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Posted May 2, 2012 | comments 33 Comments

Front Royal, county to discuss feral cat issue

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily

After citizens' concerns over feral and free-range cats were raised at a Front Royal town council work session in April, Warren County has looked into possible solutions, one being a licensing ordinance.

County Attorney Blair Mitchell said the town could adopt a licensing or leash law, something that would act as "a first step" to combat the problem.

"We don't really have a problem with them in the county," he said. The town could peruse an ordinance, or some kind of 'catch, spay, release' program.

"Some localities have waived associated fees to encourage participation in those programs," Mitchell added.

Town Councilman Shae Parker brought the issue up after he'd "been receiving complaints" from citizens.

"I wanted to open up the discussion," he said. The town is preliminarily not looking for a "leash law," Parker said, but might be open to adopting an ordinance.

"We can adopt something, but would Animal Control, through the Sheriff's office, be willing to enforce that on the town's behalf," he questioned.

A licensing ordinance would make it easier for those citizens negatively affected by feral or free range cats, to track down an owner and have the cat removed.

"Now, unless the cat is injured, animal control can't do anything," Parker said. "I don't want to see us rounding up all the stray cats and euthanizing them. That's not a solution."

Parker also noted that large numbers of cats urinating and defecating around businesses, can easily become a public health issue.

"Right now there is no remedy, nowhere for citizens to go to have a cat removed," he said. "If it were a skunk, rabid raccoon, a coyote, even a dog, there are some remedies. But when it comes to cats, it's a grey area."

The issue will be further discussed between town and county officials at their liaison meeting on May 17. Parker encouraged concerned town residents to alert their representatives through calls or letters if they are experiencing problems due to feral or free-range cats.

33 Comments |

    Huh? Another better idea from another ambulance chaser? This attorney comes up with the idea of a licensing ordinance for free ranging feral cats? Hmmm, isn't there one obvious major problem with this concept.... how does one determine who owns an undomesticated feral cat and then make the owner purchase a license? Imagine yourself as a town policeman assigned to this investigative task.

    Isn't licensing of free-ranging feral cats the same thing as determining who owns the deer that just ate the roses off your rose bush, the raccoon who raided your trash can, the squirrel who emptied the bird feeder?

    County Attorney Blair Mitchell? Oh, that explains everything.

    Exactly my sentiments, Jacko. Will someone PLEASE license and penalize the deer that keep eating my shrubs? If there's a civil servant that can fix that problem, you've got my vote. By the way, what's the next thing you guys will think of regulating? Mice? (Whose population will certainly increase when you jail the cats.)

    When I moved to Warren County, I "inherited” a colony of cats that lived on my property. We decided to manage the colony ourselves. The first major problem in Front Royal is trying to locate a veterinarian that will adjust their inoculation, spay and neuter prices, to be affordable for someone who is managing a large cat colony. Sadly, there are none in Warren County who are willing to help. The prices they charge for spay and neuter are ridiculous, even rivaling more expensive places like Fairfax and Loudoun County.

    The veterinarians in Warren County we contacted, did not care that you were attempting to address an issue that would better the community. It was all about the money. Luckily, we were able to find a great vet in Shenandoah County, who really cares about animals, and would work with you to make it affordable.

    The second issue, was dealing with the Wagner Shelter. My impression of the philosophy at the time, was to euthanize any feral or stray cat that came in the door within days of receipt, after all “it’s only a cat” not a dog. I don’t know if that mentality has changed, but at the time, the people I dealt with at the Julie Wagner Shelter were not shy to let you know that were pro-K9, and felines were viewed upon as a public nuisance.

    Another issue, folks do not know there is a distinction between a feral cats and a homeless/stray cat, which the later I believe is more of an issue facing Warren County and Front Royal. Feral cats are classified as those born in the wild, and will strive to have little or no interaction with humans, their behavior is stealth, not to be seen. Stray cats will allow you to approach them to a certain point, and will tolerate some human presence. I believe we have more strays (abandoned/lost) than feral cats.

    I agree we need a mechanism in place to address this issue, on the other hand, we also need a mechanism to help us manage and deter the population. In my opinion, the veterinarians that have practices in Warren County/Front Royal have failed the community.

    In my opinion, when licensing veterinary offices, the town and county should have a condition on that license, that requires those offices to provide a certain percentage of “at cost” services to individuals who work on projects that benefit the community. Such as those who manage a cat colony; coordinate rabies awareness; run adoption, spay and neuter, and rabies clinics; and sponsor pet care vouchers for elderly and low income individuals.

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    JT is VERY correct about the fees. Luray has a vet that offers the same service at half the cost of local as well. Nor is some ordinance going to help solve the problem. "Here's your sign" Mr. County Attorney.

    Richmond at one time was doing a catch, spay, release program funded mostly by a telethon. Obviously that wouldn't work here in FR/WC, we are too small. But if you get a good organizer, I am sure some sort of annual or every other year event could be worked out to fund such an operation. Get the pet stores in on the deal and look towards neighboring counties for cost efficient operators if no one wants to step up to the plate locally, I'm sure they wont mind the free press of being cheaper. Its a very successful way to treat the problem as long as you have the right spearhead.

    To take one outbreak of rabies caused by cats and use that as a reason for mass euthanization puts one in the same crowd as trying to fine non-existent owners.

    I don't think that the feral cats will get their licenses.

    I wish they would do something about the BEARS in the town. We have at least 2 bears visit our neighborhood and create havoc each night. One almost killed my dog last year. I've called the police several times, because animal control won't do anything about them. The town's "bear-proof" answer to trash cans (Lord knows how much they spent on those chains and hooks) is a joke. The bears break them the day the town fixes them. The town won't let us buy our own bear-proof trash cans because their trucks can't pick them up. Our complaints and concerns are ignored. I don't want to see the bears hurt (it's not their fault they are overpopulated and starving in the National Forest), but I don't want to see any of our pets or, God forbid, our children hurt, either. My grandchildren are terrified to be outside after dark. Now we are beginning to see the bears during the day as well.

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    JT, look up the Shenandoah Spay and Neuter clinic in Harrisonburg, their prices a decent.

    Warren county is worried about stray cats, I know of a few dog owners that I have yet to see them get their dogs vaccinated or licensed, so good luck getting the feral cats licensed.

      Maria,

      It was not my intention, to ignore the information you provided. However, I was distracted by the distributing diatribe from Woodsman001. I've heard of Harrisonburg S & N, and their prices are reasonable. Nevertheless, I was able to locate a vet much closer in Strasburg who has reasonable fees as well, especially when you inform them you are proactively managing a cat colony.

    It's a sad story to think of all the animals that end up destroyed. They are just doing what nature tell them to do: reproduce. There certainly is no simple solution to this cat problem, I will admit. Unfortunately too many people fail to take responsibility for animals they have and it quickly turns into this overpopulated cat issue.

    Yes, more vets should be helping out. Everything should not be about money, money and more money. Responsible pet owners know the expenses they face when an animal is ill or injured. Many of us see our pets as family and we care for them.

    I started feeding a starving cat about four years ago. This poor creature was so dirty and skinny, you couldn't even tell what kind of cat he was. He just had these big, sad, pleading eyes and was so hungry. I made up a box to give him some shelter from the cold. As the weeks went by, I continued feeding him until finally I could see a fluffy tail emerging from his slender body. He welcomed the daily brushing and attention.

    Well for you who care about animals, you probably know how this story goes. I didn't need another cat of course (had two others that I rescued) but today he is a big, fluffy, handsome, 17 pound, long-hair yellow Tabby. If he could talk about his struggle to survive, it would be the story of thousands who will never be lucky enough to find a home, much less a name.

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    Obviously you hate cats, that's fine. I'm sure I could spend a little time on google and find plenty of stories of rabid dogs. Or even a step further of non-rabid dogs killing other pets and/or people. Or some other story of deaths caused by a rabid wild animal bite.
    Mass scooping up and killing of any cat found still isn't the answer. What if it happens to be a pet that got loose? An outdoor cat that knocked of its collar? Lots of other towns/cities run very successful "catch, spay, RELEASE" (not adopt, RELEASE) programs. Is Front Royal so darn redneck the first thought is "It's got fur, kill it!"? Oh, wait I forgot we had our own local Davy Crockett here..

      A'Katrina, I have to generally agree with you. I have not taken in any feral cats (I adopt from shelters), but I have a friend who has done very successfully several times. It does disturb me, however, that so many of these feral cats are suffering horribly. Is it better to die of starvation than to be euthanized? Not an easy answer.


    Oooohhhhhh, the wheels on the (short) bus go 'round and 'round, round and 'round, 'round and 'round, the wheels on the (short) bus go 'round and 'round, all the live long daaayyyyy.

    Oooohhhhh, the elevator doesn't go to the ta-op floor, ta-op floor, ta-op floor.....

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    Nice to see I ticked you off enough to show more of your true inner hate. Are you perhaps our local making his own hats?

    All snark aside, We do have "A" cat. We adopted in Richmond as a kitten. The closest she gets to outside is the window except for her vet visits. I will make sure she knows you are concerned and she had better never escape for you are waiting to put her in a "shot-dead grave"

    May you continue your bliss!

    Do any of you people in Front Rawl have guns? It is quick and humane. As long as the shooter can shoot.

    Got it. I like that. Living creatures, no matter what kind or strain, have a history of being cruel. It is just my nature to say, do it quick and painless. We can decide, they can't. It is because our brains are a little more compex. So, we can all kill unwanted animals quick right? No us smarter ones can not do that consistently. Maybe a few, but not that Funk(or any other dumb red) who's grandad should have been eliminated themself too.

    Well Geoff, am I still an animal nut like you coined me?

    Woodsman001, there will be a Liaison Meeting of the Front Royal Town Council and Warren County Board of Supervisors on Thursday, May 17, 2012. The meeting will take place at 6:00 pm in the Caucus Room of the Warren County Government Center.
    Someone with all the facts, such as yourself, should make a speech to the assembled councilors and supervisors on that date. Will you attend and share your information?

      Joe, I doubt Woodsman001 could provide any actual facts to the board, that are not based on a fear driven extrapolation. What he fails to realize, just because he reads something on the internet, and to keep repeating the same DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE, and certainly not applicable to the situation in Warren County.

      Woodsman001 is on a hate/fear driven mission to rid the world of every cat. Obviously, even his own posts shows it's not grounded in fact. His statement, "Fleas and rats not even required if you have cats around. The cats themselves are carriers and spreaders of the plague. Totally disproving that oft-spewed myth about lack of cats causing the plague in Europe. Cats would have made it worse."

      The plague that affected Europe during the 14th through the 19th century, was in fact carried by fleas that specifically inhabit the bodies of mice and rats and other ground rodents, not cats. Cats kill mice and rodents, thus reducing the rodent population and the spread of the disease.

      Just Google "Woodsman001" you can read his spiel all over the net, some of it is quite comical. He even suggests that his IQ is so high it cannot be measured, and 99.9999% of us are all morons, when compared to him...LOL. I didn't know tin foil hats came in blaze orange.

      http://www.biggamehunt.net/forum/call-arms-cats-pass-disease-wildlife-even-remote-areas-0?page=1

    Woodsman001 is afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the same disease that affects the evangelical anti-abortionist doctor killers.

    Woodsman001 does not live in Virginia. He is a dangerous fanatic so deranged he must be viewed as a threat to take someone's life for simply disagreeing with his kill-all-cats philosophy. If you Google "Woodsman001" you will find that he posts on many forums in many cities and states across the country, wherever the feral cat issue is discussed. He must have a Google "alert" set to kick out every cat discussion in the country so he can cut, paste, and post his extremist view of shooting cats on sight. He tells the same story over and over, how he and his trusty gun cleared his land of cats with cheap bullets. His statistics are too warped to be taken seriously. If cats were the disease carriers he portrays, cat ownership would have become illegal long ago.

    I am a narrow-minded nut job who bashes narrow minded nut jobs. I am driven to this calling because I have CDO. It's like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, only in alphabetical order, like it should be.

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    LOL (I googled). I tried to go back and see if it was the same copy&paste poster from the HLI rally story but the story list doesn't allow for that.

    TNR program presents a multitude of health
    hazards to humans and wildlife. Just google
    "Rabies in Westchester County and the
    Connection to Feral Cats " for more information.

    Woodsman, from the link you posted, here is a quote, "Plague is endemic in the southwestern Colorado community and throughout the western United States. It exists within the natural, complex cycle of wild rodents and rabbits and their fleas."

    You have stated elsewhere, your goal was to restore the wildlife on your property by destroying all outside cats, and in doing so, to increase the number of wild rodents and small game on your property.

    Aren't you building a habitat for other animals that equally are a threat to the human race? Rodents and rabbits are the true carriers of plague, that's been proven over and over. So shouldn't you be destroying them as well? Have you tested every mouse, mole, and rabbit on your property for plague? Unless you can prove all the small wild animals on your property do not have plague fleas, shouldn't you be killing them them as well? By your own admission, you are encouraging the spread of plague by increasing the number of carriers. You are acting as an instrument, abiding a threat against the human race. By the standard you apply to cats, should you destroy yourself?

    Or are you exempt from your hypocrisy?


    WARNING !!!

    Please, before reading, sit down so you won't fall down from laughing.

    Let's invite Woodsman001 to tell us in his own words how smart he believes he is:
    Quote:
    " My average IQ is around 175-180. Two of the IQ scales can't even be measured, they are off the charts. (Unfortunately, the verbal score is only 138, dragging the rest down to that 175-180 average.) To someone like me, 99.9999% of humanity are morons, and rightfully so. So don't take it too personally when I call you one. You are indeed a moron when compared to someone like me. The fun part is that you can't help but keep proving it too. You have no choice in the matter. You'll never be more than a moron to someone like me. It's what you are and will always be."

    Woodsman001's verbal score is not the only credibility degradtion he faces.

    There once was a deranged fellow, a twisted genius, who lived a solitary, friendless life in a one room cabin in the woods of Montana. Remember Ted Kaczynski? Remind you of anybody now posting on this forum?

    I look forward to your angry, incomprehensible reply.

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    Well for those with a rational thought process, if you google "successful TNR programs" you can find MANY places where they are handled well. Its easy to take a bad example and try to use that as the reason not to try something. But if that's the way the situation is to be looked at, then one might as well lock themselves in an underground shelter because everything from driving to eating to using the internet comes at a risk to ones self.

    Not that it really matters, but I would stand on the side of any possible viable alternative irregardless of what type of animal is involved. I still don't really like the deer we are killing because we knocked out woods to put up new housing/schools and then complain about the "over population" of the animals whose homes we just took from them. While I live in one said area dealing with bears/deer, I COMPLETELY understand the need of it, I just don't like it. I just don't feel we are in a situation where our only option is to start killing cats. (No matter what some internet troll goes on and on about)

    *Miss/Mrs/Ms Walter, other sites you can see they ask the troll to go, he just keeps on, just so you are aware.

    Woodsman001, your conclusions are based on an uncontrolled study at your location, and are therefore inconclusive. The information that you compiled based on your sole location is inconsistent with any acceptable scientific testing model to consistently extract data, to establish fact from theory .

    I have a large cat population living on my land, and have so for years, my experience is contrary to yours. I have never had a rodent in my residence. I do occasionally find a dead one outside on my land from a hunt, but never any in the house, the barn, or any of my outbuildings.

    It seems that you had an extreme experience, that is inconsistent with more than likely 99% of others experience. Yet based on your sole experience, you feel justified to go on a crusade to exterminate, maim, or blind any cat that is outside, whether it is somebody's pet or not, or whether the cat is on private land not yours or not. On a different site, you even provided instructions to others on how to accomplish this feat.

    Nevertheless, not withstanding the subject at hand, I truly find your posting behavior deeply disturbing. The mannerism and style of your writing seriously concerns me. Your writings and some of your self-promoting claims are shockingly similar to other people, who in time turned out to be very problematic to the world, others such as Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Timothy McVeigh, David Koresh, and Ted Kaczynski, just to name a few.

    Therefore, I am encouraging others who have been following these comments to strongly consider sending this information to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov/
    I believe it is our duty as good citizens to report this appearing disturbing behavior to the authorities.


    Woodsman's 'hermit living in a cave' superiority complex fuels her narcissism. Examination of her endless hate filled writings reveal a miserable, unremarkable personality desperately seeking recognition as a superior intellect. Woodsman's greatest academic accomplishment ( perhaps a high school graduation marred by unjustly being robbed as Valedictorian or humiliated as "second fiddle" Salutatorian, or something equally as insignificant as attainment of a Bachelors Degree in a mundane field like Home Economics ) did not fulfill her competitive needs for male attention to replace that of her prolonged Electra Complex tinged with sadomasochism. What better mechanism for satisfaction of aberrant masochistic cravings than publicly broadcasting the shock value of killing beloved pets? Posting flaming comments on public forums guarantees respondents will provide heaping helpings of orgasmic abuse.

    What we are witnessing with Woods(wo)man's comments resemble the Jungian psychological descriptions of an undeveloped personality experiencing social difficulties, possibly resulting from a developmental disability related to congenital brain abnormalities. Publishing of professional papers in peer reviewed journals is beyond Woods(wo)man's shallow capabilities. Acceptance by the prestigious Mensa Society is highly doubtful; more promising is membership in the American Redneck Society. In a battle of wits, Woods(wo)man is basically unarmed.

    ***************************************************
    Returning now to the thread topic.... What course of bullett free action should Front Royal / Warren consider? For your consideration, here is a jargon and propaganda free article from a reputable source that examines multiple options, "The Science and Policy of Contraception In Cats":

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/05/04/the-science-and-policy-of-contraception-in-cats/?WT_mc_id=SA_CAT_BS_20120504


    This thread has definitely taken a turn into the land of weird. I has hoping it was going to be about Blair Michell's efforts to leash train Warren County cats. Maybe even some U-tube video.

    Yes, I too want to see Blair herding all those cats as licenses are issued.

    "We don't really have a problem with them (stray, feral cats) in the county," he said.
    Mr. Mitchell obviously has not seen, although I am quite certain he has heard about the extremely large cat colony down on Riverton Road! There must be more than 200 stray, abandon, and feral cats living there, maybe more, no one knows the number at this point. Moreover, they are breeding Mr. Mitchell. These cats do not stay in those woods. They roam, as all cats do, to plague surrounding neighborhoods.
    Our community spent three years removing over 140 stray, abandon, and feral cats that had decimated our bird, amphibian, and small mammal population, sickened, injured, and killed our pet cats and did untold damage to our landscaping. With each female capable of having up to three litters of 6 kittens in a season, we were finding kittens in culverts, wood piles, under our decks, anywhere a mother cat could find an unclaimed space. The bird, amphibian, and small mammal population is just now beginning to recover.
    I personally have spent $500 in vet bills after my neutered male was attacked and flayed by an un-neutered male roaming the community.
    Just this morning I finally humanely trapped a poor old feral male who had established his territory on my street and set about terrorizing the neutered and spayed pets. Starved, filthy, scarred up, and nearly bald, this wild fella had half of both his ears chewed off and I can only imagine the diseases and parasites he carried that would eventually infect the neighborhood pets. There are many such cats in the County, Mr. Mitchell, and they are breeding.
    Other more progressive localities do not ignore the feline population problem. Instead, leaders actually research the problem and take the steps to institute ordinances and plans, no matter how unpopular, to make the situation better for humans, and animals.
    Local governments are allowed by Virginia law to determine whether cats four months of age or older must be licensed. In my opinion, licensing will help deter some of the more obvious problems such as, the town and county’s ostensibly powerlessness to enforce the State of Virginia law requiring cat owners to vaccinate their cats against rabies. Licensing requirement could also help deter reckless accumulation of cats that are often neglected and allowed to breed with abandon. Some localities in Virginia require pets to be spayed and neutered in order to obtain a license unless the owner is a licensed breeder.
    Every county that ignores feline issues and refuses to set up laws that address cats has a cat problem Mr. Mitchell. Warren County will have a feral and stray cat problem as long as you continue to deny that we have a cat problem.

    Years ago, a family friend who grew up in Austria during Hitler's time described how they ate "roof rabbits" aka cats during that time. I can't even imagine that!

    All I can say is that I totally empathize with anyone having problems with stray/feral cats on their property because unfortunately I do as well. When we moved here there was already a huge population of feral cats all around the property. One of our neighbors who had lived here all their lives said it had gotten totally out of control, but catching them was not easy. THEN a cat lover moved next door and she "adopted" them all as pets daring anyone to do anything to her "babies"!

    This cat loving lady feeds them...I have seen the HUGE cat food bags in the trash BUT this lady never neuters or spays them and they breed several times a year and most are in bred and a lot of them are so diseased and scraggly looking you don't want to be near them!! A responsible cat owner would include some shots and neutering/spaying in her pet care, but that point is lost to her! My granddaughters want to pet them, but as diseased looking as they are I tell them NOT to touch them!

    These cats are on MY property all the time getting into trash cans, doing into our outbuildings, sitting all over my patio furniture getting cat hair on everything, they dig in my tomato plants and mulch and leave their feces all over the place!! Do they get rid of mice? Heck no!! Too full from all the cat food I guess, but we still have mice! As I try to count how many cats roam our property now, I can only say it is well over 20 and increasing all the time!

    I (and most of our neighbors) would love to find a solution, but this lady has really complicated the problem by calling them her "pets", so if you go shooting them, you are now the one in hot water! What do you do??


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