Friday, May 13, 2011

The Whole Story (Long Version) Recreated

Since this is a time sensitive issue and Blogger hasn't put the previous posts back up, I'm recreating the whole story thus far. (EDIT TO ADD: Blogger seems to have put the entries back up but out of order and I doubt the links to them work any more, so I'm leaving this entry up.)

As you probably know, I've been caring for the feral colony at my apartment complex for about four years now.  (All the rest of the blog posts are still here, so if you wish to know more, feel free.)  We got the cats Trapped-Neutered-Released, with the permission of the apartment complex because the complex wanted the cats out.  I pointed out that Trap&Kill does not work and it costs more, so why not let me TNR?  With the wonderful, wonderful support of the readers of this blog we raised the necessary funds.  We did not catch all of the cats that first time, and when I wanted to TNR again a while later, I had a harder time getting permission because the complex had changed ownership and management.  But I did get permission again, along with permission to feed the cats because that is part of having a managed colony.  And all was well, or so I thought, until a few days ago.

I'd come out to my balcony to enjoy one of the few comfortable days that AZ has and spotted a humane trap set out nearby.  It was locked to a pipe so that no one could remove it.  Horrified, I went to look at it and it was, indeed, set with cat food and ready to spring.

I spoke with the office staff who told me that the cats were being removed to the Humane Society.  They did not seem fazed when I pointed out that that meant they were being killed immediately.  I went back a bit later to speak with the complex's manager (who was not there when I went the first time) and she told me the same thing-- the cats were being caught and taken to the shelter.  She said, "At least they're not being killed," and I (again) pointed out that yes they are.  Feral cats are unadoptable*. She shrugged and said she understood that I'm an animal lover with a "big heart" (why did that suddenly sound like an insult?) but that this wasn't her decision but that it came from the owners.

She claimed that at least two residents have moved out because of the cats.  I... really? I mean, maybe if you have a phobia or a cat hatred... But to move out? Moving is such a pain.  I think this may have been an exaggeration.  She cited damage from cats (where? I see damage from children, but not from cats...) and spraying from cats (um... they've been neutered.  Yes, some cats can spray after being neutered but it's rare... I will admit that Percy sprayed a lot before he was neutered, but, uh, he's gone to Germany...)  And one guy, evidently, moved out because "it was too sad to see the cats out in the heat."  What is that I don't even-- Okay, sure.  Seeing animals in 110+ F degree heat sucks.  Seeing humans in that heat sucks too.  In an ideal world all domestic cats would be well-treated, indoors only and enjoying their very own a/c throughout awful summers.  But it's not an ideal world and I have a very hard time believing that Mr. It's Too Sad would have preferred to have the cats killed.

The manager assured me that she saw my point, offered me some tissues (I admit I broke into tears when she told me they'd already trapped and killed three cats), gave me the phone number for the corporate offices with the cheery admonition that it wouldn't get me anywhere and sent me on my way.

So here we are, a few days later.  I have emailed and called everyone I could think of for some help and got a lot of sympathy, a little advice, but not much in the way of hope.  I have had no response from MEB (the leasing management company that runs this complex and many, many other ones through AZ, TX and NJ**, which doesn't surprise me.  I found out that MEB in Tuscon agreed with TNR, so I have no idea what's going on here.

Maintenance has moved the trap just slightly.  I don't think they've caught anyone in the last two days (unless they have traps that I don't know about).  [There is currently a bird trying to steal food from the trap.] They've blocked up the drainage tunnels in which the cats used to reside/move about it.  They've thrown away all the food and water dishes we've put out for the cats and swept away the stray kibble they've found.  

Because this is an (intentionally) public blog I am not going to list here which cats I've seen lately, how many are around, where/when the cats are fed, etc. If you want to know something specific, you can contact me  Yeah, I just set that up since I realized I didn't have a good way to contact me for this stuff here on the site.  (Sorry those of you have tried to get in touch with me recently.)

All I can do right now is keep trying to get in touch with the management company (MEB) and telling them what I think of their animal tactics.  And I ask that you do so, too.  You can email them at or call them at 602-279-5515.  (Please note that the number I originally put up, the number I got from the complex manager, was their fax number.  Clearly, she was being helpful.)

*Feral cats, with a lot of time and patience, can be tamed (in some cases.)  I have met several incredibly friendly formal-ferals who were adults when taken into a home.  You would never guess that they were feral for their young lives.  On the other hand, I've met some kittens who were just past the age of easy-taming who never became fully domesticated. My point here is that yes, it can happen, and when it does, that's awesome.  But it is not a viable option for large-scale rescue ala the Humane Society, and thus it is never what happens when you or someone else takes a feral cat to them.

**Yes, that seems a weird spread to me, too.  Here's their website:

Perfect timing, Blogger

The posts I wrote about the current cat situation have been removed by Blogger temporarily because they've been having issues.

To sum up--  MEB Management Company has decided that despite the colony of cats being neutered and managed, they are a nuisance, and has begun trapping them to take to the Humane  Society where they are being euthanized.  Thus far my appeals to logic have fallen on deaf ears. 

If you would like to tell MEB Management what you think of their treatment of animals, you can do so by calling them at 602-279-5515.  You can also email them at

The have a trap set, they have removed all food and water bowls, they have swept away food when it's been put out for the cats on the ground.  They're doing their absolute best to remove these cats and have them killed.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

MEB Management Company Kills Cats

The headline isn't news, of course, if you've read the previous posts.  I just want it to be out there.  People hide behind terms like "putting to sleep" or concepts like "taking to the Humane Society," and convince themselves that these cats will have a home found for them.  Well, no.  That's not what happens.  Consider the enormous percentage of healthy, friendly, adoptable cats who are euthanized because homes can't be found for them. There is no space at shelters for feral cats who cannot be adopted. So if you, or Villagio's maintenance, or MEB's managers, drop off a feral cat to the Humane Society, you are killing that cat.

I wrote to MEB, as did several people who have commented here and in other places.  I have received no response, which is not exactly a surprise, although it is disheartening.  (I wonder how many people choose not to live here or to leave not because of the feral cats but because of things like the pants that have been sitting on top of one of the carparks (visible from my stairwell) for the past three years?  Accompanied, of course, with two beer bottles and, a recent addition, a glass.  Classy! Or the laundry machines that suddenly went up in price, but remained the same in quality and went down in quantity.  I'm not saying I'm going to move out because all of the dryers have their lint-traps torn and useless, but it's not exactly enticing me to stay...)

Anyway. I have spent the day thus far sending emails to other organizations in the hopes that someone can give me advice or help, but I'm not hopeful.  I've also gone on a walk to do a headcount of the remaining cats.  You'll forgive me, I hope, if I don't tell you numbers or names-- I don't wish to make MEB's job any easier since I think it is morally reprehensible.  (I have also removed similar information from the previous post.)  If you are concerned about a particular cat or just want to know numbers/etc., feel free to contact me through less public channels.

Keep watching this space, though, and keep those emails being sent to MEB Management.  OR (and I just found this one)

(If I find an email address that seems less slush-pile, I will let you know)

or call 602-279-5515

Let them know what you think of their tactics (which don't work in the long run anyway.)

If I get news that another group can help-- although as I say, I have no idea how-- here may be a necessary fundraiser in the future.  We shall see.  No need to send donations now, just gather ideas.

And keep these cats in your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's officially Terrible News

Despite my beautifully reasoned logic, despite my tears upon finding out that they've already taken three cats (which ones?? I don't know.) to the humane society, there is no budging.

I have never said where I lived on this blog, what apartment complex is doing this-- which once worked with me so wonderfully to TNR the cats and is now killing them-- but I might as well now.

It's Villagio Apartment Homes and it's run by MEB Corporation-- a company which owns and leases a huge percentage of apartments in this area.

In fact, if you'd like to call MEB and give them a piece of your mind about how they are KILLING cats, it's 602-279-5553.  That's no the office of this complex, that's higher up to the corporation that has made the decree.  (This is MEB's website.)

You can also write to them in Phoenix:1215 East Missouri Avenue; Phoenix, AZ 85014

Or email them at

The story from the manager here is that people have still been complaining about the cats and that two residents have moved out, citing the cats as their reason.  (It is, evidently, "too sad" to see them outdoors all summer.  So apparently KILLING THEM is the answer?!)

What about the people who LIKE to see the cats here (doing no harm, might I point out-- certainly less damage than the children who live here.)?  What about the fact that cats keep away the scorpions?

What about the fact that these are living creatures whose plight is made by stupid people?

I seriously don't know what else to do.  (I haven't called the corporate office yet because I can't stop crying.)

I don't know which three cats MEB Management and Villagio have already killed.

And I spoke with one of my neighbors who gave me the only good news I've got -- Tig(g)er has a forever home, an indoor forever home.

I walked the property and found only the one trap-- I don't know how many there are.  It's (they're?) not set well, but evidently set well enough to catch three so... crap. 

My lease is up in August and I have made it clear that I cannot give money to a company that kills these cats, so I guess I'll be looking for a (non-MEB) apartment very, very soon.  Sigh.  But then, a huge, huge part of why I hadn't moved in the past 5 years was taking care of these cats.

Other than inundating MEB Management with rational, sane requests to stop their plan (because it won't work-- they won't catch them all; because it's inhumane-- feral cats are killed upon being brought to the humane society; because more cats will move in within months of this colony disappearing; because they will no longer have me to TNR the new cats), I ... don't know what to do.

(Potential) Project-Cat EMERGENCY

While sitting on my balcony this afternoon to do some work-- enjoying what little of "spring" we get here in the Valley of the Sun-- I discovered a shiny new cat-trap (well, humane trap-- it works for whatever) in place, locked, no less, to a pipe next to the laundry room.

I investigated it, then went to the management office.

Underlings informed me that "maintenance has traps all over the property" and they are trapping the "strays" and taking them to the humane society.  I pointed out that that means they're being killed; I was ignored as usual.

I've looked all over the place and haven't found any more traps. And I am about to wash my face (I admit it, I cried.  A lot.  Frustration, anger, fear.)  And I am going back to the office now that a manager should be there-- and in fact a manager I have dealt with before.

All that said, I don't have high hopes for this meeting and I'm downright scared.

Keep your eyes on this spot for more updates.