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Success! New Zealand Domestic Cats Won’t Be Trapped and Killed

Success! New Zealand Domestic Cats Won’t Be Trapped and Killed

Trapping and killing: that’s what Richard King, the executive of the Invercargill City Council in southern New Zealand, told residents concerned about domesticated neighborhood cats to do back in March. A woman in Invercargill had 37 cats who, according to neighbors, were said to “swarm” in the streets.

King’s answer to their concerns? Residents could pick up traps from the City Council and provided they returned them with no cat inside (because the animal had been killed), use them.

Outraged, Care2 member Paula Jones started a petition telling King that the City Council’s plan was a wrong-headed idea and must be dropped.

Care2 Member Starts a Campaign to Save Invercargill’s Cats

Under Invercargill’s “keeping animals bylaw,” people are allowed to have no more than three cats on their property. When the City Council attempted to enforce this on the woman with 37 cats, it “faced resistance” and found itself having to go to court to get rid of all but three of her cats. It was then that King told residents they were “welcome to pick up traps from the city council to catch and then dispose of the felines.”

Paula quickly took action. The cats who were to be cruelly killed were not, she emphasized, feral cats, but domestic ones.

As she also pointed out:

This is an exceptionally irresponsible statement to promote. We are going to have crazy cat haters killing cats at will; they will be tortured, injured and left to die painful deaths. Everybody’s cat/bestfriend/companion animal will effectively be fair game to the sick members of society. The perpetrators will never be punished.

More than 19,000 Care2 members signed Paula’s petition. Dozens of Care2 members also sent emails to the Invercargill City Council to express their shock and disgust and hundreds took to social media to criticize King’s “inflammatory comments” which, as one person said, “would be the most stupidest statement to come out of the mouth of someone in his position.” SPCA Southland said their phone was ringing “nonstop with people wanting to know how to help the woman.”

On April 1, Paula presented her Care2 petition with its call for King (who was not present at the meeting) to publicly retract his comments to the Invercargill City Council.

The issue had attracted so much attention that Paula found herself doing interviews for newspapers, radio and television.

Paula’s advocacy and that of so many Care2 members paid off. One day after the petition signatures were delivered, King and the City Council not only retracted their initial statement but also made an apology. King himself admitted that he had made an “error of judgment.”

Noting that the City Council had not had a petition “of that size come into council before,” Invercargill Mayor Shadbolt said that King’s comments about disposing of cats were “inappropriate.” He described his own distress when his family’s cat, Monty, went missing for days.

It took a lot of work by Paula and Care2 members for King to retract his statement about trapping and killing cats. While certainly pleased about King’s apology, she also comments that it was “probably damage control and not a genuine ‘I didn’t mean it.’”

Not everyone, and certainly not everyone in positions of power, understands why animals (domesticated and feral cats as well as many others) must be treated with humanity.  Start your own Care2 petition to let people know why we need to do this. Care2 member Maureen Gibbons started a petition to ban the trapping and killing of stray cats in Ireland. Paula’s successful campaign shows how, when we all take action, we can save many, many lives.

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258 comments

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5:48AM PDT on Aug 9, 2015

thanks for the article.

8:34AM PDT on Aug 3, 2015

people are way more of a problem than the cats. people are the ones who allow the cats to run unsprayed and unneutered to reproduce. people are also the ones who clear acres and acres and acres of habitat for houses, and stores and parking lots. I have a friend who complains about stray cats killing birds and then asks me if she can borrow my cats to kill out the bunnies in her yard. people are just stupid. stupid and uncaring. I have 13 cats and I would love to take more out of the street and out of shelters. I work with a woman who owns a shelter to get cats off the streets and fixed up and the stupid people who complain about them, let them roam and get pregnant. people are stupid. people are stupid. people are stupid!!!

4:34AM PDT on Jul 10, 2015

Scott S. As a matter of fact, why did you even bother to make your comment. The petition prevailed and you are just making yourself look like a jerk to everyone who is happy THAT LIVING CREATURES AREN'T GOING TO BE TORTURED AND LEFT TO DIE, OR BE KILLED, IT'S BARBARIC! You think alligators should live, but not cats??

4:32AM PDT on Jul 10, 2015

Scott S. Are you nuts? How can you say that cats (feral or domesticated) have no business outside?? You have a rude awakening since cats are BORN OUTSIDE! Where do you think they came from before people started having them in their homes?? People shouldn't have to worry, nor should the cats, if they are going to live one minute to the next just because other human idiots can't keep their paws out of their business!

8:55AM PDT on May 27, 2015

I'm gonna have to say that I disagree with this one.

Cats (feral or domesticated) have NO BUSINESS OUTSIDE!! It's a proven fact that cats kill huge amounts of wildlife while prowling. If people don't want cats to be put down then they should be responsible pet owners and KEEP THEM INSIDE!!

5:17PM PDT on May 21, 2015

Well Done Paula and Care 2 !!!!!

4:32AM PDT on May 12, 2015

Oh so he only said he was wrong when he remembered how he felt. I see he's still as selfish as ever! Do people only think about themselves. Feral or domestic cats all have feelings and deserve a life free from harm and suffering. Feral cats are loving and affectionate.

7:29AM PDT on Apr 20, 2015

thanks for sharing :)

9:30AM PDT on Apr 16, 2015

If their limit is only 3 cats per household, we would be in trouble - we have 5 fuzz balls!!

Richard King sounds like a dufus!!

Hurray for people like Paula Jones and Maureen Gibbons!!

8:47AM PDT on Apr 9, 2015

Such good news. See? Petitions can and do work.

Thank you for all the hard work.

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