In the weeks ahead of Thanksgiving, the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) in Oakland, California, sent armed teams out in the dead of night to hunt and kill cats in a tiny slip of park bordered by car dealerships and office buildings.

Unfortunately, they were successful. When confronted, they lied, stonewalled, and whitewashed. Under duress, they finally admitted to having shot and killed 12 cats in that park, and six more in other parks in 2020.

They may have shot more. Getting the truth out of park district leadership has proven very difficult. Nineteen much loved community cats are missing, presumed dead, at least a dozen of them—and perhaps all of them—victims of the trigger-happy park district.

This is animal cruelty.

Thousands of people around the world are outraged and heartbroken. They are united in wanting justice and the truth.

This systematic execution of animal cruelty was carried out by an agency funded by taxpayers in one of the most progressive regions in the United States. The missing cats were spayed and neutered, microchipped and being cared for daily. The park district staff even knew the cats’ caregiver and had spoken with her. They did not call to warn her that they were going to kill the cats.

This is an outrageous abuse of the public trust and totally out of step with the moral guideposts that govern our society in the 21st century.

Alley Cat Allies has been involved since the story broke. We are determined to bring about real change. What happened to these cats should never be allowed to happen again.

The killing was done with full knowledge of the park leadership team. As unthinkable as it sounds, EBRPD leadership requested the killings based on the wrong-headed conviction that killing cats is necessary to protect wildlife. Junk science, a total disregard for the value of life, and a contempt for cats propelled them to advance this horrific approach.

Now that it has come to light, we need people everywhere to speak up. Our society needs more compassion and an end to violence. Bird, cats, humans, and all living creatures deserve respect.

We fully support the protection of ecosystems and wildlife. That is without question. Similarly, without question, cruelty to animals has no place in conservation or elsewhere in a civilized society.

When it comes down to it, the public does not support cruelty to animals. We can defend and protect all animals, including birds, without shooting and inflicting suffering and pain on other animals.

In 2021, Alley Cat Allies is prioritizing justice for the cat victims in Oakland, and all cats slaughtered in a pointless attempt to “protect” endangered species.

We support compassionate conservation, and we know that with sound public policy, common sense information, and best practices with a focus on sterilization and colony care, we can protect both cats and birds.

Killing cats is never necessary and never justified.