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April 24, 2012

LETTERS: April 25, 2012

> SOUTHERN INDIANA —  Haven House leader gives thanks

Haven House Services has been very blessed this past year. Much of that has to do with Wall Street United Methodist Church and indeed the cluster of Methodist churches. On April 1, Wall St. UMC hosted an old fashioned hymn sing to benefit Haven House Services Inc.

The turnout was wonderful.

Four great groups donated their time, talent and money to provide us with an evening’s entertainment: Singers of the Son (Ohio Falls UMC); Thankful Hearts (Hanover); The Shannon’s (Muncie); and The Samaritans (Louisville). I would like to say a special thank you to the groups who performed and gave time. Even though they are not from our community they have become brothers and sisters to us.

To Lem Trevillian as the chairperson of the event, Pastor Gil and Jan Hubbard; Tracy Taylor and scores of volunteers from Wall Street UMC thank you, thank you, thank you. The food was wonderful, the event was great and you raised $1,620 in one evening to benefit this community’s most vulnerable people.

The Methodist cluster has provided much support this year to renovating the kitchen, having a birthday party once a month for the residents, one on one mentoring and the suppers provided by Park Memorial. Your stewardship, support and love is well received and much appreciated.

— Barbara Anderson, executive director, Haven House Services Inc.

Reader supports neuter and release of feral cats

If the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter Advisory Board spay and Neuter committee was staffed with members such as Garland Grant Oakes III [Opinions Mailbag, April 17, 2012 edition], I believe the animal-loving members of our community should be grateful that he and the other board members have resigned.

I wholeheartedly support Shelter Director Sarah Green in her opinion on the trap-neuter-release method for feral cats. The whole purpose of TNR is to prevent the reproduction of cats. There simply are not enough homes for all of the cats [and dogs] that reproduce at will. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just seven years.

Most feral cats who end up in shelters are considered unadoptable and killed. This is a waste of shelter employees’ time and taxpayers’ money. By using the proven TNR method the feral cats are released back into their colonies and will live out their natural lives. The lifespan of feral cats compares favorably with the lifespan of pet cats. A long-term study (published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2003) of a Trap-Neuter-Release program noted that 83 percent of the cats present at the end of the observation period had been there for more than six years, meaning the cats’ lifespans were comparable to the median lifespan of 7.1 years for pet cats.

Mr. Oakes is wrong on several points in his letter. For instance, veterinary studies show that stray cats’ incidences of trauma and disease are low, and their infection rate — 4 percent — is the same or lower than in house cats. His opinion that feral cats kill songbirds is also wrong. Decades of studies prove that when cats do hunt, which is not nearly as often as they scavenge — they much prefer a diet of rodents.

By removing them from the ecosystem, it upsets the delicate balance of nature. On Amsterdam Island in the Indian Ocean, an attempt to eliminate feral cats to protect endangered birds caused a spike in the rat and mouse population. The rats and mice then preyed on the birds.

I am the caregiver of a feral cat colony behind my workplace in Louisville. I have been taking care of this colony for two years. With the help of Alley Cat Advocates, my cats have been spayed and neutered. They each received a three year rabies shot a penicillin injection, flea treatment, clean ears, a nice brushing and had one ear tipped to show animal control they are fixed and cannot reproduce.

The answer to the feral cat population is simple. Trap-Neuter-Release. I look forward to the fresh approach Green and Mayor Mike Moore will bring. The old system obviously wasn’t working. For more information on the studies I quoted please go to www.alleycat.org

— Amy Bockhorst, Clarksville

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