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“Fixing,” then releasing feral cats endorsed by La Crosse city council



The city of La Crosse will try neutering and freeing nuisance cats, instead of euthanizing them.

The city council approved Thursday an amendment aimed at spaying or neutering problem cats, vaccinating them for rabies and re-releasing them back to where they were caught, in hopes of reducing the cat population. The vote was 12-1.

Council president Barb Janssen said cat regulations are needed, though the city does not require residents to spay/neuter their pet cats or prohibit them from going outside.

Janssen said at Thursday’s monthly council meeting that, in her neighborhood, “we’ve had over 100 cats and kittens picked up more than once from one individual home that were living outside.”

Only feral cats are being put down by the Coulee Region Humane Society (CRHS). About 35 a year within the city, it said last week. This plan, often called TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) would end that.

The CRHS is pursuing grant money to support the TNR plan, noting at the meeting, it takes in about 500 stray cats a year. It has about 70 cats to adopt right now.

In a somewhat unusual move, the council voted down a motion to study the cat control program for 30 days.

Scott Neumeister wanted the delay.

“There’s people that think feral cats die a horrible, horrible death,” he said. “Either they’re eaten by coyotes or fox, or they starve to death, they freeze to death.”

Neumeister worries that people are going to find “shot cats.”

Another council member, Doug Happel, was opposed to more study.

“I’m not big on cats, and I could care less about dead birds,” said Happel.

On WIZM earlier this week, a Georgetown biology professor who has studied cats outdoors in urban settings called the plan “horrible,” estimating that cats in the U.S. kill between 1.3 billion to 4 billion birds a year. He said the plan isn’t humane for the cats or the wildlife that suffers from them in the wild.

Some on the council argue that neutering the cats might reduce the chance that cats will kill birds or other animals, though the same professor called that claim untrue.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. R head

    January 14, 2022 at 9:19 am

    You had experts tell you it a bad idea so whey would you still do it. Who the fucking idiot now

  2. Dan Olson

    January 19, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    Wait a minute, the CRHS fines cat owners for letting their cats run at large and now they want to release feral cats back into the wild to kill, defecate, and create nuisances? Hypocritical on their part. There are laws in place to help protect society, safety, and wildlife. Now, they just want to ignore them? Absolutely ridiculous ?

  3. Daniel Olson

    January 28, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Domesticated cats running feral in the city have just as negative effect on wildlife as any owned cat running at large. Citizens get ticketed for that! Will the C.R.H.S Animal Control then release feral cats caught in boxtraps thus perpetuating the problem of cats running at large? Rabies vaccines are o my good for a few years – then what? This is just cat lovers making a push on city hall. “At large” laws are in place for good reason – enforce them, don’t ignore them! They’re there to protect indigenous wildlife and reduce nuisances.

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