Oakland, Calif. – Cat Allies, the world’s leading experts on cats, has filed a lawsuit asking the California Superior Court for Alameda County to stop the East Bay Regional Park District’s unlawful new policy of removing cats, which includes hunting, shooting and killing free-roaming cats.
The East Bay Parks inhumane and wholly ineffective new policy fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Before approving and enforcing their policy of hunting cats, which threatens to negatively impact the environment, East Bay Parks is required by CEQA to take critical steps, which it failed to do.
The lawsuit, which requests the court to vacate or set aside the policy, and issue a temporary restraining order, was filed on July 21.
“Shooting or relocating cats or any animals is not only cruel but also destabilizes biodiversity and introduces a scientific phenomenon known as ‘The Vacuum Effect.’ Remaining cats claim the vacated territory and the populations rebound,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Cats are part of the environment in East Bay and are critical to the complex web of life. Cats have been part of the natural environment in California for hundreds of years and cannot realistically be removed permanently from the environment. The only approach is to manage them in a humane manner through thoughtful and responsible practices, including Trap-Neuter-Return.”
Anne Lynch, a partner at Van Ness Feldman LLP who is representing Alley Cat Allies in this case, explained, “Any alteration to the physical environment—such as removing cats—must be evaluated under California law before it can be implemented. As alleged in the complaint, the removal of free-roaming cats will cause direct physical changes and reasonably foreseeable indirect physical changes to the environment, triggering CEQA review, but EBRPD has failed comply with those requirements.”
Last year East Bay Parks employees hunted cats living at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, killing at least 13 cats with shotguns. East Bay Parks then drafted a new policy which includes elements that the public finds highly objectionable – removing and killing cats found in the Parks. Despite national outrage and strong opposition from the community to lethal control, the East Bay Parks Board of Directors voted to approve the new policy in June.
(Note to editors: A copy of the court filing is available upon request.)
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the leader of a global movement to protect cats and kittens. Now in our 31st anniversary year, we are joined by over 650,000 supporters worldwide.
Alley Cat Allies believes every cat deserves to live out his or her life to the fullest. We exposed an entrenched system in which animal control agencies and shelters have been killing millions of cats for over a century. Today, the programs we introduced in the United States are mainstream.
To achieve our goals, we collaborate with grassroots advocates, animal shelters, municipal managers, and lawmakers to replace deadly laws and policies with ones that protect cats. We defend all cats by offering cutting edge education online, in person, and through one-on-one dialogue. We advance lifesaving innovations such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR), high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter, microchipping, anti-declawing legislation, and any program that best serves the interests of cats.
Our website is www.alleycat.org, and we are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.