.

ABC7 states that they were allowed “inside the society” to view the animal-adoption rooms, which were clean and not crowded.

Declining an on-camera statement, the Humane Society said, it denies the allegations and will defend itself in court, the station reported.

Source: WJLA

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11Cat-Crazy Tourists Lured to Japan’s “Cat Islands,” Where Felines Outnumber Humans

Aoshima Island spans less than a mile in length, about .3 mile in width, and is located in Ozu, Ehime Prefecture of Japan. It is called the “Island of Cats,” because the feline population exceeds that of humans by five times. More than 100 cats live on Aoshima, and there are only 15 people.

There are a number of ‘cat islands’ around Japan that draw cat lovers from all over the world; in late September, Aoshima became a focus of attention on the Internet, drawing a number of visitors from all over Japan, according to The Japan News.

On a sunny autumn day, dozens of cats were lounging behind and on top of walls. When people come around, the cats approach them for food. Pictures were taken, posted on the Internet and re-posted on blogs.

Since then, the Ozu city government’s Nagahama branch states it has not stopped receiving phone calls from cat lovers who are eager to visit the island.

Aoshima doesn’t have accommodations, restaurants or even vending machines, but it has become a paradise not only for cats, but also for cat lovers.

Sayumi Nagamori, 23, who traveled from Sanuki said, “I can observe their natural life here.”

Currently, a ferry—the only means of transportation—connects Aoshima and Shikoku twice a day. Ferry Captain Nobuyuki Ninomiya told The Japan News, “I seldom carried tourists before, but now I carry tourists every week, even though the only thing we have to offer is cats.

During World War II, the island’s population increased due to an inflow of evacuees. It peaked at 655 in 1960. Since then, the majority have left the island to find jobs. The 15 remaining non-feline residents range in age from their 50s to their 80s. Four of them are fishermen, and most of the others are pensioners.


According to the islanders, about a decade ago, the number of islanders fell below 50, and the number of cats began to increase due to abandoned cats breeding unchecked.

There are many vacant houses left that serve as comfy, safe hideouts. They are also free from traffic accidents as there are no cars on the island.

Fisherman Hidenori Kamimoto, 63, says, “They bother me because they sometimes sneak into my house. But there’s nothing we can do about the increasing number of cats."

In October on a ferry, I saw eight visitors, including a woman on a solo trip and a couple. They spent their day on the island photographing or feeding the cats.

Kafumi Munehira, 50, from Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, had spent the night in the city of Ozu to catch a ferry at the Iyo-Nagahama Port the following morning to Aoshima. She stayed on the island for nine hours until the evening.

“I’m overwhelmed by how many cats there are! There are nothing but cats here, and I don’t mind that at all,” she said.

There is no mention on any of the islands of plans to attempt to curtail the exploding feline population.


“Cat islands” exist in and outside Japan and help support the tourism industry. Tashirojima is home to 86 people and about 100 cats, and is called “Cat Heaven Island."

Cats were first brought to the island to keep mice at bay from the silkworm farms. But when industry left the island, so did the human population, states Mail Online.com. Fishermen there regard cats as the gods of a good catch. There is even a cat shrine.

On the island of Malta, cats, which were aboard a ship to ward off rats, began breeding, and currently there are about 800,000 cats—double the population of islanders.

Every year, about 20,000 Japanese visit the Mediterranean island, many just to see the cats. Visitors can reportedly feed cats within a conservation area managed by a volunteer group.

No dogs are allowed on the “cat islands” and it is made clear that they are not welcome. It is likely most dogs are smart enough to not want to be on an island ruled by semi-feral cats.

Sources: The Japan News, Daily Mail

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