The residents of the City of Rochelle have educated the city’s management and changed their attitude to feral cats. The initial Facebook post setting out their plan asking residents to trap cats and deliver them for euthanasia backfired horrible and caused outrage (see Elisa’s earlier article by clicking on this link). Even the designated veterinarian rejected the plan and refused to participate in euthanizing the trapped cats.
The city’s manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said in a meeting that he did not sign off the feral cat killing policy (see video below). He is more or less admitting to an administrative mistake. However, I am not sure that it was a mistake. I think he is trying to wriggle out of taking responsibility for the debacle. Or am I being unkind?
You can see that he also says that a previous policy authorised the killing of feral cats and the new policy was an extension of the old. It comes down to poor management and poor policies.
Residents will be pleased to read the words of the city’s management on Facebook at Oct 24th:
“We appreciate the offers received from near and far organizations to assist us in developing a trap, neuter, return program. We take your concerns seriously and are taking steps to develop such a program. First, at Monday’s Council Meeting we will remove the outdated language in our municipal code that allows for the euthanizing of stray animals.
We are in contact with Community Cats United, Best Friends and Alley Cat Allies, who have graciously offered advice and solutions. On Tuesday we are speaking with Fixin Feral Felines in neighboring DeKalb, Illinois and we hope to involve area animal shelters and vet clinics as well. Our staff is committed to a humane solution.”
The city administration are quite contrite and apologetic. The response is based on offers to help which came in on their Facebook page. The power of Facebook’s army of cat lovers and carers can be awe inspiring. As Elisa said in her post, there is a huge number of detailed comments both criticising the city and suggesting alternatives and providing offers of help.