Tag: trapping

One Unverified Claim Of An Aggressive Stray Prompted A New Jersey Town’s Plan To Trap And Kill Cats

The recent saga of a New Jersey town’s ill-advised plan to “destroy” feral cats highlights almost everything wrong with local government.

First, a notice went out from the northern New Jersey town of Matawan, informing residents that feral cats had become a “nuisance” and their presence posed a danger to “the welfare and safety of both the community and the cats.” The town, in cooperation with the police and SPCA, the notice said, would begin trapping stray, feral and free-roaming felines in November, and any cat not claimed after seven days would be “destroyed.”

The backlash was loud and immediate, and it took the Monmouth County SPCA by surprise.

After receiving angry complaints, the local SPCA posted a notice on Facebook blasting the “outlandish and outrageous campaign.” The SPCA’s leaders said they hadn’t been consulted and hadn’t approved of the policy, blaming the Matawan Animal Welfare Committee, a three-person group comprised of the town’s business administrator, Scott Carew, town councilwoman Melanie Wang and an animal control officer.

“We are completely outraged and disheartened that our organization has been attached to this archaic campaign to euthanize feral cats, when there are so many other successful, humane alternatives,” the Monmouth County SPCA wrote in its statement.

Carew backpedaled in the fallout, claiming the notice was a well-intentioned way of informing people who live in Matawan to keep their cats inside and stop feeding strays and ferals.

“By no means was the goal of the trapping efforts to destroy trapped cats,” Carew told NJ.com. “That said, since there was the chance that cats would be trapped and brought to the shelter, we wanted to alert cat owners whose cats are allowed to roam outside.”

But Carew also said he and the other were “obligated to address the complaint,” and said the town would have to enact “a resumption of trapping efforts” if it received more complaints about the cats. According to a statement by the Matawan police department, in a meeting between local leaders and people concerned about cats in one neighborhood, it was a single complaint about a possibly aggressive feral cat that prompted the plan.

That’s it. That’s all it took, in the eyes of local government officials, to justify a policy of trapping and killing sentient, human-habituated innocent animals, a group that includes free-roaming pets, former pets, strays and true ferals. A single, unverified complaint of a potentially “aggressive” cat, with no further detail about what the word aggressive means in that context, no information about what the cat supposedly did, or even confirmation that the cat was a feral and not a stray or a wandering pet.

When the dust cleared from all the finger-pointing, Carew said his committee should have informed the SPCA of its plans, and police brushed off responsibility by saying they “assumed” the notice was drafted with the cooperation and intent of the SPCA and other local animal welfare groups.

Cat trap
A cat caught during a trap, neuter, return program, which reduces feral/stray populations in the long term without the cruelty of culling. Credit: Pixabay

Local government leadership and incompetence has become a big problem. With the death of newspapers, particularly regional dailies that employed trained journalists, there are entire swaths of the country no longer served by local government watchdogs who have the time, skills and resources to monitor local officials and inform the public.

We’re fortunate that NJ Advanced Media, an online portal for content from more than a dozen New Jersey local newspapers, has found a way to exist as a viable business serving millions of readers throughout its home state. Without it, it’s doubtful the story would have surfaced anywhere.

Lots of people think local government is small potatoes, but the truth is that local officials are responsible for enormous budgets and wield considerable power. The decisions they make very likely have more impact on our lives than decisions made in the halls of congress, even if it’s the latter that gets people’s blood boiling.

In this case we have a meeting conducted in secret, without public notice, that would have determined the fate of an unknown number of animals. We have anonymous, nebulous complaints and allegations about “nuisances.” What constitutes a nuisance? How many cats are involved? Are the cats part of managed colonies and cared for by people who trap and neuter them? None of those questions were answered.

Additionally, instead of taking intermediary steps or using widely available resources — the “other successful, humane alternatives” the SPCA referenced, from the willing cooperation of local shelters to the free toolkit created by the authors of the incredible D.C. Cat Count — the local officials came up with their own ill-advised plan to trap and kill cats.

Outrage by animal lovers and the SPCA were enough to make sure a plan like this was quickly discarded this time around, but you have to wonder how many other places this kind of thing might be happening without so much as a blurb about it.

‘It’s Gonna Get Ugly!’: Brave Police Officers Arrest, Cuff Women, Ages 60 And 84, For Criminally Feeding Cats

Whatcha want, whatcha wanna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Two vicious criminals were caught by the long hand of the law and face justice for the community-destroying act of…trapping and feeding cats. The heroic police officers responsible for meting out justice were from the Wetumpka Police Department in Wetumpka, Alabama, about 20 miles north of Montgomery.

Fearless cops arrived at a public park on June 25 and immediately took up tactical positions after receiving intelligence that two seasoned criminals were trespassing on public land and defying the law by feeding the dangerous beasts. Even worse, the alleged lawbreakers were conducting their brazen activity in broad daylight!

After they were satisfied that 84-year-old Beverly Roberts and 60-year-old Mary Alston were not hiding weapons in the bags of cat food they’d brought with them, and could not repurpose their cat traps to harm officers, the intrepid lawmen courageously confronted the pair of malefactors, telling them to cease their illicit activity and vacate the premises.

The officers approached Alston first, warning her that she was breaking the law by feeding stray cats who were “becoming a nuisance.”

A flabbergasted Alston said she was trying to help the situation by trapping the cats and bringing them to shelters, pointing out she had a trap already deployed and had other trapping equipment in her car.

But the officers noted such specialized work is the domain of trained professionals — in this case the town’s absent animal control officer — and told her to leave.

“I’m teetering on going to jail for feeding cats?” the hardened alleged criminal asked, bristling with obvious disdain for authority.

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“Bad girls, bad girls, watcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

The clearly dangerous woman thought she could retrieve her traps and pack up her belongings, but the resolute police were having none of her defiant attitude.

“She’s still sittin’ here after we done told ’em to leave already,” an officer complained to a dispatcher during an aside filmed in his patrol car.

When Alston expressed surprise that police were cuffing her, the officers explained they had already emptied their vast reservoir of patience after telling her to leave the park.

“You aren’t doin’ it fast enough and now you’re going to jail!” an officer said after literally yanking Alston out of her driver’s seat with both hands. (An act completely justified, we’re sure. You don’t last long as a lawman in a depraved town like Wetumpka if you can’t quickly spot possible danger.)

Meanwhile, Roberts demonstrated clear contempt for authority when she questioned why an entire shift’s worth of cops were present, and went to hand her car keys to Alston before the officers arrested her. She explained she was handing off her car keys because she didn’t want the vehicle sitting in a public park unattended, not yet realizing the police would do her a favor by impounding her car.

“It’s gonna get ugly if you don’t stop!” one officer said, warning the incredibly dangerous woman, who further insulted the valorous public servants by questioning their use of time and resources on a cat-feeding complaint.

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Roberts apologizes as, with her hands cuffed behind her back, she’s unable to hop up onto the back seat of a police SUV.

Knowing the 84-year-old could be deceptively strong, the officers cuffed her with her hands behind her back, then expressed skepticism when she couldn’t physically get into the back seat of a police SUV while restrained.

After both women were restrained and under control in the back of a patrol cruiser, the cops reflected on a tense situation that could have gone wrong at any moment.

“I’m glad nobody recorded, because [it’s] a bunch of police officers beatin’ up on a couple old ladies,” an officer said while another laughed off camera.

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A police officer searches the pocketbook of an 84-year-old woman for drugs and contraband, presumably including catnip.

We here at Pain In The Bud commend the Wetumpka Police Department for showing no mercy to their town’s seasoned criminal element.

Recent examples of cowardice in high-profile policing situations (Uvalde, Texas, and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida) may have shaken the public’s confidence in our normally intrepid police, but the officers of Wetumpka valorously charged into this situation despite great risk to themselves, clearly understanding the immediate danger Alston and Roberts posed to the community with their allegedly law-breaking acts.

After righteously fighting attorneys for both women and refusing to release body and dash cam footage of the tense encounter, Wetumpka police could no longer drag their feet after three months of stalling and were finally forced to hand the video over due to clearly anti-American laws supposedly meant to guarantee “freedom of information.” Obviously, such laws were created to benefit cat-feeding terrorists and other dangerous criminals.

The attorneys believe the footage will vindicate their clients, but any reasonable person who views tape of the encounter will certainly come away with nothing but admiration for the police officers, who wisely prioritized using their resources on such a brazen and community-destroying crime.

The town of Watumpka, and all of America, owes a debt to these fine men.

assorted color kittens
Alston and Roberts were feeding vicious beasts like the ones pictured above Credit: Pixabay/Pexels