Stray animal problem
spreads beyond military


The military is criticized for trapping homeless dogs and cats and sending them to the Hawaiian Humane Society.

AN animal rights group's criticism of a military policy to trap and remove stray cats and dogs at its installations again raises the debate about how to deal humanely with the problem. While no one wants the animals killed, their numbers and free-roaming habits present formidable hurdles to neutering and feeding them, as the group wants.

Stray animals are a widespread difficulty that defies simple solution. Thousands of wild cats and dogs inhabit urban and suburban neighborhoods, parks, commercial areas and college and school campuses, unwanted pets or their descendants cruelly abandoned by humans. The state Department of Health attempted to curb the problem when it proposed to ban feeding of strays at parks, beaches and public areas, but public sentiment quashed that idea.

Some organizations have adopted a program in which animals are caught, neutered, released and fed with some success. Chaminade University in the early 1990s was plagued with up to 150 animals on its campus, but through the program reduced the population to 50, according to the Hawaiian Humane Society. Similar efforts at Magic Island, where once 200 cats roamed the park, cut the number to 14.

The military's situation is different in that its bases may be in areas where migratory birds and endangered species require protection. Leaving a cat, neutered or not, to prey on these animals would breach the military's responsibility.

In the last year, more than 400 stray cats and dogs were caught on Oahu military stations and turned over to the Hawaiian Humane Society, which has no numbers on how many were put to death or found new homes.

The animal rights group wants the military to establish trap-neuter-release-feed programs. However, catching all the animals may be impossible because of the size and physical nature of military installations. Further, as long as cruel and irresponsible people continue to desert unwanted pets, the problem will remain not only for the military, but for the general community.


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
Assistant Editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4790;
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533;

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