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Press Release

For Immediate Release: AUGUST 14, 2008
Contact: ELIZABETH PAROWSKI, or 240-482-1984; FRANCIE ISRAELI, or 202-207-1134


Richmond case shows cruelty toward feral cats not tolerated in civil society, group says

BETHESDA, MD — Alley Cat Allies, the national advocate for stray and feral cats, declared
“justice served” after the conviction of a Richmond, VA pest-control company operator, who
was found guilty of three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for killing three cats behind a local
television station.

“Justice has been served,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “More and more of
these kinds of cases are being brought to trial nationwide, reflecting an increasing understanding in
our criminal justice system that cruelty toward cats is not tolerated in a civil society.”

In June, a local Richmond television station contracted with the pest-control company Critter
Control to remove a feral cat colony on a property adjacent to the station, over the vehement
objections of residents and the Richmond SPCA. Local residents, including employees of the
television station, had been caring for the colony for years, providing food, water, and veterinary
care to the cats with their own money. Critter Control operator Keith Copi admitted he trapped and
killed the cats. For each of the three state law violations, he received a suspended sentence of 12
months and a $250 fine.

“We applaud the Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney office and encourage prosecutors
across the country to uphold the laws—which exist in all 50 states and the District of Columbia—
that make intentionally killing a cat a criminal offense,” said Robinson.

“Richmond citizens should feel proud to live in such a caring city,” said Robinson. “Local animal
organizations have been providing free spay and neuter for feral cats and have humane programs in
place—like Trap-Neuter-Return—that meet the needs of the cats and the community.
“But there is still a need nationwide for education and awareness on feral cats and the cruelty and
ineffectiveness of ‘catch and kill.’ So-called ‘animal control’ policies and sheltering practices need
to change,” said Robinson.

“‘Catch and kill’ for outdoor cats does not reflect the values held by most Americans,” she said,
citing recent research conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Alley Cat Allies,
which found that over 80 percent of Americans believe it is more humane to let a cat live out her
life outdoors than to have her caught and killed.

Alley Cat Allies and more than 187,000 supporters across the country are seeking revolutionary
changes in animal control and sheltering practices, an end to the institutionalized killing of all cats,
and the stringent application of anti-cruelty laws to all offenders, Robinson said.


About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the nation’s leading advocate for stray and feral cats. Their website is