This letter to the editor was published in the Newark Advocate on May 7, 2022.

The Immorality of Hunting Cats

Shame on Licking County Prosecutor Bill Hayes for using his position of leadership in the community to suggest the outrageous and illegal act of hunting cats. Such threats of government-sanctioned cruelty toward any species are unacceptable and must be confronted.

Cats are sentient creatures who suffer and feel pain. Our culture understands this and therefore rejects institutionalized killing as an immoral concept. In a recent poll, 84 percent of Americans said they prefer that their community use tax dollars to adopt sterilization as its cat control policy instead of bringing cats found outdoors into shelters to be killed.

Killing is also a complete waste of government resources. When cats are killed or otherwise removed from the landscape, more cats move in to replace them. This is a phenomenon known as the vacuum effect, and it has been proven in many species.

Our society demands a humane path, such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), in which cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped for identification, and returned to their outdoor homes. TNR is evidence-based and sound policy. It is effective and humane community cat population management, reduces shelter intake and killing, and saves taxpayer dollars.

Community cats are residents of the communities we call home. Humane, lifesaving plans are the only option that will garner the broad community support needed to successfully care for these animals.

Becky Robinson, President and Founder, Alley Cat Allies