The Garden Island again today did what it does best: gobble up a special interest point of view and regurgitate it as “news” to unsuspecting readers.
Specifically, I'm referencing the “Toast to Cats” puff piece by Brittany Lyte. She paints the Kauai Community Cat Project in glowing terms, with no reference to the group's vicious cyber bullying of Kauai Humane Society Director Penny Cistaro, much less the native bird deaths caused by feral cats or their terrible suffering in the wild.
Endangered ‘Alae ‘ula killed by cat.
It's unclear why anyone would attend the fundraiser of a group that sponsors a Facebook page calling Penny a monster and murderer because she manages an agency that has the unpleasant duty of euthanizing the island's unwanted dogs and cats.
Oh, and btw, folks, KKCR is listed as “liking” that page, too. Is this the sort of bullying behavior you want your community-funded radio to support? [Correction: KKCR did not like that page. That page liked KKCR, perhaps because programmer Jonathan Jay hosted a talk show attacking Penny and KHS.]
And does TGI endorse this sort of action by giving KCCP (formerly Kauai Ferals) such prominent and fawning coverage?
I see that Geoffrey Culverhouse from Ching Young Village, Wyndham Bali Hai Villas, Kapaa Animal Clinic, Paradise Animal Clinic and Banana Patch Studios are listed as friends of KCCP. Curt Last and Mark Hurt are also big supporters. Do they all endorse the group's cyber bullying and defamation of Penny?
Yet despite the ugliness and unfairness of its actions, KCCP claims to be “fighting the good fight,” as so many fanatics do.
KCCP says it has spent $80,000 annually over the past three years to care for just 510 cats, which comes out to $156 per cat. So they would need $2.4 million to $3.1 million each year to minimally manage the estimated 15,000 to 20,000 cats on Kauai. And even then, they couldn't physically or logistically do it, especially since their volunteer corps hasn't grown.
The group also spent $1,000 to send eight kittens to the mainland — because of course the mainland has no stray kittens of its own to tend.
Such is the delusional nature of the feral cat folks.
Still, it was revealing that group leader Basil Scott admits:
KCCP spends about $50 on each cat that it traps, spays or neuters and returns to a managed feral cat colony. Cats deemed suitable for adoption typically cost the organization $100, though those with medical needs can cost several hundred dollars.
Yet they expect Kauai Humane Society to spay-neuter feral cats for free, and adopt them out for cheap, like that organization doesn't also incur expenses for the same activities.
Meanwhile, in the real world, feral cats killed at least 252 birds in the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge between January 2012 and December 2014, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Some 94% of these were endangered species. This level of killing occurred even with active cat trapping in the refuge.
The report further states:
Since surveys were designed to detect botulism-intoxicated birds, not cat or owl kills (e.g., in brush), the numbers are biased low and toward dikes and open areas, and thus, conservatively interpreted.
Can you imagine what's happening in the backcountry, where there is no trapping?
Taro farmers in the refuge face serious fines and consequences if their activities harm endangered water birds.
Yet the feral cat supporters who want to maintain these wild cat colonies, and support them through feeding, including face no consequences for any of their actions.
Isn't it time to hold the feral cat folks — and their supporters — accountable for their words and deeds? If they want to spay and neuter wild cats, fine. But why must they try to destroy Penny and KHS, and allow the killing of endangered native birds, in the process?