County Cuts Humane Society Funding for Cats, Angering Birders
By Glen Moberg
Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 11:23am
The Marathon County Board has voted to eliminate funding for the care of cats at its humane society shelter, a move that has angered bird watchers.
The board voted unanimously for the cut, although it will continue to meet its legal requirements by paying to house dogs. The savings will amount to $50,000 a year.
Environmentalists say the price will be paid by the native bird population.
“There's a lot of evidence that bird populations are harmed by predatory cats,” says Carl Schwartz, president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. “Cats make wonderful pets, but they belong indoors.”
Schwartz is also the coordinator for Bird City Wisconsin, a designation that was awarded to Wausau, the biggest city in Marathon County.
“Bird City Wisconsin is a recognition and education program,” says Schwartz. “One of the things we emphasize is eliminating hazards to birds, and the two hazards that are most clearly identified are window strikes and predatory cats.”
Schwartz is hoping the Marathon County Board reverses its policy. The board is providing $60,000 next year and $30,000 the following year to temporarily help local communities with their stray cat problem. More than 800 cats are housed each year at the shelter.