After Ridding the Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction
Of all the animals in the world man is sans doute the most ungrateful. A year ago the one-hundred-forty-five year old Ohio state Capitol in Columbus was overrun with rats but a group of about a dozen homeless cats showed up and expeditiously took care of the problem. Instead of rewarding the felines for their invaluable public service, officials now want to get rid of them.
The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Commission is undecided, however, about how best to proceed. Executive Director Bill Carleton wants the felines trapped and removed to a farm, while commission spokeswoman Pat Groseck recently admitted to The Columbus Dispatch that she has been feeding the cats and that maintenance workers have set up a makeshift shelter on the Capitol's grounds for them. (See photo of a cat named Callie helping herself to some food left on a walkway.) While the commission has been wrangling over what to do about the cats, Cat Welfare has stepped into the power vacuum and begun trapping, sterilizing, vaccinating, and delousing the cats. Malheursement, articles in The Columbus Dispatch do not specify what Cat Welfare does with the cats that it traps. Do they return them to the grounds of the Capitol or do they hand them over to a shelter for sure and certain extermination? Cat Welfare does admit however to exterminating one of the cats who was found with a broken leg.
Although there is a difference of opinion over what to do with the cats, there is unanimity about their effectiveness in ridding the Capitol and its grounds of rats. "The cats have done a yeoman's job," Groseck told The Dispatch. "There have been no rat-sighting reports since the cats have been there."
As winter approaches the finger-pointing and blame game continues with no end in sight. The commission originally considered bringing in domesticated cats to do the job but when the ferals showed up it decided that it could save money by allowing them to take care of the problem. Now Groseck says that she regrets not doing that. "It would have been better if we had. They could have had a little place in our loading dock to come and eat and sleep and feel safe, and to come to us for assistance," she said.
Jennifer Parker of Cat Welfare is not buying any of Groseck's public relations' offensive. "They wanted those cats there. I think it is pretty common knowledge," she told The Dispatch. "My response to them is that they're your responsibility. They're your pets. You need to take care of them. If we hadn't stepped in, I don't think one of those cats would have been spayed or neutered." She neglects, however, to point out that the cats lived outside last winter and no one complained. Apparently as long as there were rats to exterminate neither the commission nor Cat Welfare were concerned about either the cats' presence or their well-being.
This is a classic case of man's exploitation and abuse of cats. For more than nine-thousand years cats have not only safeguarded man's crops in the field and his food stores at home from the ravages of rats and birds but they have also protected him against the diseases that they spread by keeping their populations in check. For instance, the bubonic plague which decimated medieval Europe was helped along by the Catholic Church's demonization and extermination of cats. Once the ranks of their natural predator had been thinned out, the rats multiplied and the black death spread like wildfire. The cat-haters and inveterate liars at the American Bird Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, PETA, and National Wildlife suppress all positive news about cats in order to legitimatize their attempts to exterminate all feral cats.
Half a world away in Australia, parliament is planning to either shoot or poison 500,000 feral camels, 300,000 wild horses, five million donkeys, twenty-three million pigs, plus untold millions of cane toads, red foxes, goats, and feral cats. These mass slaughters are being undertaken in the name of preserving native species in spite of the fact that the ungrateful Aussies were the very ones who imported these animals, exploited them, and then abandoned them once they were no longer needed. For instance, camels, horses, and donkeys were brought in as beasts of burden; pigs, goats, and rabbits were imported as food; foxes were recruited for recreational hunting; and, cats and cane toads were imported to control pests. National Wildlife's sister agency, World Wildlife, is on record as wholeheartedly supporting the Australians' barbarism. (See "Millions of Animals Face Death Sentence in Australia," Agence France Presse, 25 September 2005.)
Earlier this week the Associated Press reported that voles this summer had destroyed $35 million worth of grass seed crops in Oregon. In fact, it was only last month that the United States Agriculture Department declared nine counties in Oregon as disaster areas because of damage caused by voles and the weather. Having ravaged the grass seed crops, the voles are now training their sights on the vineyards and orchards in Williamette Valley where extensive damage has already been reported. Although the explosion in the population of field mice has been bad news for farmers it has been a boon for the raptors, coyotes, skunks, foxes, snakes, raccoons, herons, and cats who feed on them. (See "Voles Head for Oregon Vineyards," at www.enn.com.)
Caught between exploitative politicians and bureaucrats on the one side and animal rights advocates who practice sterilization and extermination on the other side, the Statehouse cats' chances of surviving are slim.
Photo: Tim Revell, The Columbus Dispatch