Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cats in trouble -- part 1

Feral cats are in trouble in Ewing Township, where there are also problems with the staff and volunteers, as well as the inhabitants, at the animal shelter. Sketchy newspaper coverage makes it hard to talk about the issues with authority, but the situation has been festering all summer, with no word of a peaceful solution.

The problems – many of which seem to come down to poor communications and indistinct lines of authority – include (1) what to do about feral cats; (2) should (and could) the operating philosophy of the animal shelter be "no-kill"; and then immediately (3) how is that term defined.

For instance, “no-kill” can mean different things to different people with different interests. What about incurably sick animals? What about vicious ones? What about animals for which there is simply no room? And then, how’s a word like “vicious” defined and proven? Who must vouch for “incurable”? And so on.

Meanwhile, of course, the animals are in the middle. That’s not a good place to be when emotional, partial and often politicized information is being traded without ground rules for civility, accuracy or timeliness. At some point, people can become their dearest cause’s worst enemies, and impartial mediation seems to be the only way out.

No comments: