Winograd and Metropole File Appeal of Ruling Against the Longcore Lawsuit

No Kill Advocacy Center
Groups File Emergency Appeal in Court to Save Cats
No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance File Emergency Motion in Los Angeles Superior Court to Intervene in Lawsuit Against City Brought by Urban Wildlands and other Groups

The No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance filed an emergency motion in Los Angeles Superior Court today asking the court to allow them to intervene as Defendants in the case of Urban Wildlands Group vs. City of Los Angeles (LASC BS115483). 

Urban Wildlands and other groups sued the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Animal Services for attempting to work with community groups and non-profit organizations whose missions are focused on protection of free-roaming (homeless, stray, and unsocialized “feral”) cats. These programs help reduce the population of free-roaming cats and prevent impounds in the City’s seven animal shelters where thousands of healthy cats and kittens are killed annually. 

The plaintiffs claim that stray cats harm the ecosystem by preying on birds. In December, the Superior Court ordered the City of Los Angeles to cease all work with community groups that work to prevent shelter killing of free-roaming cats through the sterilization method known as Trap-Neuter-Return (“TNR”). As a result of the ruling, the City can no longer inform the public about TNR services available in the community. The ruling will result in thousands of cats being needlessly killed at taxpayer expense in City shelters, while doing virtually nothing to stem any perceived loss of bird life.

If the motion to intervene is granted, both No Kill Advocacy Center andStray Cat Alliance —whose missions include saving the lives of free roaming and feral cats in Los Angeles and other communities—will be able to seek modification and appeal of the court’s order.

“This ruling does nothing to save birds, while threatening to needlessly kill cats at taxpayer expense. We cannot allow this ruling to force the City to turn back the clock on shelter policies to the dark days of ‘catch and kill’ being the official policy,” said Christi Metropole, Executive Director ofStray Cat Alliance. “At the same time, the ruling does not affect the real cause for bird species decline, namely human encroachment, human activities, human pollution and use of toxic pesticides.”

According to Nathan J. Winograd, Director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center, “the court’s broad ruling failed to consider several points of fact and law that we are prepared to present as defendants in the action. We believe that had the court considered these points, it would not have issued this misguided ruling. In fact, parts of the ruling conflict with state law and oversteps the court’s authority over the legislative branch of government.”

Winograd also said that, “Blaming animals who cannot defend themselves gives the environmental groups the appearance of working to find a solution to bird decline, but their opposition to TNR is counterproductive to the cause they claim to represent. An end to information about TNR will cause increases in feral cat populations because when the only option is killing, people will not ask for assistance with these cats. A recent national study found that over 80% of people surveyed consider it more ethical to leave a cat out on the street than to turn the cat over to animal control to be killed. And for those feral cats who do end up at the shelter, their killing is a tragic certainty.”

"We will not allow them (cats) to get killed," said Metropole. 

The No Kill Advocacy Center is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters.Stray Cat Alliance is dedicated to ending the killing of cats in and around Los Angeles. The No Kill Advocacy Center and Stray Cat Alliance are represented by the national law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Los Angeles.

Facts about TNR

Fact: TNR reduces feral cat populations and it does so humanely.

Urban Wildlands and the other environmental groups claim they are opposed to TNR because they care about birds and want to reduce the number of feral cats in Los Angeles who prey on birds. This is false.

An multi-year study in Ohio found that cat impounds and deaths were increasing at all those shelters, and  feral cats were most at risk of being killed, except  for those with sterilization programs. In addition, a survey of San Francisco cat colonies in the 1990s found that every single one at which a TNR program was implemented saw population numbers decline. This is consistent with national and regional studies which found that 80% of owned pet cats were already sterilized, and that any attempts to increase the proportion of neutered cats in the United States must include stray and feral cats. In order to reduce cat numbers, cat impounds, cat deaths, and by extension, any perceived bird predation, it is important to sterilize the feral population, since the alternative is not removal of feral cats, but doing nothing.  Municipalities do not engage in large scale cat removal campaigns, nor do they generally engage in direct TNR efforts. But in partnering with groups that do, calls about stray cats, cat impounds, cat deaths, and the number of free roaming cats decline.

Fact: Cats do not impact bird populations.

A consensus of the scientific literature, independent of those promulgated by special interest advocacy organizations such as those that make up the petititioning environmental groups in this case, have exonerated cats in any bird decline on continents, and identify a different cause: habitat destruction by humans. Another major culprit is the use of pesticides—particularly toxic lawn care products, insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides. Other studies point to drought, forest fragmentation, and trapping by humans. Unless we conclude that predation studies conducted on four continents are all wrong, feral cats should no longer be unfairly implicated in any decimation of bird populations.
Cats, Birds & The Law

Save the Date! Join Nathan Winograd in Los Angeles on March 30 for a two-hour seminar on cats, predation, and the law at the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Attorneys and paralegals eligible for two hours of CLE credit. Non-attorneys welcome. The seminar will be followed by a book signing for his new book, Irreconcilable Differences. All proceeds from the sales of books benefit the lifesaving work of Stray Cat Alliance. 



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Anonymous said...

Nathan lost yesterday.

Anonymous said...

It saddens me that people will go to any lengths to place blame other than on themselves. Around here people are willing to admit the problem is with a lot of the pesticides and poisons used in our farming community.

Though lately WestNile is the biggest bird killer. I've found several corpses, all unmarred, which is saying something considered I manage a small feral cat colony along with our farm cats. I've never seen our cats bother with birds, too much energy needed to get them. Though they do drag every rodent corpse imaginable up the front porch step (I've never understood why they do this). When common rabbits become an endangered species let me know.