Keep the Cats at SMU - Save the Feral Cat Program at Southern Methodist University
On August 11, 2015, the Southern Methodist University Emergency Operations Committee and the SMU Feral Cat Program agreed to move forward with progressive measures to ensure campus health and safety, while ensuring the cats' home on campus. The SMU Feral Cat Program is delighted to move forward with the EOC and continue to successfully manage the campus cats.
We want to thank the community for the immense support that we received. The continuance of the program and the well-being of the cats are direct results of your voices and concerns. Thank you again!
There are 45 lives at risk after a decision by Southern Methodist University's Emergency Operations Committee in Dallas, TX proceeded to rid the campus of a longstanding, well-managed, cat program, the SMU Feral Cat Group.
Understandably, the EOC is concerned with the amount of fleas on the SMU campus, but has attributed the problem to the well-cared-for campus cats and is seeking their removal.
Starting Thursday, August 6th, 2015, without counsel or any communication with the program, the committee proceeded to remove the cat’s food and change the locks to the Feral Cat Group's supply room, depriving them access to provide nutrition and water to refill the cat’s bowls.
The following day on August 7, 2015, without professional consideration or advice, the EOC proceeded to inhumanely trap the 45 cats on campus using Terminix, a pest management company, in over 100 degree weather. Due to public outcry and diligent volunteers from the SMU Feral Cat Program, the immediate and inhumane trapping was halted.
At this time, cats like Frankie, a sweet blind long-timer at SMU, and 44 other cats are still at risk of improper trapping and relocation once the business week begins. On Saturday, August 8th, SMU released that "normal feeding procedures have resumed," but the Feral Cat Group continues to be locked out of the supply room with the cats food and water, forcing volunteers to revert to other methods of food supply with the help from the community. Since this statement SMU has posted on their Facebook page that they are working on getting new keys made for the Feral Cat Group leadership.
The SMU Feral Cat Program aims to move forward and be proactive to protect students and the cats on campus. We understand their concern and aim to alleviate the problem, but they did not communicate any issues with us nor was any other option considered like medication and flea preventatives before they started trapping in inhumanely on Thursday, August 7th.
To demonstrate how unprofessional and poorly-educated the EOC decisions have been, I point to their reference material that they provided to the SMU Feral Cat Group, a source which considers shooting an effective and humane method of cat management. The EOC is using a portion of this literature on cat removal and relocation, but it is obvious that this material is skewed and very poorly developed. This is a direct quote from the literature that was sent to the Feral Cat Group, "Shooting is an efficient method to reduce populations of cats in specific areas. Use shotguns with No. 6 shot or larger, .22-caliber rifles, or air rifles capable of shooting 700 feet per second or faster (inside 20 yards and with pointed pellets). Aim shots between the eyes or in the heart/lung area to ensure a humane death."
I believe that the entire Dallas community does not believe that this is a method of feral cat management, but an inhumane and barbaric way to temporarily solve a cat population issue. So why at SMU, where we should be setting the highest standard of humanity, would we revert to using material written by people who truly believe this is an appropriate method of feral control? We should always be at the forefront of humanity.
We need your voice to help us save these 45 campus cats and the SMU Feral Cat Group!
If the EOC and SMU proceeds with the improper and uneccessary removal of the 45 cats to a farm, in which remains unknown to the Feral Cat Group and the public, our cats will succumb to suffering and fear, and the problem of the vacuum effect that will occur on campus as other feral cats move in the new abandoned territory, creating a more complex issue.
Let us create the highest of standards at SMU and truly be “World-Changers.”
For more information about the SMU Feral Cat Program and our campus cat management, please go to http://www.smu.edu/orgs/cats
Veritas Liberabit Vos
Please help us and voice your concern:
SMU President's Office
Office of Public Affairs
Office of Risk Management