John Wayne Ferguson's report ("Galveston discussing ways to prevent deadly bird strikes," The Daily News, May 12) that local leaders are responding to the event of 400 birds killed by building strikes during an unusual windstorm event seems ironic considering that Galveston has just re-authorized the TNR (trap/neuter/re-abandonment) of feral cats all over the island. The loss of 400 birds at one 40-year-old building is sad, but pales next to the deaths of birds by free-roaming cat predation in Galveston and all over the world. TNR is a deliberate choice by humans while a freak weather event is out of our control.

TNRed cats are given one rabies shot before release, which gives no immunity without a second booster shot. Felids are the only vector for toxoplasma gondii, which infects all warm-blooded animals, from birds and dolphins to your families, and is implicated in miscarriage, fetal deformity, blindness, dementia, schizophrenia and even death for the immunocompromised. According to Baylor Tropical Medicine's Dr. Peter Hotez, the toxocariasis spread by stray cats may account for learning deficiencies in one third of African American children living in poverty.

Galvestonians should worry more about TNR's public health threats than the loss of 400 birds in a one-time weather event. Cats are introduced predators that belong indoors or enclosed.

Page S. Williams



(1) comment

Cary Semar

Some caveats are in order here. Catch and release is nearly as effective in controlling the cat population as kill on sight since they no longer reproduce. The rabies vaccine used on feral cats does not require more than one shot. The disease caused by T. Gondii is nearly always a very mild one and if you don't have a cat you can't catch it from a cat.

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