Utah state representative Curt Oda has proposed a bill that would allow the shooting of feral animals, pests, and rodents. His bill would allow citizens to kill these animals, even if they were only suspected of being feral. Shoot first, ask questions later? It almost sounds like a return to the Stone Age, except with guns instead of clubs. (Though Oda says that clubbing would be an acceptable method.)
“It would allow people to go to a feral cat colony and kill all of them. It’s an archaic bill,” said Gene Baierschmidt, executive director of the Humane Society of Utah. (Source: standard.net)
Archaic, yes, but more to the point, barbaric. The text of the bill reads, “… the provisions of this bill do not affect or prohibit the humane shooting or killing of an animal if the person doing the shooting or killing has a reasonable belief that the animal is a feral animal.” (Source: Utah.gov) So the judgment of the shooter is the key aspect of process? What happens when someone shoots a pet cat? How about when shooters miss, and bullets hit someone’s home or even another person?
Also don’t feral cats kill rodents on their own, and provide this service to society for free? Now that’s a bill we can get behind; shoot the cats, so we have to deal with more rodents. Pigeons are also prey for feral cats, so keeping cats around is good for controlling pigeon populations naturally as well.
It isn’t likely the bill will pass, but there is a good chance all the negative publicity will hurt Oda’s re-election efforts. One Twitter user has been mocking the bill with such comments as, “Killing of feral cats will break up families. Isn’t Utah about family?” (Source: DesertNews.com) Oda has also received threats via e-mail over his proposal.
The Best Friends Animal Society says 20,000 cats are euthanized already each year in Utah. They have a more humane approach to dealing with feral cat overpopulation — spaying and neutering. They are holding a spaying and neutering campaign for the entire month of February.
Image Credit: Utah.gov