From the LA Times, both their animal blog by city hall sycophant, Carla Hall.
County says Rancho Los Amigos cats
October 24, 2008
The colony of cats -- some feral, some friendly strays -- wandering the grounds near the old buildings on the campus of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center have stoked controversy for months. The cats have devoted caretakers -- they provide the food the felines above were snacking on in March -- and they have detractors, who said the cats were using the sand box of a nearby child-care center as a litter box and posing other health problems.
Los Angeles County, which owns the property, plans to raze the old buildings to make way for a high-tech data center. Early this year, county officials agreed to let a Downey nonprofit, Fail-Safe 4 Felines, embark on an ambitious project to trap and neuter the 150 or so cats and relocate them.
But, now, the county has decided the cats must go as soon as possible. For one thing, the trapping, neutering, and releasing approach didn't appear to be succeeding. The feline population count has gone up to 200, according to county officials. And in August, said county public health spokeswoman Sarah Kissell, "we found evidence of five new litters." Additionally, public health inspectors found fleas, flies and feces -- all associated with the cats -- near several buildings, including a children's day care center.
In a letter to the county, a public health official said feral cats had been associated with organisms that cause human diseases such as rabies and typhus.
"It's rare, but it has occurred," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Fielding said the decision to tell the county to remove the cats immediately was seriously considered.
"We're all animal lovers," he said. "These aren't steps that are taken lightly."
"This is kids over cats, plain and simple," said Supervisor Don Knabe -- whose district includes the Rancho Los Amigos property -- in a statement. He has urged members of the public who want to help the cats to e-mail Animal Care and Control at firstname.lastname@example.org.
L.A. County's Department of Animal Care and Control will trap the cats and move them to its animal shelter in Downey. The shelter will assess the cats to see which can be adopted out. Feral cats -- which are extraordinarily difficult to incorporate into homes -- sometimes can be placed in barns and equestrian centers that have rat problems. (Ferals are great at making rats vanish from the premises.)
"We notified several of the feline groups about what we were doing and asked them to help us rather than fight us on this," said David Sommers, a spokesman for Knabe's office.
County Animal Care and Control officials said, in an Oct. 22 letter to the director of Fail-Safe 4 Felines, that the group had failed to meet its commitment to find homes for the cats. One of the affectionate ones is pictured right.
The group's director and founder, Sheranne Jaeger, told the Downey Patriot that her group had found homes for 30 of the cats. But the arrival of kitten season along with the irresponsible dumping of house cats kept the numbers from shrinking permanently, she contends. Jaeger told the Patriot, "if we hadn't been there, there would be thousands of cats. It takes everybody to solve this and euthanasia isn't the answer."
-- Carla Hall
I was in two similar situations in Santa Monica ten years ago.
Several colonies, contained 25-30 cats located along a 1/2 miles stretch of Palisades Park, and maintained by maybe six caretakers, were "inconvenienced" by the park being closed down, barrier twisted wire fences put up which blocked the caretakers from managing the colony, alone with no trespassing signs. Police cars went by every hour or so to make sure no one was in the park feeding the cats because the City wanted to get rid of them while they built their finest and greatest tourist amenity--a pristine park free of cats and wildlife.
They even used a defoliant to get rid of all the grasses and bushes that protected the cats.
I said "inconvenienced" because we decided to disobey the City. We cut holes in the fences, kept a keen eye for the cops, and continued feeding and caring. We moved the doghouse shelter a little further down the cliff slope where the defoliant had not reached.
This went on for a year or so.
One of the caretakers was arrested for trespassing, but when she went to court and the judge heard she had been trespassing to care take 7 cats, the judge commended her for her actions and angrily denounced the City for its actions. The cats were not in a location where they created a nuisance, and they were going under the fence to cross Ocean Ave to get food and their lives were endangered.
After that, we were less worried about the cops, and instead of coming in at 5 a.m. in the morning and 10 p.m at night, we were able to in later in the a.m. and earlier in the p.m.
This is civil disobedience.
I know many of you out there do the same thing. Bravo!!
I am not advocating civil disobedience in this situation, but I am telling you about acts of civil disobedience that have occurred elsewhere.
By the way, the head of County Health who justifies the trapping and killing of these cats is Jonathan Fielding, who also supported killing hundreds of California Ground Squirrels in that same SM park three years ago.
He said the squirrels might some day carry bubonic plague or rabies. He justified his actions by saying his vector control people knew what they were doing because they had 35 years of combined experience.
They killed them despite that fact there was no ordinance to support their killing, only their opinion they constituted a vague threat in the future.
This is Fileding's email address:
Let Jonathan know that we will oppose trapping and killing of feral cats whereever the County chooses to take such an action.
No more Jonathan!