In Defense of Animals organized a protest that drew dozens of animal rights activists to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, California. The activists were protesting plans by the hospital to trap up to 75 feral cats and turn them over to a local animal pound.
IDA along with a group calling itself the Feral Cat Caretakers’ Coalition objected to the plan because the feral cats will almost certainly be euthanized. Bill Dyer of IDA told The Press Telegram,
Death is not a solution. They will always have cats her unless this can be managed.
VA officials countered by noting that the number of feral cats on its property had increased significantly over the past few years and was beginning to pose a potential health threat. In a prepared statement, the hospital said that “wild animals imposing a health threat must be handled in a humane fashion that lends itself to the reduction of such health hazard(s).”
But IDA and the FCCC claim that there is no evidence that any of the feral cats has passed on a disease to any patients, employees, or volunteers at the hospital.
The activists favor a trap, neuter and release program and offered to pay for the costs of doing this. The VA turned them down, saying it would be willing to cooperate with a plan that relocated the cats, but that it could not tolerate a feral cat colony on its property.
Hospital’s cat plan protested. Ian Hanigan, Press Telegram (Long Beach, California), December 15, 2002.