clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rick Telander gets it right: No way cats should be allowed to run feral in Chicago

Releasing cats to “catch rodents,” as supporters describe the practice, is dangerous for both cats and wildlife.

“Outdoor cats do not die of old age,” writes a Sun-Times reader. “Most are dead by age 5. They are attacked by other animals and cruel people, hit by cars and succumb to exposure, starvation, parasite infestations and contagious diseases.”
Sun-Times file photo

Rick Telander, in his May 17 column, rightly expressed concern about cruel and misguided “working cat” programs in which cats are abandoned to fend for themselves.

Releasing cats to “catch rodents,” as supporters describe the practice, is dangerous for both cats and wildlife. As Telander points out, cats — who are not native to North America — kill billions of songbirds and other native animals every year, a massive death toll that makes cats a bigger threat to birds than any other human-linked cause.

The cats themselves also suffer. All cats, even unsocialized ones, are domesticated animals who rely on humans for their every need, including food, water, shelter and veterinary care. Outdoor cats do not die of old age; in fact, most are dead by age 5. They are attacked by other animals and cruel people, hit by cars and succumb to exposure, starvation, parasite infestations and contagious diseases.

According to a recent study, cats don’t even serve as much of a deterrent to rats. Instead of abandoning cats to kill and be killed, better solutions to the problem of rats include sealing holes, cleaning up trash, and refraining from putting out pet food and bird seed, which attract rodents.

Teresa Chagrin
Animal Care & Control Issues Manager
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Virginia

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be approximately 350 words or less.

States reflect public sentiment on abortion

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear an abortion case, all manner of hand- wringing and teeth-gnashing likely will ensue.

There is no question that abortion is a complicated and charged issue, with medical, metaphysical, moral and religious arguments involved. But while people argue about such substantive issues, much overlooked is the question as to the appropriate forum and procedures to decide these very complex questions.

The Supreme Court is the worst group to make such decisions. Nine unelected jurists, no matter how intelligent and well-intended, cannot properly reflect the ethos of the nation. The legal precedents of Roe v. Wade and its progenitor, Griswold v. Connecticut, are not worth the paper on which they were written as they created a constitutional right to privacy/abortion out of whole cloth.

But all the same, President Joe Biden is reported to have said that we should have federal legislation to secure the “rights” created by Roe and Griswold. While Congress may have a better window on the public’s views than the Supreme Court, an overarching federal law would obliterate the vast diversity of opinions on such a complicated issue. One-size-fits all federal legislation simply does not work for such a complicated problem.

The right forums are the individual states, as is suggested in the 10th Amendment. The so-called “experiment of the states” is ideally suited to reflect the local, varied and seemingly immutable positions on abortion and would recognize that there is no single “right” answer for this complex problem.

Wisconsin, for example, could legislate an outright ban on abortion while Illinois might be very permissive. People unhappy with Wisconsin’s position could come to Illinois and the bit of inconvenience involved would seem to be justified by the momentous life decisions involved with abortion.

William P. Gottschalk, Lake Forest

Albany Park doesn’t need another charter

Why in the world would you need a charter school in Albany Park, which would go further to undermine Roosevelt High School’s enrollment, when parents and guardians already have plenty of schools to choose from?

Located nearby are Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, Northside College Preparatory High School, and Chicago International Charter School — Northtown Academy. And for those wishing to travel a little further, Lane Tech College Prep and DePaul College Prep also are excellent options.

Larry Vigon, Jefferson Park