UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-SPRINGFIELD (WCIA) — A growing number of students and animal advocates are taking a stand against UIS’ new policies on feeding cats.
Since last month, the university has banned students and staff from feeding cats found on campus. They argue it’s a matter of public safety, but many aren’t buying it.
More than 2,000 people have signed petitions to try to get the university to reverse its position. They say the cats aren’t a hazard and they’re disappointed the university took such a drastic step without consulting the student body.
Students could face disciplinary action and staff could even be fired if caught sneaking food to the cats. The university is also trying to get the cats off campus and sent a handful of kittens to animal control.
University officials argue the number of cats was growing and they believe it could attract wildlife and disease. Leaders at a local animal shelter say the argument is baseless and what the university is doing is outright wrong.
Before the policy went into effect, the shelter was working with the campus to have the cats neutered and returned, but now they’ve stopped. They fear the cats will be shipped to the pound and possibly euthanized. They’ve already rescued three cats they neutered from the pound.
The cats are feral. It means they can’t be made into pets. Instead of getting rid of them or banning feeding, advocates want the university to create feeding stations to limit where and when the cats can be fed.
So far, university leaders don’t show any signs of ending the policy. A university spokesperson issued the following statement:
UIS administrators spent several weeks researching best practices on managing feral cat colonies on a college campus as well as discussing options with animal welfare and wildlife management agencies. We believe we are acting in the best interest of health and safety.
One kitten is up for adoption. She’s young enough and is not considered feral. Those interested in adopting the kitten should contact the Animal Protective League (217) 544 – 7387.