On September 16, 2013, the State of New Mexico, Department of Game & Fish, sent a letter to Mayor Berry of Albuquerque encouraging the City and the Animal Welfare Department to “discontinue support” of the Trap-Neuter-Return policy which releases feral cats into the city’s streets.
The letter, signed by Cal Baca, Chief, Wildlife Management Division, states:
“In 2012, Best Friends Animal Society partnered with Albuquerque (City) Animal Welfare Department to begin a three-year Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, funded by a grant from PetSmart Charities. In addition, the City has worked with New Mexico Animal Friends to cover the cost of sterilizing street cats. The Department of Game and Fish (Department) encourages the City and the Animal Welfare Department to discontinue support of these programs.”
The letter continues that, while Game and Fish Dept. supports spay-neuter programs for responsible pet owners, feral and free-roaming cats are not companion animals.
It also explains that, although supporters of such TNR programs refer to the released felines as “community cats,” in fact, these cats are nonnative predators introduced by humans.
Rachel Shockley of Fish and Game contends that TNR programs have not been shown to stabilize feral cat populations, as claimed, and that the number of feral cats continues to grow as food is provided.
The letter expresses serious concerns about the impact on wildlife, “Studies show that, even when fed daily by humans, cats continue to hurt wildlife. A finding by Courchamp, et. Al, in 2000, found that “supplemental feeding of free-roaming cat colonies may lead to hyperpredation and increased densities of cats, and free-ranging cats compete with native predators.”
Jim Ludwick of the city’s Animal Welfare Department says he plans to continue with the TNR program, as video footage shows large numbers of feral cats roaming streets and collecting in yards of residents.
Source: ABC Birds