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LETTER: Responsible feral cat care is necessary in Salina

— I have been following the situation and the concerns in the town of Salina regarding the issue of feral cats. The guest column in the July 10 Star-Review [“TNR is not the best answer for Salina cat problem”] made the conclusion that TNR is not the best answer for cats in Salina.. .if your objective is ridding the neighborhood of cats. This seems definitely true. However, how can you make the case that "cat removal" is the solution? n eradication program would need to remove every single cat! Even one left behind will reproduce and start the population all over again. So the eradication method seems like a daunting, unbelievably expensive (not to mention the money wasted) and impossible method for success!

Also, we have to remember that there are a lot of pet cats that go outside. People are not going to be happy with their neighbors if pets keep getting trapped and removed and the owners have to pay to get their pet back. This is such an injustice and suffering for animals and people! It is unrealistic to expect that everyone will be keeping their cats inside their home. Meanwhile, there are many people who abandon cats all the time and these cats are mostly not neutered. So this situation again refutes the idea that eradication is a solution. It certainly seems like a better (not to mention kinder) approach to encourage people to act responsibly when they act to spay, neuter and vaccinate the feral cats. The current situation of punishing these individuals is neither effective nor kind to these humans or animals.

As for the children in the neighborhood, I also share concerns as well. Issues come up all the time where people face the challenges of how best to coexist with our environment in such a way to ensure safety. Don't we need to establish a strategy to succeed since children will be facing these issues no matter where they live? Children wear flip-flops and wash hands after playing outside as good hygiene for many reasons. Why can't we take this approach in this situation? Also, while we are trying to be mindful of the welfare of children, would it not be helpful to children if adults were to model effective problem solving skills as well as kindness to others?

I truly hope the town of Salina can get on a kinder and more successful path for a solution regarding the issue of feral cats.

JAN MARKARIAN

SYRACUSE

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