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Feral cats of Jerusalem are about to be mass killed!!! Your help needed!!!

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I just got this via email from a cat lover from the Hebrew university -

A few days ago I heard from the Jerusalem municipal vets
two important things. I beg you to distribute the content
of this letter as wide as you can, it's very important!

o The Dogs law will soon be amended to include also cats.

The meaning of this is that cats will have to be licensed
and all or most "street cats" will become "illegal".
This will make it easy to kill them in large numbers.

o The last 4 Rabies cases in people were caused by cats.

This is at least half a lie, in one article that I don't
locate now, Dr. Boris Yakobson, the No. 1 Israeli expert
on Rabies (and head of the Kimron Veterinary Institute)
says that in the 3 cases of 1996/7 it was a Dalak or Samor.
In only one of these cases there was even a suspicion
that a cat was involved. In the last case the animal
involved was not found, and the Veterinary Services
epidemiologist Dr. Michael Van Ham says that the victim
and her neighbour said it was a cat.


Abraham Agay


The city of Jerusalem is known in Israel as the most hostile to cats. I have numerous blood chilling stories about mass killings there wherever they can. Their vet says he "doesn't believe" in TNR but I think he simply hates the cats. In one particular case someone trapped 11 cats and brought them in to the municipal vet. The Cat Welfare Society of Israel was notified by the people who took care of the colony and contacted the vet to ask that the cats be relocated to the CWSI facilities (far away from Jerusalem). There was no reason for the vet to say no, yet within a couple of days he had the poor cats killed instead

Jerusalem is a holy city - holy to all 3 major religions. I truly believe that those who run the city have a moral obligation that is greater than that of a regular municipality. Apparently, the Mayor of Jerusalem thinks the same. Here's a quote from the main page on their website (second paragraph):

Jerusalem is like no other city on earth. It is holy to the world's three major monotheistic religions, and was fought over for three millennia by a variety of peoples and nations. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people, but, in a special sense, Jerusalem belongs to the whole world.
I call upon you citizens of the world to intervene and contact the Mayor of Jerusalem. Please let him know how wrong he is to treat cats like vermin. Ask that they learn from Tel Aviv (where TNR is implemented exclusively and successfully for the past 7 years!).

The Mayor's name is: Uri Lupolianski
His email address is: mayor@jerusalem.muni.il
Address - Safra Square 1, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone - 972-2-6297987
Fax - 972-2-6296407

Please send this information on to as many cat lovers as you possibly can! If he gets several thousands of emails he may change his mind!!!

The Jerusalem website can be found here:
post #2 of 35
Oh, Anne! I am so horrified to read this. Your group has done such a good job of educating people about cats, I can't imagine how these rvil people have managed to gain the power needed to treat cats in such a cruel and heartless manner. I will write right away.
post #3 of 35
This is horrific news. Writing now, and then I'm sending this link to as many places as I can think of. Anne - I haven't received anything in my mailbox from CWSI - are they planning on sending an emergency letter out to their list or anything? Are other cat sites included in any of those mailing lists? Or should I go ahead and contact www.SaveSamoa.org's mailing list?
post #4 of 35
I just sent this letter:

June 30, 2003

Mayor Uri Lupolianski
Office of the Mayor
Safra Square 1
Jerusalem, Israel

Via e-mail to: mayor@jerusalem.muni.il

Dear Mayor Lupolianski:

I am often shocked at the treatment of animals by other countries and cultures. I understand that many do not have the resources at their disposal to deal with the problem of stray animals with a humane approach, however, frequently the problem is simply one of education and not one of money. It has been proven in Tel Aviv and many cities of the United States that humane methods of stray cat population control actually cost less than all other options. But it requires proper education about the available options(1,3). Israel is an educated country, and Jerusalem is one of the most important cultural centers on Earth. To quote your website,

“Jerusalem is like no other city on earth. It is holy to the world's three major monotheistic religions, and was fought over for three millennia by a variety of peoples and nations. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people, but, in a special sense, Jerusalem belongs to the whole world.”

Why, then, is Jerusalem setting such a terrible example to the rest of the world, let alone Israel? It has come to my attention that Jerusalem will soon be amending the “Dog Law” to include cats. My understanding is that this will require the licensing of all cats. Here in the United States, we also require licensing of all pet cats and dogs. The money is then used to fund shelters, animal control and low-cost spay/neuter programs. However, “street” (stray or feral) cats are still dealt with in a humane fashion, and animal cruelty laws prevent poisoning or other methods of mass killing stray animals. My understanding is that Jerusalem has no such intent, and that the reason for amending the “Dog Law” to include cats is to enable the mass extermination of cats, considered no better than vermin.

Please learn a lesson from Tel Aviv! Jerusalem, a cultural center of the world, the Capitol of the State of Israel should be ashamed! There are humane methods of dealing with the problem of stray cats. Tel Aviv has educated itself and has taken appropriate measures. Why would Jerusalem not follow suit? I, for one, expect far more from a city such as Jerusalem, and I write this letter in protest of your cruel treatment of stray animals. Jerusalem should be an example to the world, a city of which we can all be proud! I am ashamed for you. It is a sad, sad day when a city that has seen so much strife through the ages must inflict further unnecessary cruelty upon defenseless species.

If euthanization worked as a method of animal population control, the U.S. would not have approx. 60 million feral cats.

Please learn from our experience and from that of Tel Aviv. Here is a very persuasive argument against extermination as a method of stray animal control. Euthanization does not work!

The Example of Marion Island – Eradication Does Not Work(2)

“Marion Island, southeast of South Africa, is a small inhospitable island (12 miles x 8 miles). In 1949, a group of scientists left the island, leaving behind five unsterilized cats. By 1975 there were 2,500 cats on the island preying on ground-nesting seabirds. Deliberate infection with feline enteritis killed about 65% of the cats. The remaining 35% developed immunity and continued to breed. Jack Russell terrier dogs were used to flush out the remaining cats, and between 1986 and 1989 further cats were exterminated by hunting. At that time, it was determined that further poisoning was necessary. Poison that also killed the birds was used to eliminate the balance of the cat population.” (2)

It took 16 years to eradicate 2,500 isolated cats from a small island with “rapid” methods of eradication that cannot be used in populated areas. How can euthanization be successful as a method of animal control anywhere that new animals can move in and recolonize cleared areas?

Please learn this lesson! Tel Aviv practices a method of feral cat control called “Trap-Neuter-Release” (TNR). This has been proven as an efficient and cost-effective method of stray cat population control in many cities of the United States AND in Tel Aviv.(3) Please spare the stray cats of Jerusalem a horrible death. Please save the citizens of Jerusalem from unnecessary tax spending. Please learn the important lesson – no matter what your view of stray cats – eradication does not work.

Require licensing of stray cats! But then please also include laws against animal cruelty that make poisoning or any mass killing of stray cats illegal. Use the licensing fees to fund low-cost or free spay/neuter programs, and effectively manage the stray populations with TNR programs. Tel Aviv is making it work. So can you. Please make Jerusalem a city of which the entire world can be proud.

I am attaching an Adobe Acrobat (ver 4.0) file for your further education. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Very Sincerely yours,


1. See attached document.
2. “Feral Cats – Extermination is not the Answer,” © 1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, Sarah Hartwell. http://www.messybeast.com/eradicat.htm
3. Please reference:

1)\tThe Feral Cat Coalition in San Diego. Main site: www.feralcat.com . "Is spay/neuter/release working? Statistics from the San Diego Department of Animal Control as of 6/30/97 show that while the number of cats adopted or claimed by owners has remained fairly constant over the years, there has been a decrease of almost 50% in the number of cats impounded and killed as compared to 1992 (when the FCC clinics started). Before the FCC was formed, the number of cats impounded and killed had been going up 15% per year!" There are great links right on the home page. Notable are:

a) "A Model for Humane Reduction of Feral Cat Populations," by Michelle S. Chappell DVM (as published in California Veterinarian September/October 1999): www.feralcat.com/michelle.html

b) "A Report on Trap/Alter/Release Programs," copyright 1995 Karen Johnson. National Pet Alliance, 408-363-0700. www.feralcat.com/feral-tr.html

c) Same references to San Diego, but a great description of how the program works. "The Race To Outpace Feral Cat Overpopulation," a symposium presentation by Linda Kelson, Feral Cat Coalition Board Member. www.feralcat.com/kelson.html

d) Case study: Gillis W. Long Hansen's Disease Center (GWLHDC). Article: "Neutering of Feral Cats as an Alternative to Eradication Programs," by Karl I. Zaunbrecher, DVM, and Richard E. Smith, DVM, MPH, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 203, Number 3, August 1, 1993. (Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA). www.feralcat.com/zaunbrecher.html

3) "Kill the Problem, Not the Cats," author Sherrie Walker. Published October 1, 2000. The fourth paragraph references Stanford's successful program; the last paragraph of this two-page article references San Diego and FCC and says: "In the first 4 1/2 years of operation, the Feral Cat Coalition sterilized over 7,000 cats, reducing cat impounds and euthanasia by 50% and saving the county nearly $1 million." www.suite101.com/print_article.cfm/8122/46956

4) PAWS ( www.paws.org ) - The Progressive Animal Welfare Society, the largest animal advocacy and direct care organization in the Pacific Northwest (Kings County, WA, Snohomish County, WA - incl. Seattle and Everett). This article sites successful programs in NJ and NH, although those are spay/neuter programs, not TNR, but it makes the point. "Overcoming the Pet Population Crisis: The Effectiveness of Municipal Spay & Neuter Programs," by Tamar Puckett, MPA (a PAWS Animal Advocate): http://www.paws.org/work/factsheet/a...ets/spay3.html . There are more articles available through the website on the advocacy page: www.paws.org/work/factsheet/advocacyfactsheets/

5) Sarah Hartwell (see #1) also published a short piece: "Do Pet Cats Contribute to the Feral Problem?" ©2000. A diagram outlining the relationship between pet cats and the creation of stray populations. http://www.messybeast.com/feralcycle.htm


If anyone wants a copy of the PDF document I sent, just PM or e-mail me.

post #5 of 35
I got a notice that the delivery failed. I'll rewrite it to exclude the attachment and see if that was the problem.
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for writing! Laurie, please let me know if the email still doesn't go through - I'll phone them and ask if there's another email. If not, I'll copy your letter and fax it in to them from here.

As for the CWSI - I don't really know. I know that the guy that wrote the original complaint is in touch with them and that they are constantly fighting the city of Jerusalem. Would you believe it that a couple of years ago Jerusalem's city council tried to pass a local legistlation saying that feeding feral cat is against the law!?!?

Fortunately, the CWSI took them to court and it was declared cruel and illegal.
post #7 of 35
Anne, I got another delivery failure notification.

I just e-mailed you a copy of the word document so you can print it out and fax it. Thank you so much!!!

Also... I just realized the letter still says "via e-mail" on it. Maybe you can just cross that out and write in via fax?


post #8 of 35
Hmmmm....my e-mail went through (at least I think it did). I wonder what the problem is.
post #9 of 35
I don't know - the message doesn't say why delivery failed. It didn't say "user unknown" or anything like that... ???

Here's the message - did I miss something?

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.


Reporting-MTA: dns;NTJEXC.Muni.jerusalem.muni.il
Received-From-MTA: dns;fw-jer.ladpc
Arrival-Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 16:27:08 +0200

Final-Recipient: rfc822;mayor@jerusalem.muni.il
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1
post #10 of 35
Mine went through as well Laurie, so I am baffled...Great letter though!
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
Laurie? did you get my last email? I think you should add your contact info on the letter before I fax it in - they can't just hit "reply" on a fax
post #12 of 35
I just sent the revised letter w/addy.
post #13 of 35
Perhaps the mailbox is too full to take any more emails...
post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
Anyone who wants to fax them - please send me your letter via email and I'll fax it over to you. I just heard another horrible story about the municipal vet of Jerusalem... I met with two wonderful ladies today in a cat behavior consultations. These women have 16 cats and they take wonderful care of them - it was a pleasure working with them. Anyway, they live in Jerusalem and were taking care of feral cats living around their building. Angry neighbors called the municipal vet who came over to their place personally. He was let into the house and told them that although their cats are very well taken care of (he used the word examplary himself), if he gets another report about them helping any feral cats, he will confiscate and kill 12 of their cats and won't allow them to keep more than 4!!!! As if there was any connection between the two things! He simplay and brutally threatened them using his authority and holding their pet cats as hostages! He yelled at them and told them that people like them who feed cats outside are responsible for the eradication of birds. He said not only feeding them not allowed by him, he won't even let them just spay and neuter those cats!!!! He says if anyone traps a cat in Jerusalem that would only be in order to kill the cat!!! He sees no other options for ferals!

I'm considering setting up a web page just to fight the city of Jerusalem and get international public opinion to weigh in. As this woman told me, cat lovers in Jerusalem live in fear and are constantly threatened and harrased by local authorities!
post #15 of 35
Okay, I was "out of the game" for a while now, and Im reading this, and I feel the blood rushing to my head. I thought this kind of brutal actions was almost behind us.
We need to put a stop to this.

Im writing my own letter now. If it wont go through - I will email it to you Anne, so it can be faxed.

shame on the new mayor for letting this happen! (I can't say Im surprised, though. I did not expect much of him!)
post #16 of 35
Okya, my email did not go through either.

Anne - I emailed ou a copy. Can you please fax it?
I will email everyone I know regarding this.

I hope everyone will do the same!!!
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
Great letter nunny - do you mind if I post it here as well? I will fax it first thing Sunday morning to make sure there's someone there to receive it.
post #18 of 35
No problem, you can post it here. I'm sending some emails to peope about it right now...
Thanks Anne!
post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Nunny's letter -

Mayor Uri Lupolianski
Office of the Mayor
Safra Square 1
Jerusalem, Israel

Re: Mass Killing of Jerusalem Cats

Dear Mr Mayor,

My name is Nofar Shoshani, and I am a resident of the City of Givatayim, writing to you from Boston, where Im spending my summer.

You know, people here in the Jewish community look up to Israel, as the land of wonders, the land of the Jews. And from all the places in Israel, Jerusalem is the city admired most by Jew in the world. The city that combines people of all religions, that city that should symbolize peace and good will.

And what do the people around the world get? stories of a vicious mayor, that do not care about what happens to the animals in the streets, and employs an ignorant City Vet, that threatens people around the city - that they can’t take care fo the cats around them.

Is that what we want people to hear? Isnt Jeruslaem controversial enough, that you have to put "more oil in the fire"? Is it okay for you to take the lives of creatures made by no other than Nature and God?

I think not. I am starting my own little campaign here, in the Boston area, against your actions in regards of feral cats in your city. I think you, as a believing Jew, should have more respect for living creatures than anyone else. This situation of blood in the streets - is on your hands. You have the say. You can either choose to carry on with your mass killing of cats, and rise all of us - animal lovers - against you and your people, or you can choose to follow the humane thing to do. Believe me, there are many of us, out there, that will not sit quietly watching you Kill innocent animals. We will fight you in any means possible, until you realize what you’re doing is wrong, cruel, brutal, and against Jewish values.

I hope that this is the last we will hear of such cruelty in our country. This has gone far enough. Enough cats were brutally killed. We will not rest until you stop the massacre.

There are better ways to control feral cat population in your city.

Stop the Killing.

I give you my word, we will NOT rest until this horrible chapter ends.


Nofar Shoshani

Animal Lover
post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 
I emailed Rivi, the head of the CWSI to tell her of this thread and here's her reply -

Thanks for sending this to me!

I have to deal with a few cats here at the clinic and than must go home!! Can you please tell the Forum participants that we are working very hard on the extermination of cats issue - it's happenning all over Israel right now - because of a few rabid animals found near a few cities (Jerusalem is one and Be-er sheva
is another). We are about to write about all this
at our next newletter - coming out in about two weeks and if anyone wants to join our mailing list and get updates - he is most welcome to send me an e-mail about this.

AND - MOST important of all - PLEASE DO MENTION OUR FUND-RAISING TRIP TO NYC 20th-26th, Washington DC 27th-30th, and St.
Louis 31st-3rd, where we hope to meet with cat lovers who care about cats' welfare in Israel and who can become donors to the purpose of helping stray and feral cats in Israel. What we hope to arrange are meetings over coffee or dinner where we can talk about what
we do and what we can achieve if we get more
fundings and hope to spread the word about
all this.

Ms. Rivi Mayer
The Cat Welfare Society of Israel
post #21 of 35
Thread Starter 
And a note, not to do with Jerusalem in specific but with the cats of Israel. Check out the webcam at the kittens adpoption room (where people who come to adopt can meet some of the kittens):

The room is packed full as it's the kitten season hardly anyone comes to adopt while on the other hand people keep dumping cats at the shelter... I was there for half the day today and it broke my heart - so many lovely lovely cats and kittens, yearning for human touch and compassion sorry - just had to vent about it as it made me feel really bad today
post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
Last I heard things were not good. The city has decided to poison cats and dogs found on the streets (that would be ferals, strays or even outdoors house cats). They are calling people to keep their cats indoors only and will fine anyone whose cat is found outside (if they don't kill the cat first).

They don't seem to mind the public pressure...

post #23 of 35
That is beyond belief! How can they justify such cruelty?!

post #24 of 35
Several of us had problems. I don't know if you saw at the beginning of the thread, but Anne offered to fax any letters you want to get to the Mayor of Jerusalem. Just e-mail you letter to her and she will fax it on.
post #25 of 35
Got this in the mail a few days ago.



Dear Laurie:
Your letter to Mayor Lupolianski has been directed to my department. I will respond briefly. Firstly, I am very impressed with the large amount of "research" that you have undertaken as to the control of feral cats in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. Unfortunately, it appears that you are unfamiliar with a large and recently completed study that was undertaken locally. The project was collaborated between Dr. Tsipori of the Herzlia Veterinary Municipal Services and the University of Tel-Aviv (Supervised by Prof. Yoram Yom Tov and the thesis presented by Anvel Brikner). To summarize: After a one and a half year project, in which stray cats from Herzlia, Israel were captured, sterilized, and subsequently released in the same region, it was observed that the prevalence of stray cats increased significantly in the given region. In this comprehensive thesis, it was concluded that unless a program in which at least 95% of the resident cat population were sterilized, the effect of cat population control would not be achieved. Unfortunately, in practice, this is not possible for various reasons such as a lack of the available veterinary manpower to carry out such surgical procedures on a large scale and for a sustained period of time. In addition, not all cats are ever caught in the available cat traps and those that are not sterilized reach maturity within a short period (approximately 6 months of age). These cats are able to breed several times a year with each litter resulting in anything up to five kittens. The Tel Aviv Municipality has definitely not achieved the desired objectives in its check on cat population control and, Municipal Veterinarian, Dr. Galin, would be the first to admit so.

Although your compassion for animals is well appreciated, you would be better informed if reading papers written by objective researchers instead of basing information on those opinions of welfare groups looking out after their own interests. I would be pleased to discuss the problem with you if still not convinced with the lack of effectiveness of large regional neuter programs.

Thank you sincerely
Dr. Arieh Litvak
Head Veterinarian
Municipality of Jerusalem


First of all, I think he missed the point - which was the lack of effectiveness of extermination programs. The information I provided to them included the study of Marion Island. It was not a study conducted by a sympathetic "welfare group." It was a group of scientists that left cats behind on a small Island in 1949. Because a population of 5 cats grew to over 3400 in 30 years and was decimating the native bird population, it was decided to exterminate the cats. Here's the reference:


Copyright 1994, 2003 Sarah Hartwell

"Marion Island, south-east of South Africa between Antarctica and South Africa, is a small inhospitable island (approx 20 km x 13 km [ 12 miles x 8 miles] = 30,000 hectares). In 1993, after a 16-year battle, more than 3000 feral cats have been eradicated from Marion Island. It is believed to be the first time that so many cats have been eliminated from an island of this size. It took 16 years of cost and effort to eradicate 2,500 (lower estimate) to 3,400 (higher estimate) cats from a small island where the vacuum effect could not occur.

"In 1949, a group of scientists left the island, leaving behind 5 unneutered cats. By 1975 there were 2,200 - 2,500 cats on the island preying on ground-nesting seabirds. The population was increasing by an estimated 23% each year. By 1977, there were an estimated 3,400 cats. Deliberate infection with feline enteritis killed around 65% of the cats but the remaining 35% developed an immunity to the disease and continued to breed. By 1982, there may have been as few as 620 surviving cats, all immune to the virus and breeding further generations of immune cats.

Jack Russell Terrier dogs were used to flush out the remaining cats and between 1986 and 1989 further cats were exterminated by hunting. 897 cats were shot. It still required traps with poison baits to eliminate those cats which had eluded the dogs and guns. There appears to be no information on how many seabirds ate poisoned bait and died themselves. No cats have been seen since 1991 and in 1993, the programme was declared a success. Eradication programmes can only succeed in relatively small and geographically isolated areas. On the mainland, the area would quickly be flooded with cats moving into the vacated area."

BTW - the information I sent was not "studies" by welfare groups, but not-for-profit organizations that manage TNR programs IN CONJUNCTION WITH the municipalities or counties. They weren't studies, but actual results of tax-payer cost savings in San Fran, San Diego, one or two University campuses, Kings County (Seattle), etc.

Gary has very kindly offered to call these people and have a "chat" with them. His ability to speak Hebrew combined with his ... ability to express himself well verbally should help.

He was just as upset at the tone of the letter as I was. Very snide.
post #26 of 35
and very condescending as well. Carries off the attitude that what they are doing is completely justified because nothing else works. I would be interested to hear how that phone conversation goes Laurie.
post #27 of 35
Oh this is sad! good luck to all those writing letters.

post #28 of 35
Hmm why do I have a feeling you were just pat on the head & sent on your way as a poor, child who doesn't know better. That was really condensending.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
How patronizing and how typical of the Jerusalem department of veterinary services As far as I know, Dr. Galin, the wonderful Tel Aviv veterinarian does not think his efforts since 1994 have failed... Not only do they continue but they are actually about to implement a wider plan and have more areas in central Israel covered by TNR.

Like you said, he missed the mark by not relating to the fact that eradication isn't effective. The only argument there which might be plausible is their lack of funds (which of course would only mean they really do need to switch to TNR only they don't realize it yet). But that doesn't explain their constant harming of cats and preventing people from taking care of feral cats at their own expense (including spaying and neutering) and I have at least two cases where the city vet tried to and in one case succeeded in threatening people from taking care of feral cats.

One of the students in my course is from Jerusalem. She and her partner have the financial means and certainly the wish to take care of the ferals around them. Moreover, they were having a problem with one of their indoors-only cats and I suggested that they need to trap a local male cat and have him neutered as he was stressing the cats (his scent is carried in through the windows). They told me there's nothing they'd like to do more - to trap the local cats and have them all spayed and neutered. But - the municipal vet himself came to their place, invited by the neighbors back when they let their cats outside (and God forbid were feeding the ferals occasionally as well). He told them that if a neighbor reports that they are having any contact with the ferals at all, he will consfiscate their pet cats! They have 16 cats, all rescues, and they take excellent care of their cats! He was the first to admit that they were. But he said it's withing his authority to limit them to 4 cats only and if they don't play by his rules he's going to take away 12 of their cats and have them put down!!! As you can imagine, he touched the one point where any cat lover would be his hostage... they daren't do anything for fear of their cat being taken away from them and killed - how more vicious can you get?

Laurie, would you please forward a copy of his reply to Rivi? I'm sure she can also help you with plenty of local facts as well about the history of the Jerusalem municipality and its treatment of cats. She can maybe give Gary some ammo for his talk.
post #30 of 35
Good idea. Will do. Thanks, Anne.
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