This week on the No More Homeless Pets Forum 2/02 â€“ 2/06 ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Feral Cats: How Can You Get the Word Out and People On Board?
Amy Santiago of Alley Cat Allies and Dr. Julie Levy of the University of Florida will address your questions on how to communicate with officials and individuals about humane alternatives to killing feral cats in your community.
You can e-mail your questions now to email@example.com
from Dr. Julie Levy
Few issues divide the humane community and policy makers as much as feral cats do. Tough questions abound, including how many cats there are, what their impact on public health and the environment is, how their numbers can be controlled, what their quality of life is, and what's best for the cats themselves.
Feral cats deserve their place at the "no-kill" table, but the lack of basic information about them leads to debates often focused on emotion, unsubstantiated statements, and unreasonable expectations.
In this week's forum, we'll try to develop strategies for bringing all the feral cat stakeholders to the table. This includes local political figures, animal control, public health officials, environmentalists, veterinarians, humane groups, funders, traditional and no-kill shelters, feral cat caretakers and, of course, the cats themselves.
â€“ Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, ACVIM
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida, Gainesville
from Amy Santiago
You already know how to successfully trap a feral cat and manage an entire colony. Perhaps youâ€™ve helped dozens or hundreds of feral cats. But, when you attempted to explain to your animal control officer and your city councilwoman how your trap/neuter/return efforts benefit the community, the words did not seem to come out right. Maybe you did not even know where to start the conversation.
Alley Cat Allies believes that mastering the art of explaining and articulating non-lethal stray and feral cat control is just as important in protecting lives as mastering the art of humane trapping.
E-mail us your questions if you want to learn how to effectively convince an elected official, stop a lethal trap-and-kill scheme, or elicit support from a property owner or apartment manager on the effectiveness of trap/neuter/return. Weâ€™ll take a positive approach to educating the uninformed about this important public issue.
Weâ€™ll help you with this challenge. And, teach you how to help other caregivers do the same. Weâ€™ll give you practical tools, resources and even sound bites.
â€“ Amy Santiago
Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies www.alleycat.org
Operation Catnip http://www.operationcatnip.org/
Dr. Julie Levy
Dr. Levy is a member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is currently an associate professor with the small animal medicine service at the University of Florida. Dr. Levy's research and clinical interests center on feline infectious diseases, neonatal kitten health, and humane alternatives for cat population control. She is the founder of two university-based feral cat spay/neuter programs (Operation Catnip), which have sterilized more than 20,000 cats since 1997. These programs form the basis for research on a variety of feral cat issues, including infectious diseases, caretaker characteristics, colony dynamics, and anesthesia protocols. Dr. Levy also maintains an active program investigating vaccines for nonsurgical contraception in cats.
Amy Santiago is a program manager with Alley Cat Allies (ACA). She helps implement trap/neuter/return (TNR) in jurisdictions around the nation, primarily by providing local feral cat activists and caregivers with the tools and materials they need to develop strategic campaigns for change in their towns.
She used her extensive knowledge of Florida animal activism to spearhead ACAâ€™s campaign to â€œProtect Floridaâ€™s Catsâ€ and to overturn the Florida Fish and Wildlifeâ€™s policy against TNR. Through these efforts, she helped coordinate an ever-growing network of activists throughout the state and helped establish a thriving statewide feral cat coalition. She also helped orchestrate a successful campaign to protect TNR programs statewide in Pennsylvania and continues to work on local issues in these two states. She is currently working on campaigns in California and New Jersey.
Amy has a bachelorâ€™s degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. Her work in animal issues began after graduating from college and moving to Great Britain, where she volunteered with the RSPCA. Her interest and involvement in animal issues continued and she went on to pursue a graduate degree in animals and public policy from the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to joining ACA, she successfully coordinated a ballot campaign in Florida that targeted corporate factory farms. As part of her work in Florida, she developed a network of thousands of activists and planned hundreds of events. Her experience includes grassroots organizing, advocacy, campaign management and event planning.
Amy shares her life with six wonderful men â€“ her husband and their five cats.