Why California’s S.B. 250 is bad for cats, From Alley Cat Allies

I have read the bill closely too, and posted the two areas that would affect feral feeders. I posted this a couple of weeks ago:

Actually reading the latest version of SB 250 leads me to the conclusion that SB 250 can be used punitively against feral caretakers and feeders due to its definition of  "custodian," as below. A custodian is defined as someone who "means any person who undertakes the personal care and control of a cat, or any person who intentionally provides care, security, or sustenance for a cat on the person’s property for any period exceeding 30 days.
"Care of a cat" clearly covers care of ferals by feeders and colony managers. The second half of the sentence applies to "non-owners," meaning, I guess, people who declare cats living on their property are not theirs, who take care of the cat for 30 days.
The penalty for not S/N such a cat and providing the licensing agency with proof of sterility is $100/day.
Based on this interpretation, I would have to conclude the legislation can be, and likely will be used against feral colony caretakers.

S.B. 250 is a proposed bill that is really just more of the same in California—a bill that would hurt cats by penalizing the volunteer caregivers and low-income pet owners who care for them. S.B. 250 would push government requirements on citizens without providing them with ways to meet those requirements. Because the bill would cite anyone helping cats who has not yet spayed or neutered the cat, regardless of their ability to pay for surgeries or trap a cat, S.B. 250 would discourage care for cats. If S.B. 250 were passed, it’s the cats who would suffer.
What California—and the rest of America—needs is a game changing bill that will support volunteer caregivers who donate their own time and money to help cats. As the sole national organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of cats, Alley Cat Allies knows that the only laws that are supportive of cats, their owners, and caregivers will actually increase care and neutering of cats. Where neighbors are supported by community programs that provide affordable, available spay/neuter and Trap-Neuter-Return, including education and outreach, they are able to take action to improve the lives of cats. Punitive laws like S.B. 250 only serve to discourage those activities.
Good laws help good people do more good. S.B. 250 is just the opposite—it would penalize low-income cat owners and the very volunteer caregivers who are doing the most to help cats.
  1. S.B. 250 applies to feral cat caregivers.

    The bill clearly applies to feral cat caregivers, and anyone who cares for cats on their property. The bill creates the new legal category “custodian” to apply to caregivers, defined to mean any person who undertakes the “personal care and control of a cat, or any person who intentionally provides care, security, or sustenance for a cat on the person’s property for any period exceeding 30 days.”

    This definition plainly includes any person caring for a cat on their property, but it is worded imprecisely enough that any caregiver could fall under its definition if they are determined to undertake “the personal care and control of a cat.” The definition is so vague that anyone who gives any care to cats, 
    even a bowl of water, could be cited.
  2. Creating the legal category “custodian” for feral cat caregivers sets a dangerous precedent.

    By classifying caregivers as “custodians,” S.B. 250 would expose these volunteers to citations and other penalties for their community service on behalf of feral cats.

    The classification of “custodian” does not currently exist under California law. This bill creates a new legal category, which could then be subject to future legal requirements. Passing S.B. 250 would establish a precedent for feral cat caregivers to be subject to legal requirements just because they care for cats—opening up a legal pathway for caregivers to be cited
     just for being a caregiver.

    Feral cat caregivers are not owners: they are volunteers who donate their time and money to care for cats, stepping in to improve the well-being of the stray and feral cats in their neighborhood. Feral cats are not socialized to people; they are not adoption candidates and do not belong in pounds and shelters. 
    Beacause they provide a service to the cats and their neighbors, it is wrong to impose on them fines, fees, and citations.
  3. Under S.B. 250, feral cat caregivers could be cited.

    Under S.B. 250, if a person who feeds cats is unable to neuter all of the cats, that person could be cited. No matter the challenge faced in trapping and neutering cats—including covering the cost of neuter surgeries. If even one cat is left
    unneutered, the feral cat caregiver would be in violation of the law. Feral cat caregivers have enough challenges; they should not be cited for their inability to neuter a cat. These volunteers need support, not a citation.
  4. Pet cats of low-income families would be hurt by S.B. 250.

    S.B. 250 harms pet cats in low-income families because many of those families cannot afford the cost of a full-priced spay/neuter surgery. A recent peer-reviewed study by researchers at Alley Cat Allies found that among low-income owners of intact pet cats, cost is the number one reason people give for not neutering their pets. S.B. 250 does nothing to lower the cost or expand the availability of affordable spay/neuter services, and may even encourage these owners to surrender their pets.
     What low-income owners and many volunteer caregivers need are spay/neuter resources and support. The reality is that without adequate access to low-cost or subsidized spay/neuter services, some caregivers and families will not be able to neuter the animals they care for. It is wrong for the government to mandate a service when that service is unavailable to many citizens.
  5. Alley Cat Allies supports increased resources for cats and caregivers

    Alley Cat Allies believes that any law applied to feral cat caregivers should support their efforts, not be a barrier to their success. When caregivers are given the proper resources to get cats neutered, including access to affordable neuter services, more cats are neutered.

    Alley Cat Allies has long promoted Trap-Neuter-Return as the gold standard for caring for feral cats and provided support and advice to countless groups, organizations and individuals practicing Trap-Neuter-Return across the country. Caregivers are to be encouraged and rewarded, not penalized simply because they do not have access to affordable spay/neuter services.
  6. S.B. 250 harms cats because it discourages cat care. 
    Bills like S.B. 250 harm cats because they discourage
    caregiving. Instead of providing resources for improved cat care, this bill would cite caregivers and owners who are unable to neuter every cat they care for. Our experience is that laws which cite caregivers and owners send people underground, where they are less able to receive support for their efforts and worse, discourage people from caring for cats at all. This bill reinforces and expands the current system of penalizing owners and caregivers who care for animals. S.B. 250 would further burden volunteer feral cat caregivers and it would target low-income pet-owning families. Because it discourages cat care, S.B. 250 makes it more likely that cats will be sent to pounds and shelters, where 70% of all cats entering are killed, including virtually all incoming feral cats.


Anonymous said...

TNR is cruel to cats, and to the people impacted with the mess. Your own blog points out the problems better than any opponent could. It's just a way for shelters to dump unwanted cats.
The British broad throwing the poor cat in the dumpster is one more example of the cruelty the cats face on the street. TNR is abandoning and the caregivers drop the ball to often.

Ed Muzika said...

And, your non-cruel solution? Catch and Kill? Do nothing and let then starve? Bring them all into your home and create a hoarding situation?

What is your non-cruel solution?

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

To "anonymous": you clearly have no clue what you are talking about. Do you even understand what TNR is? Cats are not "dumped" anywhere, by anyone. What TNR entails is sterilizing unsocialized cats WHO ARE ALREADY LIVING ON THE STREET. The cats are not abandoned, but cared for by people after they are returned to their outdoor homes. I have been feeding TNR'd feral cats for several years, every single day. When any get sick or become injured, I trap them and take them to a vet. These cats are well-fed and happy in their outdoor homes. Though not perfect or devoid of danger (whose life is, by the way?), this life is preferable to immediate death at the local shelter.

Anonymous said...

TNR is a policy which captures cats that have no one to care for them. They are given a surgical procedure and an injection. Then they are dumped back on the streets with no one to care for them. If I didn't understand precisely what TNR is, I wouldn't find it so abhorrent. You wouldn't do that with a dog, or a parakeet,or would you?

Ed Muzika said...

Again, what is your solution? Catch and kill, leave them alone and don't feed them, or bring them all into your house illegally?

This is the third time I asked for your alternative to TNR and you haven't answered.

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

Actually, if you did understand TNR, you wouldn't find it so abhorrent. Where do you get your misinformation? From PETA? From the Audobon Society? Do you know what a feral cat is? Look it up. Once again, TNR'd cats are not abandoned. They are fed and monitored by people; I've been doing this for 15 years and can't think of a single instance where feral cats were sterilized and "dumped." Who do you think catches them to have them sterilized? The same people who feed them.

You cannot compare dogs and parakeets to feral cats. There is a reason why you do not see large colonies of dogs and parakeets living as wild animals in North America. Feral cats are adapted to their outdoor environments. Why do you think there are so many of them everywhere? Like other wild animals, their lives are not always easy, but that does not mean they should be killed, and I assume that would be your suggestion, right? Do you think raccoons, possums, and squirrels should be rounded up and killed because their lives are nasty, brutish, and short?

Anonymous said...

Okay shootin' Sam, all of the other creatures you mentioned are indigenous and wild. They are not domesticated animals who through no fault of their own are left homeless. I have seen dogs that were tied to trees for years; they were as feral as any cats I have ever seen. When overseas, I see packs of wild dogs, and it isn't so glamorous. I see Ed asking for my option; I've not seen one of his. What the feeders have done is create a synthetic population, the morons throwing cracked corn, for their own entertainment, do the same thing with pigeons. I don't see a lot of people feeding the raccoons so I maintain my position. If you want a cat go to the pound and adopt one.

Anonymous said...

I see hundreds of Amazon Parrots flying in Pasadena and East LA. They seem to do just fine--lots of loquat and other fruit trees.

But, then, they are not native wildlife (btw-neither are possums). I guess they should be rounded up and killed.

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

Possums are not indigenous to California; they were introduced intentionally. So I guess that means they should be rounded up and killed, right? There are many non-indigenous wild animals thriving in this country. They have adapted to the environment and have their biological niches. Should they all be killed as well, simply because they aren't indigenous? What a ridiculous argument.

You don't see people feeding raccoons? People feed them unknowingly all the time. Raccoons, like feral cats, are scavengers. Raccoons living in urban areas survive by eating garbage left around by humans, just the way feral cats do. Again, do you even know what a feral cat is? These are unsocialized cats born on the streets or in the wild...they are not, as you imply, domesticated cats taken from shelters and "dumped" on the streets. Most of these cats are not adoptable as housecats; they are just as fearful of humans as raccoons. Just like other wild animals, they tend to want to defend themselves when they are confined and (mis)handled by humans. So this leads us back to Ed's question, which you still haven't answered: what is your humane and effective alternative to TNR?

They Call Me Chap said...

The humane answer is spay/neuter,& quit giving them away because the people don't take care of "free pets" .The Nevada Humane Society has an average of 10 days a monthe where they advertise "free" that is a lot of the problem. Sometimes an animal that is not adoptable must be put down,sorry Charlie. We do put animals down in Sacramento and sometimes that is the kindest thing.

Ed Muzika said...

With over a million cats on the street of LA, sometimes put them down would occur about a million times to "solve" the outdoor problem.

Even if every cat that supposedly is adopted out by animal services each year made it back to the streets, that is only 2% of the entire outdoor population.

You really do not have a grasp as to the extent of the problem and blaming it on liberal adoption polices of the shelters shows you really have no grasp. You are fixated on one small segment.

AND, why is trap and kill in most cases the the best solution for ferla cats?

Karen said...

Obviously your favored method is working so well Ed. Thats why you guys have so many wild cats on the streets. You're the one who doesn' get it, I hope 250 passes and Alley Cat Allies can get a real job. We do have strays in Sacramento and I work for the county so I know the problems we face when crazy people start feeding the cats. They come in droves, and then we get calls at the health department and the synthetic population is removed.

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

Wow, "Karen" and Karen "anonymous." Did you just fall off the turnip truck? Your simple minded suggestion that free adoptions at animal shelters caused the feral cat problem is truly laughable. So no more free adoptions would solve the problem? Hahaha...wake up! By the way, are you aware that TNR IS NOT the official policy in LA for managing the feral cat population? The shelters in LA and elsewhere in the country kill thousands and thousands of feral cats every year, and it hasn't solved the problem, has it, Karen? In communities where TNR IS the official policy and animal control is involved, shelter intake and euthanasia rates have gone down (Jacksonville FLA is a good example).

They Call Me Chap said...

I lived in south Reno and worked in Carson City. The Reno area had tons of strays & complaints ( they support TNR ) and Carson City did not. There were no cat issues in Carson. When we retired to Sacramento we became involved in shelter volunteering again. Not a stray cat problem in our part of the city, and no TNR. I believe, you believe. I think it's a crock.

Ed Muzika said...

No Kill, No way, do you think any of us believe what you are saying? You are implying that TNR increases stray problems, and doing nothing, or whatever you did when you got back into rescue work, reversed the problem in your area.

What was your magic solution--as if anyone believed you.

No one is going to believe there was no problem in Carson, and no problem after you started back.

Ed Muzika said...

Hey no kill, no way, after 3 minutes on the Internet I found this. The city of Carson does suggest TNR and also says it got hundreds of ferals impounded:

Stop feral cats from becoming problems.

By Pam Graber

Q: What is the problem with feral cats?

A: Feral, or wild, cats have had little or no human contact and they usually live in groups near reliable shelter and water. They are found in both rural and urban areas. They are often regarded as a nuisance because when there are too many of them, they tend to fight, mark territory, howl and destroy property. Cats can have as many as 15 offspring in a year, and when the kittens are only 4 months old, they are capable of breeding. Spring is prime time for cats to breed.

To be fair, however, it must be said that feral cats have earned a respective place in the backyard food chain and there are advantages to this. For many residents, they are excellent for controlling rodents, skunks and even raccoons. Raccoons are a problem because they are a menace to small pets and they are smart, stealthy and extremely messy garbage invaders. They travel through sewer pipes and are mostly nocturnal, so not often seen. Skunks have their own notoriety. Squirrels, mice, voles and other rodents can be the bane of the backyard gardener because they forage and burrow. The presence of feral cats seems to keep these animals away.

Another downside to an excessive number of feral cats is that many of them will be euthanized.

Carson City Animal Services is concerned about the health, safety and welfare of the cats in our community, as well as the public's health. Around 300 stray cats a year are brought to the shelter by folks who have an overabundance of them on their property. These animals are rarely adopted.

“Catch and kill is not the answer!” says Pat Wiggins, Carson City Animal Services manager. Studies have shown that this approach does not work because when the cat is gone, it simply creates room for another cat to move in.


“The most progressive solution,” Wiggins advises, “is known as trap, neuter and return.” Trap, neuter and return (TNR) is a preventive measure that involves the following:

1) Trap, humanely: The best time to trap is as soon as you discover feral cats living on your property. The younger the cat, the better.

Residents can borrow traps from the Carson City Animal Shelter, or better yet, can purchase their own starting at around $20 from local pet or feed stores.
2) Neuter:

3) Return: Pick up your neutered feral cats, bring them home and return them to their environment.

• Pam Graber is the public information officer for Carson City Health and Human Services. You can reach her at pgraber@ci.

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

"No kill, no way," I think you are a crock. You probably have no stray cat problems in your part of Sacramento because the city of Sacramento supports TNR, and there is a coalition of people actively working to reduce the free-roaming cat population via sterilization: http://www.cityofsacramento.org/generalservices/animal-care/general-info/feral-cat.cfm

They Call Me Chap said...

You post a list of non-affiliated rescues like that means something. The city allows them to do that it's a pr move to shut you guys up. Rescuses have been hoarding cats for centuries, that will never change. There will always be a group of people who don't care how much the animal suffers if it makes them feel good. They drag their little crosses from village to village and torture cats through neglect and pat themselves on the back. Read what you post partner, City letterhead does not condone the act, just acknowledges it.
the health, safety and welfare of the cats in our community, as well as the public's health.
" Around 300 stray cats a year are brought to the shelter by folks who have an overabundance of them on their property." That's not a problem number Ed, get a grip.

Ed Muzika said...

Hey No Kill. You said Carson does not support TNR, but Wiggins, the head of animal control in Carson says they do. Do we believe her, or do we believe you?

You said Carson had no feral problem. Wiggins says they get 300 ferals a year. You admit that is a problem.

Therefore, two out of two facts you allege are disproved by Carson City's animal services.

Therefore, you have no credibility. Like other No Kill critics, you just make things up to prove your point.

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

"No kill," you also said there is no TNR and no stray cat problem in Sacramento, which is an obvious lie. So the city just devotes an entire page to TNR on their official web site to placate animal hoarders? Your arguments are becoming more and more ridiculous with every post. How can you expect anyone to take you seriously? It's obvious you have zero evidence (and no experience) to back up any of your assertions about TNR, feral cats, or no kill. This is something you know absolutely nothing about, so just stick with your weekly volunteer stints at the shelter and continue to pat yourself on the back for that.

Karen said...

Ed, if you read the Chap's comment you will see he says " 300 is NOT a problem, get a grip"
(You said Carson had no feral problem. Wiggins says they get 300 ferals a year. You admit that is a problem. ) Chap admitted no such thing. 300 cats a year? cake walk !! NHS is claiming on the press release online to get 30 a day, now that would be 900 a month; that would be a problem. Would NHS tell a lie to get donations?
Or is TNR falling on it's face?