Saturday 29 January 2022

Waseca Police Department will no longer transport and impound feral cats. Discuss.

NEWS AND COMMENT-WASECA, MINNESOTA, USA: This is an interesting little snippet of a feral cat story coming out of America. The Waseca Police Department has in the past been handling feral cats; specifically transporting and impounding feral cats. It seems that they have been involved in the management of feral cats by taking them off the streets and sticking them in shelters. A version of animal control as I understand it.

Generic police car image in the public domain.

Waseca Police Dept. announced:

Starting today, with the guidance of the City Council at their January 18th meeting, The Waseca Police Department will only transport and impound cats with collars. Hopefully, their collars will also have a City of Waseca license on it since cats should be licensed with the Waseca Police Department (City of Waseca ordinance 95.17). The Waseca County Sheriff’s deputies will no longer impound cats from the County.
They've announced a change in their policies. They have declared on Facebook that they will no longer be transporting and impounding cat without collars because of the cost to their organisation and because it's inhumane to place feral cats in shelters. There is also the additional and unjustified cost they say of keeping feral cats in shelters where they will often be unadopted. No doubt many of them are killed anyway.

As we start 2022, we would like to share with you some important decisions regarding the impoundment of feral cats by...

Posted by Waseca Police Department on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

They refer to "cats with collars". What they are saying, on my understanding, is that feral cats don't have collars and therefore it's a sign that they are feral cats. Whereas domestic cats have collars and therefore they don't mind transporting domestic cats to shelters.

I find this to be very odd. What percentage of domestic cats have collars? It might be quite a low figure. There are many stray cat without collars who are owned cats.

On the basis of what I have read their policy is too imprecise to be effective. If it simply turns on whether the cat wears a collar or not it is certainly not going to work properly. 

The police have addressed this issue by requesting that residents get a collar for their cat:

Here are some suggestions: If you are a cat owner, please license your cat and place that license on a collar and put it on your cat(s). There are some exceptionally good collars on the market that will not bring harm to your cats.
Note: it seems that they have a cat licensing policy in the city. I hate to say it but cat licensing does not work; too hard to enforce.

They received some reaction from residents of the area. My gut feeling is that the residents don't understand the change in policy properly.

Arguably, in any case, the police should not be involved in managing feral and domestic cats in this way. That should be the work of people specialising animal welfare such as TNR volunteers and Waseca County Animal Humane Society. There are many charities that deal with these matters. In America, as I understand it, it is the ASPCA.

The police should be focusing on crimes against animals, people and property. That is their core business. Rescuing feral cats would seem to be outside of their core business.

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