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Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 9, 2013
Contact: VAISHALI HONAWAR, vhonawar@alleycat.org or (240) 482-2580

ALLEY CAT ALLIES OFFERS FREE RABIES VACCINATION CLINIC FOR ANIMALS IN SOUTH NEWTON, PA.
Township has proposed catching and killing all cats

BETHESDA, MD—Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s largest advocacy group for cats, has written a letter offering a free rabies vaccination clinic for all animals in South Newton Township, if the township’s leaders retract a proposal to trap and kill outdoor cats.

In July, supervisors in South Newton Township announced they had hired a company specializing in “wildlife nuisance control” to trap and kill all outdoor cats, after one cat tested positive for rabies.

“The trapping and killing of outdoor cats has been pursued for decades, but does nothing to protect the public from the threat of rabies,” William Gomaa, lead attorney for Alley Cat Allies, wrote in a letter sent today to Supervisors David Durff. Glenn Keefer, and Leroy Bowermaster. Gomaa added that the best approach for feral cats is Trap-Neuter-Return, a management plan where feral cats already living outdoors are vaccinated against rabies and sterilized by a veterinarian. The cats are then returned to their colonies where they live out the rest of their lives peacefully and in good health. Because they no longer reproduce, their population drops over time.

Catching and killing cats, on the other hand, is not an effective way to reduce cat populations because when one set of cats is removed from an area, another set moves in—it’s called the “vacuum effect.”

Public health officials who have studied issues around feral cats agree that they are of little public health concern. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there hasn’t been a single confirmed case of cat-to-human rabies transmission in nearly 40 years. Wildlife, like raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes, accounts for more than 90 percent of reported cases of rabies.

“Cat health—and public health—improve through vaccination,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies. “South Newton Township’s leaders would do well to take us up on our offer and then follow it up with a humane and effective program such as TNR. There is already support among South Newton’s residents for such a program.”

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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has nearly half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is www.alleycat.org.