Control feral cats with spay and neuter
This is in response to the Gazette article regarding the fee and limitations being considered for cat ownership in Charleston to help control the feral cat population. I am a volunteer for a local rescue group, with emphasis on helping feral cats and those affected by them, and this is a huge problem all over. Outdoor cats are not a new phenomenon and can thrive in every landscape. They are not socialized to people. They are protected under state anti-cruelty laws, but shelters, even no-kill shelters, can only kill them because they are not adoptable to homes. People unfortunately think of cats as disposable and will leave them or take them to shelters. Those left often become feral without human intervention. The Kanawha County Animal Shelter, in the month of June 2013, had 535 feral and pet cats surrendered to the shelter; 378 of those were euthanized.
The Charleston City Council is thinking that charging a fee for pet cats and limiting their numbers in households will help the feral cat problem. How? As rescuers, research and experience tell us that the only effective way to control the feral cat population is by spay and neuter. In a house with 50 feral cats, if you kill/remove 10 of those cats, 10 more un-altered cats will move in, and you have done nothing to help the problem. Ten un-altered cats and their offspring can produce thousands of kittens in a year's time. Trap, spay and neuter those same 10 cats and return them to live out their lives without contributing to the rising population and you have leveled the problem. This vacuum effect is well documented. Neutered cats will fight less and spread leukemia and feline AIDS less, which are spread during mating and birthing, and has become common among feral and pet cats. Fixed feral cats are less likely to "mark" their territory with urine and feces.
Go ahead and charge the fee, but take the money and provide neutering services to those who are willing. Pay it forward. I think you will find many people and rescue groups willing to do the footwork if neutering services are minimal or free for these ferals. Cities and shelters all over the United States are seeing drops in feral cat numbers because of TNR. The answer is not removal. The answer is cohabitation and cooperation.
Joyce K. Jones
Looking for pictures, and veterans
I am looking for anyone who took basic training at Ft. Knox, Ky., in early 1966, the winter of an outbreak of spinal meningitis. I lost all my pictures in a house fire in 1970. I would appreciate a group picture. I was hoping for one in my dress uniform. I remember picture albums were available of the company after graduation of the training class.
I am also looking for any veterans of the 249th engineers. This battalion left Camp Bowie, Texas, during World War II and was a part of the invading force in the European Theater. I served in Germany in the 249th Engineers Company B from mid-1966 through December 1968. We had three major targets during this time: Bernbach in 1966, Munster in 1967 and Germersheim in 1968. I would like to contact veterans of the 249th engineers during the war years. We have a reunion for our unit, "his little bridge builders."