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Continued: For the birds? Or for the cats? Colony debate has Minneapolis council picking sides

Similar programs around the Twin Cities and elsewhere have succeeded in reducing the number of complaints, stray cats turned into the city and feral felines, advocates say. Similar techniques reduced a massive Anoka colony of 200 cats to about 35 after nine or 10 years, said Mike Fry, executive director of Animal Ark. About 85 were adopted, he said.

Conservation scientists, however, dispute such accounts.

“I call it trap, neuter and reabandonment,” said Grant Sizemore, who directs the Cats Indoors program for the American Bird Conservancy. “Because you are not getting at the ultimate source — irresponsible pet owners who are abandoning them.”

As long as unneutered free roaming cats, whether abandoned or not, can make their way to a colony, the population will continue to increase, he said. Studies from around the world have shown them to be “worse than doing nothing.”

Gordon said regulated cat colonies would be just one tool for the city. Residents could still trap nuisance cats and bring them to Animal Care and Control, he said. The city is not ready for a leash law for cats, he said — it was floated before but died in the face of howls of protest from cat owners.

He may be among them. Gordon’s cat is routinely allowed outside but doesn’t go very far, he said.

Though he was quick to add that she isn’t a very good hunter.


Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394

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  • JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@startribune.comAnoka/February 22, 2007/3:00PMLate afternoon sunlight illuminates the fur of a feral cat as it relaxes in the brush at a feral colony in Anoka. Animal Ark Shelter manages the colony of about 50 cats. According to shelter executive director Mike Fry, the animals have been vaccinated against rabies, spayed or neutered and are fed regularly.

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