Feral Cat Caretaker Annette Betancourt Speaks After Guilty Verdict and Sentencing

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Annette Betancourt went to trial yesterday for violating a city animal ordinance in Liberty, Missouri and was found guilty by a jury the same day. She expressed disappointment at the outcome of the case that put her TNR and feeding practices on trial.

We covered the story last night in Feral Cat TNR Advocate Found Guilty After Going to Trial to Defend Her Work.

Annette moved to Liberty in 2008 and discovered cats living in the woods behind her home. She took it upon herself to help the cats and provide a service to the community by conducting TNR paid out of her own pocket  She also fed the cats.

She got into trouble when neighbors complained to the city, and was warned, then cited for creating a public nuisance and violating the law. Liberty imposes a four pet limit for cats and dogs in households, and claimed that Annette exceeded that number by caring for the ferals. She limits her own pets to four and insists that the stray and feral cats are not hers.

Annette spoke out last night following the trial, saying “I’m very upset. I wished they’d understood what I’m doing is a good thing for the community. I’m preventing more homeless cats being born. I’m fixing them with my own money and providing a service to my neighbors too. Apparently the jury didn’t see it that way.”

A neighbor told the jury that Annette’s practice of feeding the cats draws them to the neighborhood.

Several cat advocates and TNR prqctitioners attended the trial to support Annette, and some of the disappointed supporters made remarks to KCTV afterward. Emily Conrad said, “I mean this is a community problem and when a jury doesn’t understand our cause, it’s absolutely scary because this could happen to all of us.”

Annette was sentenced today. She could have gotten up to a $500 fine and 90 days jail time. The jury recommended that she not go to jail, and the judge imposed a $200 fine. Annette commented,  “I was relieved actually. I thought they were going to go as far as throw me in jail for providing this valuable community service.” She said community cat caretakers would now have to live in fear that their neighbors were watching them.

Liberty’s Animal Control officer has not been supportive of Annette’s efforts. The city’s policy on ferals is trap and kill.

Volunteers offered to take care of the cats, and will remove them to safety.  Kitty Cat Connection, an organization from Kansas City, Missouri, will remove the cats. “We are going to trap these cats from the feral colony that Ms. Betancourt has been feeding and help them be transported to barn homes where they can be sheltered,” said Sharon Jones.

We first covered the case on October 28, in Petition: Feral Cat Caretaker Seeks Change in Local Law.


0 thoughts on “Feral Cat Caretaker Annette Betancourt Speaks After Guilty Verdict and Sentencing”

  1. @ Nature Advocate. Shame on you all. what you wrote has NOT scientific ground whatsoever. Just plain ignorance.
    You don’t have FACTS. Facts have to be proved, by scientist, and you cannot cite a fact without giving references to researches done, completed and approved giving details on who, when and where those researches were conducted and if they were approved by the Government.You and all people are the ones spreading LIES.
    Everybody is entitled to an opinion but you are triying to give scientific proof to yours without any evident ground. Shame on you.

  2. this is to “Nature Lover” as such. although he doesnt seem to really be one. in 2011 I took care of 8 feral cats who did not permit any other cats to come around. cats are territorial and do not permit other cats to come about into their group so that is one thing you got very wrong. if cats will eventually die as all animals do at least they wont leave behind offspring. this is the problem which TNR tries to regulate. to me you just look like someone who hates cats this is why your name Nature Lover is ridiculous, and you have never presented anything in a logical way with any researchers proof. it is just your prejudice coming through that is all. and I am NOT a liar as you say yourself.

  3. This isn’t rocket surgery. EVERY person can find out for themselves that you’re all just really bad liars. All they need do is look for themselves.

    For example:

    Here’s a fun read (data taken from last year, when it wasn’t as bad as it is today) to PROVE how effective TNR programs are and how they con and deceive simpletons like you. Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES can’t even reduce the number of cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for their transparent con-job.

    “In NYC there are currently 465 registered TNR colonies. When TNR began in these colonies, 6047 cats were present – today, there are 4523 cats present, a decline of approximately 25 percent.” (Quoted direct from an Alley Cat ALL-LIES member who was SO proud of this.)

    Of those 6,047 cats they’ve only REDUCED the total by 1,524 cats, about 127 PER YEAR. That’s only 0.08% of the 1,806,310 feral-cats within the city’s limits. (data taken direct from TNR-advocates’ own resources)

    Guess how many have been born IN JUST THE LAST 6 MONTHS (hoping like hell that they’re not breeding every 4 months). Let’s do the math…

    (1/2 total = females) 903,155 X 5 (avg. number in a litter) = 4,515,775 NEW CATS. Which lowers the number of them that have been reduced by TNR idiots to only 0.024%. THEY ARE GOING BACKWARD.

    Guess how many will be born in another 6 months? (4,515,775 / 2) X 5 = 11,289,438.

    Remember. the first 903,155 females are still breeding. For another 4,515,775. Add in the pre-existing 1,806,310, bringing the grand total in just ONE YEAR to 17,611,523 CATS. NEARLY EIGHTEEN MILLION. Which means that TNR groups have only reduced the cat-population by 0.008% of them. That’s not even ONE ONE-HUNDREDTH of ONE-PERCENT.

    1,806,310 cats become nearly EIGHTEEN MILLION CATS … IN JUST *ONE* YEAR. Keep in mind too, these are the numbers in JUST ONE CITY. They would have to trap approximately 48,250 cats PER DAY just to match how many are being born PER DAY. At an average cost of $170 per cat for a cost of $8,202,500.00 PER DAY, a cost that must be sustained INTO PERPETUITY if they cannot trap them faster than this.

    Catching on yet to how TNR people are just spinning wheels in the sand while sliding backward off the mountain and accomplishing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?

    Well, they are managing to torture cats and torture or starve-to-death all native wildlife, annihilating the whole native food-chain with an INVASIVE-SPECIES, and spreading deadly or lifelong illnesses to all manner of animals and even humans while doing all this. I guess that’s accomplishing something. Including even spreading the plague today.

    (URLs removed for posts that never get approved)

    So much for that oft spewed urban myth that cats would have saved everyone from the plague in Europe. If the cats infect the rodents with Toxoplasma gondii, then cats even attract the plague right to your door since the toxo-infected rodents are now attracted to cat-urine. Cats would have only made the plague even more intensive and an even larger disaster. As they will this time around.

    [Note: this recursive calculation population-growth problem actually requires advanced calculus with many more variables and will result in differing numbers; some higher, some lower, depending on how many years you do the population-growth projection when using both methods; but the results are just as astoundingly large no matter which method you use. I only include the dumbed-down version here so those of you with at least half a brain can comprehend and do the math yourself. Besides, it doesn’t matter how many feral-cats are roaming free. If even ONE invasive-species cat is roaming free and has destroyed even ONE native animal, then that invasive-species cat must be destroyed. These numbers are only important to alert all others to how many cats must be destroyed and if they’ll ever have the financial resources to do so by using their preferred method. In most cases, every municipality must allocate anywhere from 1/10th to 1/2 $BILLION PER YEAR if employing TNR costs just to catch-up to their breeding rates — sustaining that expense YEARLY into perpetuity. Whereas shooting them results in costs substantially lower, in the range of $2,000 to $75,000 for 1 year. Which ends up being a ONE-TIME-EXPENSE. Something that is attainable by the tax-base in most every area.]

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