Animal Welfare Professionals

  • 1.  what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 09-27-2021 03:26 PM
    Have you or your organization tried to manage community cats on a military base? Attempted to work with the base to do TNR or deal with a growing outdoor cat population on a base?

    The U.S. military has some old and often stringent rules about stray animals on bases. A number of organizations have tried to address the issues on the base level with little traction  (even though they have great names like Cat Team 7 and Operation Git-Meow). 

    I'm doing some research to better understand the scope of the issue and identify where there may be some pivot points. I'd like to hear about your experiences.
    #CommunityCatManagement

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    Danielle Bays
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  • 2.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 09-29-2021 10:42 AM
    Hi @Peter Wolf do you have any insights to share re: Danielle's question? Thx!!!
    I believe you may have talked about TNR on military bases on a HASS/Maddie's call in June...

    Best - ​

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    Thank you all for all you do!

    Amber Freiwald
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 3.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 09-29-2021 11:35 AM
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, @Amber Freiwald-I don't check in here as often as I should!

    I know a bit about the groups @danielle bays mentions, and I've heard some good things about Fort Hood in El Paso, TX (and can gather more details if that would be helpful).

    Although I'd certainly like to see the policies change, I'm afraid it's going to be a heavy lift-as indicated in this recent article from Lance McDaniel, environmental division director for Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Now feeding cats is putting pilots' lives at risk? We all know vultures are attracted to roadkill-so, following McDaniel's line of reasoning, we should really be restricting driving near the base, right...? 

    I would imagine all branches of the military lean heavily on guidance from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in such matters, and I think we all know what their (unofficial) position on free-roaming cats is. (When pressed, they'll admit they don't actually have a position, but then go and do whatever they can to oppose TNR efforts.) Adding fuel to the fire is opposition at the state level, as demonstrated in the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies' "Toolkit to Address Free-ranging Domestic Cats (Felis catus) on Agency Lands Managed for Native Wildlife and Ecosystem Health," (PDF) published last year.

    While we generally do pretty well at the local level, the push for even modest progress at the state and federal level is much more difficult. I think it's a real shame when it comes to military policies-a military base would seem to be "low-hanging fruit" in so many ways when it comes to targeted TNR (e.g., healthy and fit "workforce," lots of structure in place for monitoring, etc.).


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    Peter Wolf
    Best Friends Animal Society
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  • 4.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 09-29-2021 01:15 PM
    This is a heavy lift for sure!  And a long-term effort. But we need to start somewhere.

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    daniellebays
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  • 5.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 09-30-2021 09:00 AM
    Everything already said is true.  And sometimes there will be a (usually) wife of someone in charge of the base who is sympathetic to TNR and the cats.  That person who is in charge can sometimes make things happen--so it is who you know and how much influence they have and then a bit of luck.

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    Margaret Slater
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  • 6.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 10-01-2021 07:57 AM
    Yes, this is important. We have lots of individuals doing community cat work on bases despite regulations, under the cloak of darkness. And we also have individual bases where someone in charge has quietly allowed local community cat work despite regulations. Perhaps uniting these folks and starting here is the way forward?

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    Monica Frenden-Tarant
    Maddie's® Director of Feline Lifesaving
    American Pets Alive!
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  • 7.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 10-02-2021 10:04 AM
    I haven't worked on this issue, but as  former military brat (1950s and 60s), I would be happy to engage with any group working to change policies for military bases.

    The military should not only support efforts to help the abandoned pets already on their bases, but actively work to make sure no pets are left behind by current personnel who are transferred.  

    Thanks to all who are working to help these cats and dogs and to change the inhumane policies!

    Best ~

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    April King
    Volunteer and Board Member
    Kotor Kitties
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  • 8.  RE: what is your experience with community cats on military bases?

    Posted 10-03-2021 04:46 AM
    Hi All;

       I have done a couple of interviews on this topic.  They are both pretty old interviews but both Erika and Caitlyn share the challenges that they faced at the time. 

    https://www.communitycatspodcast.com/episode-203-erika-kelly/

    https://www.communitycatspodcast.com/episode-53-caitlyn-mcintosh/

    One of the first feeding stations(we actually had three on their property at one time) in Newburyport was at the Coast Guard Station.  The Coast Guard team there really appreciated our efforts back in the 90's and they even brought back a cat to join the group from another location where they felt the cat wasn't safe.  Things didn't get stressful until national started creating policies etc.  We had to close one station and move 2 other stations to the edge of the property, but the cats were still "close to home".  By that point in time we may have had 4 or 5 cats left vs the 30+ that were there when we first started.  



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    stacy lebaron
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