Vangordon et al may expect to hear from me again soon. I have taken down most of the posts about her on this blog, but they can go back up at any time.
The email below was sent to me a few days ago. I have been hearing this rumor for several months. I am certain that LA County Vector Control will not talk to me, but I will try. If you find any info, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Vector Control (XXXX County) expects the avian flu to come into this country by migratory birds. Cats kill birds. If you research you will find that all over the world, cats are infected with the avian flu and there are cases where the cat has passed this flu to people. I have asked our Vector Control if this might mean the end to the "outdoor" cat and they responded that probably it will. In order to protect the public health and since the cat has been the one to transmit to humans, you can see where it can be consider a public health problem."
"Vector Control for XXXX County was the ones I spoke with. This is something that is going around as I understand and it is being discussed at a state level only very quietly. They realize the implications and therefore are not coming forward at this point. It will probably depend on how hard we are hit with the avian flu. But they are keeping track of the cases around the world of cats infecting humans. One entire family got it from a cat and I think most of that family died. You can do searches for it."
Concerning the allegation of an entire family dying of Avian flu via a cat infection is totally unfounded. According to Alley Cat Allies, there is only one reported human death (or infection, I don't remember, but the fatality rate is 50% anyway) Cats are not considered a vector-yet. However, if the flu mutates making cross species transmission more probable, they may well be so considered. In any event, this may just be the idle speculations of a field supervisor who thinks killing another species might be fun.
The info about cats all over the world being infected is overblown. Not that they cannot be, but they are not given the current viral strains of the Avian flu. I'm sure if this ever becomes a serious issue, Vector Control will use the same disease scare tactic as they do with ground squirrels being potential causes of Bubonic Plague outbreaks in urban areas--all bull.
Currently there is no legislation that would permit killing feral, homeless or housed outdoor cats. The County VC operates under the color of public health regulations that allow them to deem rodent colonies as an infestation and therefore, can issue an order to abate to municipalities.
Municipalities, I would assume, would have the option of ignoring VC demands to kill cats, and private cateries, I am sure, also given orders to abate, could sue to County for any number of reasons. There are quite a few laws associated with the legal status of both free roaming and feral cats. In some states, feral cats being maintained in a colony are considered the proporty of the feeder.
Besides, feral cats are not often handled by strangers or even feeders as are birds in Asian countries or on farms here. Start thinking of reasons why feral and homeless cats are not vectors. Do some reasearch and pass it on to me.
Can you imagine the outcry from public killing of ferals and strays? It would make the Civil War look like a family argument and Vector Control the object of scorn of countless people. Let them be forwarned.
I do know that when I talked to Joe Ramirez of LA County VC sevral years ago, he said the cats in Palisades Park were a possible target of extermination because they were very susceptible to the Pneumonic form of the plague, which is much more dangerous and contagious than the Bubonic form.
Of course, Joe is the one who said the County would march into Santa Monica and poison the squirrels themselves. which is as likely as a Republican voting to increase Medicare benefits.