BETHESDA, Md. -- Alley Cat Allies, the national advocate for stray and feral cats, said a proposed plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to trap and remove cats in the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges will not succeed in protecting other species and will result in cats' deaths.
In comments submitted to the agency, Alley Cat Allies said the plan is not viable, nor is it based on good science.
"As animal advocates, we want what is best for all the animals of the Florida Keys. Unfortunately, the Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Environmental Assessment is not it," said Alley Cat Allies president Becky Robinson.
"The plan is based on a deeply flawed interpretation of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) research and several studies were omitted. Similar plans by the agency have already killed feral, stray and pet cats, with no benefit whatsoever," she said.
Alley Cat Allies also notes that the agency relies on highly biased sources in criticizing TNR, and that it ignores a successful and ongoing TNR program just miles from the refuges in Key Largo.
The plan relies on "trap and remove" for cats-a costly and inefficient approach that has already failed in the Florida Keys and elsewhere.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is misleading the public by not acknowledging that the cats will be killed. It calls it a 'trap and remove' plan, but trapped cats will be brought to the local shelter where they will be killed," said Robinson.
Feral cats are not socialized to people and are therefore not adoptable. Virtually 100 percent of feral cats who are brought to shelters are killed there.