Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

Cat shooting not ended: East Bay Regional Parks #justiceforoakportcats


I won’t write such a long post about this situation as I did last week, purromise. But—I want my readers to be up to date on what has or actually hasn’t, happened since my Monday December 14 blog post. First, the East Bay Regional Parks (EBRP) Board of Directors (BOD) suspended all shooting of feral/abandoned community cats on their properties until they get some committee put together to “study this problem”!!! HAH!!! EBRP established the policy to shoot to kill any feral/abandoned cats they find on their regional park land TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO! YES!! They have been carrying this slaughter out for twenty five years and this is the first time they got caught!

Cat is relieved to finally be safe and not hunted

Mom L has not received a reply to her many emails, but my pals Miss Carolyn in Wales, Austin’s mum, and Miss Marjorie in New Zealand did!!! And very soon after the BOD held their meeting Wednesday December 16. The reply is from the about to retire General Manager who is likely the person who instituted this tragic policy. All I hear are excuses in his words, what do you hear? Let me know in comments please!

The Reply:

On behalf of the East Bay Regional Park District Board and staff, we understand the community’s concern regarding the recent removal of feral cats from protected habitat at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline. We have received much correspondence from the public on this issue and will be reviewing our practices and policies of our Wildlife Management Program, as we have a legal responsibility to protect endangered or listed wildlife species to help avoid the extinction of these valuable resources.

On Thursday, December 10, 2020, I directed the temporary suspension of some feral cat removal practices by staff in our parks until the protocol can be discussed openly and transparently with the Park District Board of Directors. The occasional use of dispatching practices for the removal of cats to protect threatened and endangered species is the exception and not the rule and only happens when other options such as trapping are unsuccessful. These rare actions are fully permitted and authorized legal actions.

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, located near the Oakland Airport, is a sensitive ecological area and stop along the Pacific Flyway where thousands of birds annually nest, including several protected species: Ridgway’s rail, California black rail, least terns, burrowing owls, and the salt marsh harvest mouse. The California Ridgeway rail is located only in the San Francisco Bay Area, with only 900 breeding pairs estimated to be left. The California black rail is listed as a threatened species due to the loss, destruction, and degradation of their brackish and saltwater wetland habitats. It is one of the smallest rail species in the world. Both species are protected under the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Moving forward, we commit to providing more public education about the threat cats pose to protected species at risk from extinction. We also commit to working more closely with Oakland Animal Services and some of their affiliate rescue and shelter organizations: Hayward Animal Services, Berkeley Animal Care Services, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, City of Fremont Animal Services, and Tri-City Animal Shelter to assist in the removal of cats from regional parks.

We need the public’s assistance in keeping predatory cats out of all regional parks. Domestic cats don’t deserve a life in the wild. Protected species that the Park District works tirelessly to conserve do not deserve to be hunted by domesticated cats. 

We invite you to learn more about wildlife management and the impact of feral and abandoned cats.

Finally, please never leave or feed cats in parks – it is illegal, and you can be cited! By working together, endangered species and feral cats can continue to thrive…separately.

Thank you,

Robert Doyle
East Bay Regional Park District General Manager

All the supposed scientific research papers he cites are dated 2004-2013, hardly cutting edge. And, the articles he’s cited aren’t even original research—they’re somebody else’s interpretation of various studies (and those are poor quality).  Upon reading this reply, Peter J Wolf, a well known research and policy analyst with Best Friends Society had these observations:
I’m struck by the fact that, despite all of EBRPD’s talk of endangered species—and Ridgeway’s rail in particular—there’s no mention of cats killing birds. Not even stalking them. No mention of predation of any kind, in fact.  

One would like to think that the case for lethal removal—which the District describes as “the exception and not the rule, only after other options such as trapping are unsuccessful”—would require some compelling evidence. Instead, it seems, EBRPD secretly killed at least 18 cats because such an outcome was a possibility. And a relatively remote one at that, given the distances the cats would need to travel to the parts of the park where Ridgeway’s rails tend to congregate. 

I can’t help but think—and to be clear, I have no evidence of this—that shooting the cats had little to do with protecting any specific wildlife. I think this was about sending a message to caregivers. Only when their activities were brought to light did they play the endangered species card.

This cat colony was in large part far from being “feral”. The EBRP’s people only had to reach out to the caretaker and she could have trapped them all and made sure they were safe. Their caretaker has been able to get many adopted and others are waiting for adoption. Here is Charles in his new home after pretending he was a scared feral cat. Hee Hee!

I am liking being back inside!

Here are three more beauties that are available for adoption through Island Cat Resources and Adoption. Please share all these kitties and help them get to their forever homes quickly. Teddy is chilling on someone’s shoulder, Dianna is showing off her diva look and Abe is ready to play!

If you have not already written to the EBRP BOD, please do try to find the time to help us get #justiceforoakportcats and write to the BOD members listed below.

Ward 1 Board Member: Elizabeth Echols;
Ward 2 Board Member: Dee Rosario;
Ward 3 Board Member: Dennis Waespi;
Ward 4 Board Member: Ellen Corbett;
Ward 5 Board Member: Ayn Wieskamp;
Ward 6 Board Member: Beverly Lane;
Ward 7 Board Member: Colin Coffey;


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20 thoughts on “Cat shooting not ended: East Bay Regional Parks #justiceforoakportcats

  1. Amelia Piscitelli on said:

    These East Bay people are lower than scum. And I apologize to “scum”. Reading this fills me rage and sadness. I guess that’s why I prefer animals to people.

  2. I don’t know the areas these parks are in but it sounds like the endangered species are mainly birds that nest in marshes and on the ground. Habitat loss of marshes would be a factor. Nest predation by mice and other rodents seems likely. Just another excuse to attack cats that is poorly thought out, without logic, and mean-spirited. I sure hope those poor cats can be protected.

  3. meowmeowmans on said:

    Ugh. Their “answer” was a crock of crap! Their policy is basically to shoot cats simply because they are cats. Pure evil. Tweeting this now!

  4. Greetings. Thank you Savannah and Mom L for your compassionate, honest and comprehensive reporting on this horrific situation! I am writing to ask for your permission to post a link to your page in an update on the petition ( I started just hours after Dan Noyes’ first exposé. I am just an ordinary person who started what has become an extraordinary petition; my goal in updates is to simply provide links to amazing organizations and individuals who are speaking out for the Oakport cats. Regardless of your answer, thank you so much for this wonderful site! I have signed up to be notified of new posts, and look forward to hearing more from Savannah!

  5. Cecelia Theis on said:

    Thank you for this. It is very hard to hear so many different spins on this. The cats were killed because they were cats. Their bellies were full each night. They were actually kind of lazy. I still go out looking for them because the park will not describe who was shot. I keep hoping a few survived.

  6. Some people think with the wrong part of their anatomy! I have shared to Facebook.

  7. I grew up knowing a few cat-haters willing to procure sick satisfaction from torturing to death those naively-trusting thus likely sweet-natured cats whose owners had recklessly allowed them to wander the neighbourhood at night.

    Also worrisome are the unfavourable attitudes toward cats openly expressed by news-media commentators, whose views, however reckless, can be influential.

    When the editor of a community newspaper wrote a column about courthouse protestors demanding justice in 2014 for a Sarnia, Ontario cat shot in the head 17 times with a pellet gun, destroying an eye, she declared: “Hey crazy people, it’s [just] a cat.”

    Maybe the court also perceived it so, as the charges against the two adult perpetrators were dropped.

    Elsewhere, an otherwise progressive national columnist twice (of which I know) openly stated her dislike for cats.

    In one of her (then called) Metro News Canada syndicated columns, Vicky Mochama proclaimed, “I never liked cats”. In another, an Oct.30, 2017 opinion titled “How to silence heckling MPs in the animal House”, she wrote that Canadian politicians should replace their traditional unproductively rude heckling with caterwauling: “My vote is for meowing because I don’t like cats and I’d like to sabotage their brand as much as possible. So if our elected politicians are going to be disrespectful in our House of Commons, they might as well channel the animal that holds us all in contempt.”

    I search-engined the Internet but found nothing to even hint as to why she so publicly dislikes felines. I know their reptilian vertical slit pupils and defensive fanged hisses don’t help their cause.

    (As for my own house cat, Simon, I feel he appreciates me as much as I show mine for him.)

    The above comments about, criticisms of and plain contempt for cats might reflect on why feral-cat Trap/Neuter/Release programs, regardless of their documented success in reducing needless suffering, are typically underfunded by governments as well as private donors.

    There are staggering numbers of these distressed souls in some B.C. municipalities, where well-known old-problem rampant feral and stray cat populations are allowed to suffer severe malnourishment, debilitating injury and/or infection.

    Only when over-populations of unwanted cats are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines, will this beautiful animal’s presence be truly appreciated, especially for the symbiotic-like healthy relationships (contrary to common misinformation) they offer their loving owners.

    (Frank Sterle Jr.)

  8. What really jumped out at us was “Predatory Cats”! No mention of all the crap humans do that has greatly impacted species that need protection that far outstrips any feral cats! UGH!

  9. catladymac on said:

    There is so much hard work being done here for all these beautiful kitties. We send purrayers and Power of the Paw to all of you !

  10. mistletoeandhitch on said:

    So I also recieved that email from Mr. Doyal. I have to admit I stoppdd reading after he played the endangered species card. There was cats a managed colony. I have no doubt their caregiver could trap them if necessary…since I assume that is what occurs when the cats need vetting. In my mind, the fact they didn’t attempt to work with the caretaker indicates that shooting domestic cats in a public park did not trouble them one bit

  11. Ugh! This is SO frustrating! It’s almost like willful ignorance.

  12. All I can say is the East Bay Regional Park District Board and staff are a first rate bunch of assholes. Gonna share this post.

  13. Yup, Peepers got an e-mail back, too. Just the one even though she sent like ten or eleven e-mails out. She responded to their sorry excuses telling ’em their behaviour was DEPLORABLE. MOUSES!

  14. Carole Schulman on said:

    I shared this as I did the other one. It’s unthinkable and horrible.

  15. This makes our heart hurt so much, we did get a response to our email. Basically an I understand you are upset about this blah blah blah

  16. chrisscatmeow on said:

    I agree with you I think they’re talking a load of rubbish I hope this comes to a good end for all the cats.x😻💗🐾

  17. we hope so much that no longer animals have to pay for the mistakes humans make… and we hope there is a way to protect the cats… and to get such wunderful happy ends like it happened to Charles…

Waving paw...HI!...what'd 'cha think...??

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