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September 22, 2011


Joanna Childress

While I do call myself an animal lover, I would not call myself a feral cat lover. Speaking from experience working in law enforcement, the issue surrounding feral cats is indeed a hot-topic. One must tread upon the subject with gentle steps indeed. In light of this, I do propose a point of view that has been expressed among many, but perhaps needs to be reiterated so that we do all follow that "every life is precious".

Feral cat colonies do not occur naturally. For this reason, please keep in mind that while some may protect these cats, no one is protecting the hundreds of small mammals and birds that do occur naturally in Virginia's urban and rural wildlife settings. While ecosystems do a brilliant job of keeping themselves in check, I believe it would be easy to make a double-blunder to allow these cats to make yet another negative impact on society. While there are many wonderful programs out there to vaccinate and sterilize these cats, we cannot stop them from doing what nature has instilled in them. They will take chipmunks, birds, lizards, and various other animals that make their homes in our backyards just as these cats do.

I do not necessarily wish to publish or argue a stand on this platform surrounding the case of Ms. Susan Mills; but I do wish and hope that while we ponder how we feel about these contemporary conundrums, that we do not forget our responsibility to the world around us. We have made mistakes with these unfortunate animals that should be companions; let's not make another by forgetting to keep objectivity on our shoulder.

Tabitha Hanes

Hi Joanna,
We appreciate your perspective; however, there is much research that refutes the misleading statistics related to cat predation of bird species. These studies point to destructive human activities as the real threat to bird populations and other wildlife. A great resource for accurate information is Alley Cat Allies,, see the “Wildlife & Environment” section of their website.

Feral cat colonies have existed for decades – outdoor cats have been present in Susan Mills’ neighborhood for all of the 37 years she has lived there -- and they exist because of human irresponsibility. They will continue to exist for so long as individuals fail to assure their own pet cats are spayed or neutered and until irresponsible guardians stop abandoning their pets outdoors. To argue that feral cats should be summarily killed in order to remove a statistically small threat they may pose to other wildlife is both inhumane and irresponsible.

It is also important to point out that Ms. Mills’ violation that is being appealed before the Board is not related to the merits of Trap-Neuter-Return. Her appeal focuses on whether putting bowls of food out for companion animals is a permissible use of property in a residential district of the county.

Thank you,
Tabitha Hanes
Director of Communications

annie pelfrey

well said- and had Susan (and others) did not take on the responsibility of sterilizing these cats, then what?

Lee Lorberau

I am so thankful that we have such a compassionate and responsible person in the world as Susan Mills. She is getting the ferrel cats fixed as well as feeding them. Do not stop her efforts she may well be on the way to being the control of ferrel cats for her location. Do not think that the cats are a danger to other living animals in the area, because the are not, PEOPLE are the cause of the dangers to our environment around the world. Irresponsible people, people who do not respect life, life for all creatures simply because of their personal wants, not needs. These cats are a product of peoples irresponsibilty, let them live what life they can find and know that they are being watched over by a responsible woman who is getting them fixed and getting them shots to prevent them from being a danger to the human population and their pets. This is a terrible infringement on the PEOPLES RIGHT'S everywhere to limit putting feeding bowls out on your property. If Susan Mills is stopped in her efforts then bird feeders will be the next target to be prevented. I am very proud to support Susan Mills. God bless you Susan Mills, there is a special place in heaven for you when you go.

Gary Byrd

I do not think it is fair to compare cats to lizards and chipmunks. Cats are very intelligent animals. They have feelings and feel hunger and mistreatment. Their lives are precious, they are beautiful animals. It is impossible for mankind to spay and neuter every cat that is born in the wild and thus they need human care and that sometimes includes feeding them and when possible then spay and neuter.

I am saddened by the cold heartedness of many toward cats and feral cats in general. I wholeheartedly support Susan Mills and her endeavors and would do the same things she does given the opportunity.

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