Wisconsin Proposing Open Game On Cats

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

April 13, 2005

The State of Wisconsin is considering a proposal to allow hunters to declare feral cats open game. Under the proposal, any wild cat could be shot, even a household pet without a collar that has strayed from its owner's home.

The Charlottesville Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals calls the idea 'dangerous.' "You could be shooting a cat on your property that is not a feral cat," said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of the Charlottesville SPCA.

One woman said she adopted a healthy cat that at one time was deemed "feral."

"This one little kitten was very nervous about people, he had never been around people so they said he was unadoptable, but I adopted him and took care of him and he's a wonderful cat. A lot of these shy ones once you take them home and make sure that they feel secure, you couldn't have a better pet," said Christine Criswell.

"Truly feral cats will not be around people. They'll scratch, bite, and really are sort of beyond socialization with humans," said Kogut.

Those who oppose the proposal said rather than killing them, what about another option. In Charlottesville, the SPCA and Voices for Animals help residents trap wild cats, spay them, and bring them back to your doorstep.

"We can go and trap the cats and bring them in when there is one or two and we don't allow them to have additional kittens and get to the point where there is twenty or thirty," said Kogut.

With so many alternatives, some people feel the residents of Wisconsin are taking the easy way out.

"It's an easy solution, and an immediate solution but it's not the right solution and it's not the humane solution," said Kogut.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress approved the feline hunting proposal, which now goes to another state board. At least two other Midwestern states, South Dakota and Minnesota, already allow wild cats to be shot.

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