Double standard concerning dogs and cats under control of owner

Apparently there is a double standard concerning the keeping of dogs and cats. Depending on the local laws (ordinances) and regulations that apply to a town or county in the USA, dogs have to be under the control of the owner at all times while cats are free to roam. That seems unfair to some.

Cat and dog and owner
Dogs are a greater potential health hazard to humans than cats. That’s the argument.

This state of affairs is changing as more restrictive laws are introduced in the USA concerning free-roaming cats and cat ownership in general.

The point that people make about this apparent double standard is that free-roaming cats can be a nuisance as far as they are concerned in that they defecate and urinate in public and private areas.

In general cats cannot tresspass on someone’s property but I think you’ll find that in some USA states/counties/cities there are byelaws making it illegal to allow a cat to ‘tresspass’ on a neighbor’s property. That is not to say that a tresspassing cat can be shot; this would also be illegal but in some places they can be legally trapped and presumably taken to a rescue center. These cats may be euthanised in a certain time if not reclaimed.

I see the arguments regarding double standards but I don’t think they exist. The obvious reason for tighter controls on dogs is because they are more dangerous to people in a very direct sense through dog attacks. Free-roaming dogs are more than a mere potential nuisance. They can be life threatening.

Free-roaming cats can arguably cause human health issues through spreading disease but these arguments are exaggerated. To impose laws on cat owners that are similar to those affecting dog owners would be an example of the nanny state: an overcontrolling influence by government.

In the UK cats can free-roam anywhere legally in any place as there are no byelaws in any city or county making it illegal to enter another person’s property. Cats cannot be held to ‘tresspass’ in the UK despite the fact that there is a percentage of the UK human population who don’t like this. The UK domestic cat is not bound by human boundaries.

However, cat owners need to be sensible and responsible. They need to listen to their neighbour’s wishes provided they are reasonable. Sometimes a domestic cat’s movements need to be restricted.

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Evil cat deliberately trips up todler in kitchen and enjoys it

Is this cat really getting some enjoyment out of tripping up an infant in the kitchen by sticking out his paw to catch the right leg of the child as she passes?

To the untrained eye it looks like that. To some it is feline behavior which gives the domestic cat a bad name. The cat even meows after the child has fallen.

The media say the cat is evil. This is very far from the truth. The cat does stick his right foreleg out to catch the infant’s leg but this is a reflex action from a cat who wishes to play and interact with one of the humans in the home. It is instinctive. It is about making contact with a moving object and the cat knows that the object belongs to one of the humans living in the house.

Obviously the cat will not realise that his actions will trip up the todler. He hasn’t figured that out. Clearly there is no malice. He wants to interact and perhaps have a play session. He won’t ratonalise the fact that the human is an infant who probably does not have the ability to play in a way which suits him.

Evil cat trips up todler and ennjoys it
Evil cat trips up todler and ennjoys it

This sort of reflex action often happens to me in a different way but the principles are the same.

I’ll set the scene. My cat, Gabriel, is in his cat condo/cat tent. I come to him and pet him, kiss him and talk to him. When I move my hand from his side after stroking him as I leave he instinctively sticks his paw out to grab it. It happens at lighting speed. He wants me to stay petting him and he wants to interact with me. In order to prevent him scatching my hand I distract him with my right hand before withdrawing my left hand. I do this by sratching the cat condo scratching post with my right hand. He hears the sound and looks up. At that moment I withdraw my left hand and walk away blowing him a kiss. It nearly always works.

Also it should be said that domestic cats do react to fast moving objects within range. It is in their DNA as a hunting reflex action.

This is my explanation for the behavior of this black-and-white cat. Do you have your own explanation for what went on in the video?

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Columbus County Animal Shelter receives $1,000 Maddie’s Fund grant

This is a positive story about how an animal shelter can go from being one of the worst in North Carolina to one doing their best to provide for the comfort of the cats in their care. Programs and grants are out there to help with the financial burden of daily operations. A lot of changes have come to Columbus County Animal Shelter, located in Whiteville, since Joey Prince took over in September 2015. He and his staff and volunteers show dedication and compassion to the unwanted pets who enter their facility.


The Columbus County Animal Shelter is pleased to announce that they have received a $1000 grant to help fund their cat spay/neuter program. The grant comes from Maddie’s Fund and was awarded because the shelter met the requirements of the Million Cat Challenge in May 2016. The goal is to be able to spay or neuter each cat that comes in to help deal with the county’s overpopulation issue. Columbus County Animal Shelter Joey Prince credits his team with improvements on their cat area saying

“Our team has really worked hard in the past year to improve the conditions for our shelter cats. We have added a new cat room for our adoptable cats and have had food and medicines donated by the community to make their lives better, so it’s nice to be recognized for all of our hard work.

Other improvements this year have included cages which encourage climbing and cat hammocks, which have proven to be a big hit with both the cats and the kittens.


In addition, the shelter, in tandem with the Columbus Humane Society, operates a trap/spay-neuter/release program for feral cats. Cats are humanely trapped, receive basic shots including rabies, are either spayed or neutered and then released to area farmers who have requested cats to assist in vermin control. The Humane Society then performs random, unannounced spot check to ensure the cats are being cared for.


The shelter is currently working on an enclosed outside play area which would allow the cats to have more time out of their cages, and is currently seeking additional grant funding opportunities for this project.

Their cats are on display and available for adoption from Monday-Friday between 8:30 am-4 pm.

Photos courtesy of Joey Prince.

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Seagulls circle above cat swimming in sea half mile off Turkish coast

Turkish cat rescued at sea
Turkish cat rescued at sea

How this cat ended up in the sea hundreds of yards off the coast in an area called the Golden Horn, Turkey is anyone’s guess. The Golden Horn is an inlet near Istanbul. The cat was swimming strongly towards the shore but seagulls were circling above. A marine cleaning crew first tried to rescue the cat with a net but the cat refused to cooperate. The cat turned towards the boat clearly understanding that it offered a way out. The crew then used a device on the ship which is designed to remove waste from the sea. You’ll see the cat scamper up a conveyor belt.

My wild guess is that the cat was thrown from a boat into the sea and the cat was swimming to shore at the time although you can see from the video that the shore was over half a mile away. Cats are excellent swimmers. And they are great survivors. This cat would have made it to the shore but it is nice to see him/her rescued. Although personally I would not have found it amusing that the cat objected to being scooped up into the net.

The cat would be a standard random bred cat. It looks like he is a what I call a ‘Van cat’ – a random bred cat with Turkish Van markings.

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Leash laws against free-roaming cats means death for Murfreesboro shelter cats

TNR (trap, neuter, return) is a proven community program that cuts down on cat overpopulation while allowing a feral cat to live out the remainder of its life without adding to the number of cats in the respective colony. One animal shelter in Tennessee is learning just how much higher euthanasia rates can be when a TNR program isn’t in place, and can’t be put into place because it’s against county ordinance.

cages at Rutherford County, TN shelter are empty because of high euthanasia rate (News 5 screenshot)
Cages at Murfreesboro shelter are empty because of high euthanasia rate (News5 screenshot)

Rutherford County PAWS, a kill shelter located in Murfreesboro, has seen progress over the years. In 2007-2008, 83 percent of cats were euthanized. That number is down to 42 percent for 2015-2016. September did show an increase in animals killed, which has shelter staff concerned. Shelter statistics show 109 cats were adopted, 163 cats were euthanized (42 dogs were also euthanized) and 55 were reclaimed by their owners.

PAWS director Michael Gregory says the euthanasia numbers are driven up due to the feral cat population. TNR programs that have helped other counties in Tennessee are illegal in Rutherford County. Cats who aren’t friendly and loving are considered unadoptable and most end up being killed because it’s against the law for cats to roam freely. Gregory stated in an interview with NewsChannel 5

“There are also shelters that have just stopped handling cats at all, they only deal with dogs. I don’t think we’ll ever see that here because of the number of complaints we receive.”

To help increase adoptions the shelter now has monthly adoption specials. Between October 26 and October 31, an adopter can name their own price on a pet. While this is a good start, cat advocates should take a stand before county government and push for a local TNR program. A list of Rutherford County commissioners can be found here. A list of Murfreesboro city council members and their contacts can be found here.

According to the leash laws of Rutherford County, any dog or cat may be picked up by animal control if not on the owners’ property. It will be taken to the county shelter and held for three business days. If not claimed, the county may put the animal up for adoption or kill the animal.

For those who say TNR is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, and that feral cats should simply be killed at the shelter, the numbers don’t lie. If killing was the answer, the number of cats entering the shelter would never increase but the numbers have because feral cats not under a TNR program continue to breed. Many give birth to multiple litters each year. Low-cost spay and neuter programs for household pets is another option this county should look into.

Animal advocates, please reach out to the county and city council members and suggest they implement a TNR program for this area.


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Questions over this Salmonella superbug found in Australian cat

You may have read about this: a drug resistant bacteria (a Salmonella strain) has been detected in a cat. And they say it can be transmitted to people but (a) how did the cat acquire this bacteria (b) why is it drug resistant (c) how can it be transmitted to people – bacteria are not like viruses, they have to be planted into a person (e.g by physically ingesting the bacteria) rather than being inhaled as is the case with airborne viruses. It is said that the bacteria is highly contagious. But how?

I just have this big question mark hanging over this story. And it comes from Australia. The authorities as we know what to eradicate feral cats in Australia and there is a growing hostility towards all cats who go outside. Is this superbug scare the build up to another argument from the Aussie authorities to keep all domestic cats inside and another reason to exteriminate by any means the Aussie feral and stray cat?

Here is a video about this bug although it does not tell us an awful lot.

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Wild Cat Species in Illinois

Illinois is in the ‘Midwest’ of the USA, just below the Great Lakes. This is quite important because it is a relatively densely populated and intensively cultivated area of the USA. It is a state in the second tier of most densely populated states of the USA. Human population density is relevant to the survival of wild cat species: the more humans there are the less wild cats there are. Also, more farming means less natural habitat for the wild cats.

Bobcat in a backyard
Bobcat in a backyard. Apologies: I don’t have the photographer’s name.

In 2002 Mel and Fiona Sunquist writing in their wonderful book, Wild Cats of the World show a large blank hole around the state of Illinois where the American bobcat was deemed to be more or less absent at that time because of the reasons stated above: too many people and too much farming.

It is interesting to note that the IUCN Red List (the best source of information regarding the current distribution of wild cat species) tells us that the bobcat is officially present in Illinois; in around 90% of the state. This is an improvement on 2015.

Area where bobcat is supposedly absent in Illinois
Area where bobcat is supposedly absent in Illinois, USA. Note: this is an improvement on 2015. In other words, there are more bobcats in Illinois in 2016 compared to 2015.

No doubt occupants of that state will tell us that the bobcat is present throughout the entire state. Please report sightings in a comment.

There are no other wild cat species in Illinois according to the experts. The other American wild cat which was once found across America, the puma or mountain lion, is no longer seen in Illinois or indeed throughout the entire eastern half of the country. This super wild cat was ‘extirpated’ (eradicated) from the eastern United States by the late 1890s’ (except for a small population in Florida).

However sometimes pumas do roam from the west to the east. They can travel vast distances looking for a home range. A male puma might travel into or through Illinois.

Some people believe that small isolated puma populations still exist in remote parts of the cat’s former range. There are quite frequent sightings of pumas in the east of the USA. Even on this website there are recorded sightings in North Carolina for example.

Others argue that the sightings are of escaped captive cats or cats that have been deliberately released.

Therefore the wild cat species in Illinois are (a) the American bobcat and (b) perhaps the odd puma.

There should be no other sightings of, for example, the small wild cats such as the ocelot or the jaguarundi. These cats do not live in Illinois. Occasionally there are possible sightings of these cats in the south bordering Mexico nd in Florida but I for one have not heard of any sightings in Illinois.

See wild cats of the world map – shows where the wild cat species are found by country.

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Social media and disturbing photos expose horrific conditions at Bennettsville Animal Shelter

Thanks to the quick thinking of two sisters and the actions of an “army” of animal advocates, a South Carolina shelter is being forced to clean up its act, with more improvements to come, after being exposed using social media.

cats found with no food or water
Cats found with no food or water

Jessica Reed Kulas of Moore, South Carolina was traveling through Bennettsville on Saturday with her sister when the two came across a sign reading Bennettsville Animal Shelter. Thinking of adding a pet to the family, the sisters decided to check out this shelter and walked into hell. Jessica describes what they found at the Huckabee Street facility in an October 23 Facebook post

“My sister and I were visiting in Bennettsville SC yesterday when we came across a sign that read “Animal Shelter” so we decided to take a look as she is thinking of possibly bringing a dog back with her to Maine. This is what we came across. Location off of W Main (110 Huckabee St). Horrific conditions. No food or water for most of the animals and the smell of feces and urine everywhere. There was little light and most of the animals were petrified. We found a freezer full of black bags 🙁 I believe they gas the animals here. The gate was open and no one was working here. No one to talk to to find out what is going on. We found the Humane Society of Marlboro county, but it was closed. My sister and I are just sickened by this. It broke our hearts to drive away, but we didn’t know what to do.”

dogs were found standing in their own filth
dogs were found standing in their own filth

When Jessica saw the conditions of the animals, she immediately started snapping photos with her cell phone. The photos have since been shared thousands of times on social media. The Humane Society of the United States-South Carolina was contacted. They, along with many others, got in touch with Bennettsville mayor Heath Harpe. Harpe stated in an interview with WBTW that the shelter has since been cleaned up. Jessica elaborated on the conditions they found when she spoke with the news station

“We opened one of the doors and it was where the cat cages are. There were two little kitties right beside each other one was a orange tabby the other was a regular tabby. The orange tabby had no water, I mean bone dry. The cat litter was full of feces and urine and it smelled and he was balled up in the corner poor little thing.”

black bags were found in a freezer
Black bags were found in a freezer

Mayor Harpe was able to answer many of the concerns addressed on social media over the weekend. Bennettsville received a $5,000 grant from the US Humane Society in 2013 to get rid of the gas chamber. It’s still on the property, but Harpe says it’s not being used, saying it was covered in cobwebs when he inspected it. He said the freezer is used to store dead animals found in the city, who are then disposed of at a DHEC- certified facility.

structural damage
structural damage

The Bennettsville Animal Shelter is open from 10am until 12pm seven days a week. Harpe stated the city has one animal control officer but isn’t sure who was supposed to be at the shelter over the weekend. It’s EXTREMELY troubling to know the gate was unlocked and the shelter unsecured. Perhaps the shelter doesn’t realize there are monsters out there who break into shelters just to kill the animals inside. It’s fortunate we’re reading about a case of neglect rather than a case of animals being found killed!

Bennettsville Animal Shelter
Bennettsville Animal Shelter

As for the $5,000 grant given to the shelter back in 2013-what are they waiting for? The money would go a long way on improving the shelter. Harpe told WBTW he’s in contact with contractors who plan to repair some of the structural damage to the inside of old cinder block structure visible in the photos taken.

A video that shows more of the cats and dogs living in their own filth without food or water can be seen below:

Our thanks go out to these two ladies. They could have walked away and done nothing for these poor cats and dogs. Instead, Jessica and her sister took the first step in gathering a small army of animal advocates who quickly spoke up to help the animals. No information is available as to whether rescues have been allowed to step in and get the shelter pets to a better place. If anyone knows more, please leave a comment.

What’s most disturbing to me is there are many, many more shelters in the same condition. Dogs and cats are being neglected and no one is the wiser. People, if you ever visit a shelter and see conditions like this, please report them.

NOTE: Photos courtesy of Jessica Reed Kulas. She and her sister were able to feed and water the animals before leaving the shelter.


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