La Crosse city council will vote on legislation passed in committee last week regarding cats, but that may not be the problem the city is seeking to address.

The Coulee Region Humane Society does not euthanize adoptable cats.

Wild cats are another story.

at 5:07 p.m. Monday on La Crosse Talk PM, Mayor Mitch Reynolds. Tuesday, Georgetown Biology Professor Pete Marra —Former director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center — will join to discuss specifically how cats affect the bird population.

Last week, the city’s judicial and administrative committee approved a law that would allow the Coulee Region Humane Society (CRHS) to sterilize / sterilize (repair) cats, have them vaccinated against rabies and send them back to where they were caught. He will go to full municipal council this Thursday.

The legislation – which the Humane Society supports – describes them as “community cats.” Director General of CRHS Heather Dreivold described them last week on La Crosse Talk PM like wild cats.

the proposed legislation did not contain the word “wild”, although it did say “community cats” 30 times.

“Wild cats are the ones that aren’t your traditional domestic cat,” Dreivold said. “They don’t really like interactions with people. They sort of live in the shadows. Maybe sometimes (get) in trouble there.

At this time, the Town of La Crosse does not allow the Humane Society to release unowned cats.

But cats that can be adopted are not euthanized.

“That may have been the case 20 years ago,” Dreivold said of euthanasia in the past. “At this point, if a cat is deemed adoptable – as long as their health and temperament remains in order – we will keep that cat in place for months and months. … But once it’s deemed adoptable, it’s pretty safe. We will not be euthanizing adoptable animals at this time.

Real feral cats brought to the Humane Society are euthanized after a 4-7 day “wandering detention” period to determine if they are adoptable.

Dreivold said they’ve slaughtered – as a last resort to work on a cat’s socialization – an average of 36 cats per year over the past five years.

Dreivold said they have almost 70 cats to adopt, but feral cats are not adoptable.

“We don’t have tons of feral cats, but I would say (across the county) there are between 50 and 100 a year,” she told WIZM.

Dreivold later added that the county hosts an average of 125 feral cats a year, 36 of which are within the city limits of La Crosse, where this ordinance would take place, although the county is taking steps to do something similar.

“This is a very pragmatic solution to a very important problem that we have here in the town of La Crosse, and it is a huge overpopulation of cats,” Mayor Mitch Reynolds said at the committee meeting last week. .

Reynolds also said the legislation would reduce the burden on CRHS.

“It’s almost impossible to adopt all the cats that come into the Humane Society because there are so many of them,” he said. “What this will do will provide us with a long term solution that will, in effect, reduce our animal control costs in the long term because there will be a lot fewer cats.”

Dreivold said it would create more work for the Humane Society, but the cost of this release program would not be passed directly on to the city or county.

“It’s going to happen at the shelter, we’re going to pay the bills and we have all these other people ready to partner with us to make this happen without costing anyone else extra funds,” Dreivold said, noting their ability to obtain grants and other funding.

Dreivold added that in addition to not euthanizing adoptable cats, they sometimes transfer cats to other places for adoption, if those areas do not have enough. Thus, the legislation that has been passed may not change the number of cats to be adopted.

The only difference is that the feral cats brought in would be repaired and released instead of being euthanized. Either way, they would not breed and therefore the CRHS would not have any more cats to adopt.

The law also does not require all cat owners to sterilize their pets or prohibit them from going outside.

The program will give the Humane Society the added responsibility of vaccinating, repairing and “checking the ears” of feral cats – so they can be identified as being in the process – as well as bringing them back. where they were captured, which would be more of a business than euthanasia.

The idea of ​​releasing them into the wild is based on the territory. If one feral cat is removed, another apparently moves into that area and the cycle simply continues.

Asked about the neighborhood cats that are not wild, Dreivold said the CRHS will keep them for adoption.

So if someone had a “tame” cat that they would stroke and feed every now and then as they roamed their neighborhood and wanted the cat to be fixed through this process so that it would not breed again? – being a “community cat” – Dreivold said these cats would not be part of this program. So, that person should adopt the cat – therefore pay for the procedure.

“We want to be able to get them re-adopted,” Dreivold said. “Our main goal will be to keep cats at home for as long as possible. We are giving researchers the first option to take.

Adopting a cat costs between $ 30- $ 100 depending on age, which includes fixation, vaccination – including distemper, which is not part of the legislation – and microchipping. Adopt a “working cat”Is free, which includes fixation and vaccinations.

What hasn’t been touched on much is the destruction cats do to wildlife, as they’re essentially an invasive species. While the release program inhibits the ability of feral cats to reproduce, it will not stop them from wreaking havoc, for example, on the bird population.

“I mean, I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen because I’m sure it does, but the real threat to the bird population is humans,” Dreivold said, noting that birds were struck by cars, flying around buildings and poisoned by pesticides. “So it’s really the people who interfere with wildlife that are the biggest decline in birds. “

The American Bird Conservancy agreed that humans can be blamed, but not as Dreivold thought.

the conservation says “Predation by domestic cats is the main direct human-made threat to birds in the United States and Canada”, and that “outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds each year” in the United States -United