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Cheese-Heads Put Kitties in Crosshairs


The state of Wisconsin was ridiculed nationwide last week for attempting to do nothing more than mimic the decades-old legislation of its neighbors Minnesota and South Dakota. In those states, it is legal to shoot feral cats-or more specifically, housecats without collars who appear to be unfriendly-and a Wisconsin citizens' advisory group wants the same privilege to be granted to cheese heads. According to Wisconsin state officials, between 47 million and 139 songbirds are killed every year by a population of 2 million wild cats. The proposal received widespread support in Wisconsin, and will apparently be brought before the State Legislature as a bill.

But apparently the blood-lust won't last long. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle told the Associated Press on April 13 that he would join several state senators in opposing the bill, and was displeased that his state, like its neighbors, was being known as "a state where we shoot cats ... What it does is sort of hold us up as a state that everybody is kind of laughing at right now."

Idaho does not have specific legislation regarding feral cats-even though our state bird, the Mountain Bluebird, is a far cooler songbird than Wisconsin's Robin. However, Idaho law does include language stating, "It shall be the duty of every landowner" to eliminate, depending on county-specific rules, "any predatory animal, including coyote, that feeds upon, preys upon or destroys any poultry or livestock of any kind." This could easily be interpreted as extending to felines, especially as domestic dogs are also legally acceptable to shoot when they appear to threaten chickens and other livestock.