Praise Humane Shelter for Saving Feral Cats

Target: Portsmouth Humane Society

Goal: Thank the Portsmouth Humane Society for working to reduce the feral cat population and for reducing euthanasia

The Portsmouth Humane Society in Virginia has come under scrutiny after it was discovered that workers have been trapping, sterilizing, and releasing feral cats back into the wild in an attempt to reduce euthanasia. The organization’s executive director was subsequently fired for violating state law. This backlash, however, is uncalled for and the Portsmouth Humane Society should be praised for finding creative ways to do what is necessary to save lives.

Throughout the past decade, animal shelters across the country have been under increasing pressure to reduce, if not eliminate, euthanasia. This often means turning away animals or sending them to other shelters that do euthanize. Cats present the biggest concern for the stray population because of the size and number of litters they can produce in their lifetime. This is precisely the reason why the Portsmouth Humane Society took this particular action. There will always be feral cats, but sterilizing them and releasing them back into the wild will not only keep them alive, as most would likely be euthanized in shelters, it will also help dramatically reduce the total population of feral cats. Many animal rights organizations, including the Pay It Forward Animal Welfare Network, actually encourage citizens to capture feral cats they see, have them sterilized, and release them back into the wild.

According to their records, the shelter captured and released 91 cats during the last 3 years. One female cat and her offspring has the potential to produce between 100 and 400 cats during their life. What the public, as well as the state, are viewing as a crime likely prevented thousands of cats from ending up in shelters in the future. Jennifer Austin, the executive director who was fired, made a statement, saying, “Our whole mission is to save lives. If we have to be creative about how we save their lives, we’re going to do it.” Sign the petition to support the Portsmouth Humane Society and their efforts to save the lives of these cats and eliminate euthanasia.


Dear Portsmouth Humane Society,

You recently garnered a great deal of criticism and media attention after it was discovered that for the past three years you have been capturing, sterilizing, and releasing feral cats back into the wild. I would like to instead praise you for your actions. Sterilizing and releasing feral cats will not only keep them alive when they would otherwise likely be euthanized in a shelter, it will also help dramatically reduce the total population of feral cats over time. Many leading animal welfare organizations across the country even encourage this practice as the most humane solution.

Thank you for doing whatever it takes to give animals a life.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: naitokz via Flickr

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  1. Neuter and release is used worldwide with enormous success and I am amazed that it is not used all over America.

  2. Spaying and neutering of feral cat populations should be commended. It helps to control feral colony populations that otherwise would spiral out of control. To bad it’s not used all over our country.

  3. I think this is a most kind and humane way of controlling feral cats, who incidentally were not feral originally humans with lack of concern and respect have left them to their own devices and the poor things have had to fend for themselves and make the best of life in the wilds. Naturally if they were not neutered when left they add to the population and the cycle gets worse and the population larger. So a big tick to these caring humane souls for catching and neutering before releasing. Now the cats can’t breed and so there will be less cats as they die off naturally. Now I ask you how can any person with full comprehensive sane ways of thinking be against this very worthwhile humane effort.

  4. TNR really does work, especially if neighbors will cooperate instead of fighting over it. The cats are there, which is unfortunate, but TNRing as many of them as we can is way more affective than ignoring them or just complaining about them. My neighbors are angry with me forever for getting 5 cats fixed, but they weren’t going to do anything about them, not even trap them and surrender them to a shelter, which is what I did with one cat before I learned how to TNR. After all the time and money it’s cost me I am so glad I took charge of these animals, and we haven’t had ANY new cats in our neighborhood for years!

  5. Despina M. Andrelus says:

    “A righteous man regards the life of animals” – PROVERBS 12:10; “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men” – ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI; “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.; “I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs…(They) are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no rights to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty….” – JAMES HARRIOT; “The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – MAHATMA GANDHI

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