This is a good news story and a success for all participants particularly the cats!
There was row going on at a retail park area in Okemos, Michigan. It was a classic clash between large retail outlets with huge carparks and feral cat advocates over the feral cat colonies in the area. I wrote about it last October (click to read).
The businesses wanted rid of the cats anyway possible because they thought the cats were detrimental to the running of their stores. They said that the food put down by people to feed the cats attracted raccoons and the raccoons alarmed some customers.
Cat shelters were being torn up. There were fears that the cats who’d been cared for would starve and freeze to death if they were forced by the businesses to be abandoned. Cat advocates objected to proposals for the inhumane treatment of the cats.
The argument reached social media and the online news which itself became detrimental to the businesses because it pointed to their uncaring attitude.
The Meridian Township’s economic director, Chris Buck, got the message. He realised that the bad publicity from a callous approach by the retail outlets towards the cats might negatively impact profits more than having the feral cats there and cared for.
I’m glad we were able to come to a solution that was safe and humane. I love animals…It sounded like a big miscommunication. – Burm Kim
Sensibly the parties came up with a humane solution. It is a success for cat advocates and the cats. Buck worked with the business owners and the Capital Area Humane Society to come up with a plan. Burm Kim of East Lansing, an animal lover and general manager of Golden Gate LLC agreed to allow a cat colony in woods at his property where shelters can be built out of sight together with feeding stations. Merrill Ford Okemos is also allowing feral cat shelters on its property. Some of their employees and those at Home Depot have volunteered to help.
The feral cats with be under a proper TNR program so their numbers will gradually decline. Trapping will begin in the spring.
The Humane Society will oversee the plan and provide food. Fifteen wooden shelters are being installed as I type this. Each shelter takes three cats.
Comment: It’s an excellent model for any other retail park where there are feral cats. What they have come up with is the only sensible and decent way to manage feral cats. In general, the public, the paying customers, will like it. The public is smarter than businesses think. They can see wrong doing and take their custom elsewhere. Treating feral cats in a kindly manner is actually good for business.
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