Feral cats may face the risk of being the target of hunters in New Jersey. The state officials in N.J. are considering ending Trap-Neuter-Return programs and allowing hunters to shoot cats. The Fish and Game Council is proposing to legalize feral cat hunting.
Jeannette Vreeland, acting chair of the Fish and Game Council, asked in 2007 if feral cats could be added to the list of animals that could be hunted, according to council meeting minutes. This week she defended the 2007 resolution.
“When a cat is left to roam outside the house it becomes a character who kills birds and small mammals — rabbits, chipmunks,” she said on Thursday. “It’s really not a natural, native animal. They are exotic and not meant to be outdoors.”
You can read the full story here.
If you can help urge the Council not to allow this to happen, you can contact them at the following address or online contact form:
Many animal welfare organizations have sent letters to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildfish condemning this outrageous proposal, but their voice may not be loud enough. If you could help, here is the address:
N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625-0400
Here is their online contact form.
Thanks to Andrew Parkes for sharing the response he got from the New Jersey Fish and Game Council with us. Here is what they said in regard to this issue:
Thank you for your concern about feral cats.
Neither the Fish and Game Council (Council) or the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee (ENSAC) is proposing anything allowing the hunting or trapping feral cats.
The Council and ENSAC have passed a joint resolution acknowledging the detrimental impact of free-roaming cats on wildlife. Recent studies have indicated that feral cats prey on over 1 billion wildlife each year. The resolution strongly states that TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) is not an effective means of reducing the feral cat populations and thus not an effective means of addressing the impacts of cats on wildlife.
The Council and ENSAC also state that feral cats should be treated as dangerous exotic animals. The Fish and Game Council is considering formally “listing” feral cats as “dangerous exotic” animals under a statute that gives them the responsibility and authority to do so. If this were to happen it would allow the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to regulate the release of feral cats without a permit. This would give the DFW some leverage in addressing the proliferation of TNR.
Again, there is no proposal to open a season or allow hunting or trapping of feral cats. PT
Paul Tarlowe, Wildlife Education Specialist
The N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife is a professional, environmental agency dedicated to the protection, management and wise use of the state’s fish and wildlife resources.
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