Dear Lincoln Journal Star,
I am writing in regards to the article on Saturday, July 19, 2014 entitled best critter defense for her garden? An outdoor cat. On page 8 of the neighborhood Extra by Rachel Gehringher-Wiar. Her advice that readers encourage the presence of free ranging cats to resolve wildlife conflicts for garden seriously misinformed the readership. Free ranging cats are indiscriminate killers removing beneficial species along with some undesirable species. While readers may want all wildlife in the backyard dead, the fact is very few animals are causing conflicts with gardens so in effect Rachel’s solution is to kill them all and let God sort them out rather than a targeted solution to the problem. In addition Rachel didn’t inform her readers about the disease issues inherent with free ranging cats, particularly toxoplasmosis as cats use gardens for toilets.
It is unfortunate that Rachel didn’t take advantage of the resources provided by the University of Nebraska Lincoln through the Internet center for wildlife damage management website (ICWDM.org). By encouraging her readers to use cats, readers will lose the benefits provided by shrews and songbirds and other beneficial species such as garter snakes and frogs that perform insect control in gardens and also beautify the landscape.
It is my hope that if Ms. Wiar wishes to provide wildlife damage information to her readership that she consult the source mentioned above. If she has any doubts about the environmental impact free ranging cats have on the environment please letter read “Feral Cats and Their Management, EC1781”available at http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/ec1781.pdf. As an author of that university publication, I would be happy to provide her additional details should she desire it.
Stephen M. Vantassel,
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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