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« Feral cats deserve to be part of our circle of compassion | Main | Defense of animals does not rest following illogical Henrico ruling »

October 20, 2011


Janie Evans

I am absolutely appalled at this decision and heartbroken too. What will happen to the cats? Is there anything we can do as a community? I live in Powhatan but will go to bat for Susan.

Lee Anne Holdren

Well said. I've never seen such an inarticulate, disorganized argument as was presented by the other side today. Because the majority of Henrico households do not feed feral cats in our own yards, it appears that NONE of us are afforded this right. This, combined with unspecified hysteria about nonexistent health risks (and a sole neighborhood agitator with a flexible interpretation of truth) appear to have carried the day.

annie pelfrey

this is unbelievable!
Mr. Wright was the only person on that side who made ANY sense. at least i happen to live in his district.
what happens now?

Ed Moore

I applaud Henrico County. Susan Mills may be a responsible caregiver, but some are not. A lady in my neighborhood feeds a feral colony, names them, considers them her pets, but does not practice TNR. Despite repeated pleas from neighbors, she says " there is nothing wrong with what she is doing" and the colony of 15+ cats continues to grow. And yes, the neighborhood reached out several times to the SPCA for help, but nothing was ever done. So, thank you Henrico County for this ruling.

Philip Crosby

Bravo, Robin, for personally taking up this cause. Henrico should be hanging its head in shame this morning, for a ruling that makes no sense, either legally or morally.

Robin Starr

Mr. Moore –

We are happy to post your comment even though we find it mystifying. First, we have no record of your having ever “reached out” to us for any sort of assistance and your comment is totally unclear as to what specifically you wished for this organization to do. We provide free spaying and neutering and rabies vaccinations for feral cats and both your neighbor and you are free to trap them, have them spayed or neutered and vaccinated in our clinic and return them to the location where you trapped them. You seem to believe that your neighbor should be engaging in TNR and we would support that whole heartedly. However, we cannot understand why you would agree with the ruling of the Henrico Board of Zoning Appeals since they have actually prohibited Ms. Mills from “caring for” the feral cats and that means, we assume, that they are prohibiting her from doing TNR.

Ed Moore

These will be my last comments. Approve them if you want. We obviously look at this issue from different sides.

Some of my earlier comments were general in nature and not specific to the Mills case.
In fairness to me, not all comments (from either side) at the hearing (which I attended) were specific to the case. Now related to her case. Maybe Henrico should make a distinction between someone who is a responsible caregiver versus someone who is not. A person being responsible, trying to control the size of the feral colony and keep it healthy, perhaps they should be given some type of permit to do just that. But how would Henrico know that? How would you know? Do you honestly believe everyone in Henrico who is feeding feral cats is doing good. My guess is there are quite a few, like my neighbor, who are actually contributing to the problem by letting colonies grow uncontrolled. Until a distinction can be made, I fully support the decision yesterday.

Now for my situation. As for “reaching out” to the SPCA, I believe 3 calls define reaching out. A brief time line. Another neighbor called the SPCA approx 18 months ago. At that time someone did visit the neighbor lady who is feeding the colony, and they also returned a message back to neighbor 1, saying the lady agreed to get the cats spayed/neutered/shots -- but that did not happen. Apparently SPCA never did follow up with her, so neighbor 1 called back after another litter of kittens were born. SPCA said they could not force neighbor 2 to do anything, however, other neighbors could engage in TNR. To me this made no sense. If the SPCA is so adamant about saving all feral cats, then they should be doing follow ups to make sure feral colonies are kept in check. So after this, I called the SPCA and was basically told the same thing as neighbor 1. I could practice TNR but neighbor 2 can choose “not to”. Are you saying neighbor 2 should not be held accountable at all? If she chooses not to use TNR, that’s ok? and there is nothing the SPCA can do? Just let the colony continue to grow? When you asked ‘what did I expect you to do”, follow up is what I expected you to do and not give what seems to be the standard response. Other neighbors should begin TNR.

Tabitha Hanes

Mr. Moore,
The Board of Zoning Appeals made clear in its decision that the decision applies only to Ms. Mills, who as you concede in your last comment has been responsible for controlling the number and health of the cats in her neighborhood. It is specifically to that responsible caretaker that the board's ruling that she may no longer care for or provide rabies vaccinations to these cats applies.

Regarding your own neighborhood, we are glad that you and other neighbors have made contact with our spay/neuter clinic and that appropriate information was delivered regarding the services available through the Richmond SPCA. There are an amazing range of services we make available to our community, including the approximately 2,000 free surgeries plus rabies shots we perform annually for feral cats along with providing education, but we have absolutely no power to compel people to engage in TNR or use our services. Building a more compassionate community that does not rely on killing to control the animal population is the goal of this organization, and the vast number of services we provide bear out our commitment to our mission, but we do not have the authority to force people to be responsible.

It seems that there are a number of neighbors with whom you share goals, including the desire that the colony fed by neighbor 2 does not continue to grow. Could you work with them toward that common goal by trapping the cats, bringing them to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated against rabies, and returning them for neighbor 2 to continue feeding? Perhaps she has limitations making it difficult for her to manage trapping and transporting the cats. Have any of the neighbors talked with her about working together for a mutually beneficial arrangement?

Regina Castro

If you don't like animals, you don't like people either. I think buddy it's time to move or get a job if you have time to monitor what time your neighbor feeds the cats-too sad.

annie pelfrey

Tabitha is right. the longer people wait for "someone" else to do it, the worse the problem becomes.

Pam Deyerle

Does the SPCA provide help and assistance when someone does want to do TNR? Meaning do they come out and set the traps (with food), return to check on them until a cat is caught, remove the trap and cat to then spay/neuter/vaccinate, and then return the cat to the area? Or is all of that left up to the individual? It doesn't sound like from the comments above that the SPCA does that, but I could be wrong.

Responsible people like Ms. Mills should be allowed to continue, of course. But I can also see the side of Mr. Moore. If a person cares enough about feral cats to feed then, I have a hard time believing they would refuse TNR IF an organization did all the work for them.

Tamsen Kingry

Pam, the Richmond SPCA tries very hard to empower and train individuals in the community who have identified or are already feeding a group of feral cats to engage in trap-neuter-return. We will loan individuals the traps and teach them how to use them effectively and safely so as to ensure their success. If someone is not physically able to perform T-N-R him or herself, then we attempt to find volunteers in the community who can provide assistance to them to accomplish T-N-R. We typically reach out to caretakers already using our Smoky's Spay/Neuter Clinic to see if they may provide help. Many times we have united volunteer caretakers with community members feeding colonies so that the cats can be sterilized and vaccinated against rabies. If you or anyone you know is interested in helping with special T-N-R projects like this, please contact Thank you!

Pam Deyerle

Thanks, Tamsen. I thought a friend of mine found a group/person to do that for her mother who has three or four feral cats that they are still currently feeding, but the actual TNR was a few years ago so I could be remembering incorrectly. I'll try to find out.

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