I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: East Bay Regional Park Dist. staff admit to shooting cats, policy sparks controversy

source https://abc7news.com/pets-animals/exclusive-east-bay-regional-park-staff-admit-to-shooting-cats/8570910/

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — The East Bay Regional Park District has a little-known policy that is now the center of controversy — park staff shoot and kill cats that may pose a danger to wildlife. The I-Team’s Dan Noyes has been investigating what else can be done to protect both the cats and endangered birds.

Park staff shooting cats comes as a shock to many people, including the viewer who tipped us to the story, and even to people who work in animal welfare.

It’s 7:30 at night in an East Oakland office park, Cecelia Theis is trying to trap what’s left of the colony of cats she’s cared for over the past year. She tells the I-Team, “I really want to get them out of here.”

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After Theis came here to work for the county, training poll workers in the last primary election, she began helping others feed the feral cats. She fell hard for them, including the little one who climbed on her hood waiting for food, and the first cat she befriended.

“Each of them had a personality and helping them was a priority for me,” Theis said.

She found homes for their kittens, took the adults to be spayed and neutered; the colony was stable at 30 cats. But over the past month, most of them have disappeared.

Theis finally got East Bay Regional Park officials to admit, their staff shot and killed several of the cats that had wandered into a nearby marsh.

Her heartbreak spilled out on social media, “It’s not okay to shoot these beings; some of them were pets that were abandoned.”

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