I think stupidity was exhibited on all sides of this case. The Birder in Question could have found other options besides blatantly shooting the cat. He could have been more discreet in killing it, he could have live trapped them and dropped them at a no kill shelter, he could have talked with bridge workers to find a solution to remove the cats and protect the plovers. He just took matters into his own hands, somewhat vigilante style.
The big issue was whether or not the cat in question was feral. In Texas it’s legal to shoot and kill a feral cat, but not legal to shoot and kill a pet cat. A toll-booth employee, John Newland argued that he “owned” all the cats around the bridge because he put food out for them and toys. However, he never paid for the cats and never brought them inside his home. Newland also mentioned in one of his many interviews that he had noticed at least 10 cats that had been shot dead around the area–call me crazy, but as a responsible pet owner, if you see pets being killed in your area–you protect your pet, you bring them inside. Why isn’t he being brought up on charges for encouraging non native/invasive predators around endangered species?
And the media seems more interested in portraying the whole thing as bird lovers vs cat lovers. It’s more interesting to them to tell the story about some wacky bird watcher went so over the edge in his love for birds that he bought a gun and killed a cat.
Even though it appears the The Birder in Question is avoiding jail time and a fine, I can’t imagine what his legal fees will be from this–possibly more than the fine. I don’t know if this really did anything to further the cause of protecting birds from feral cats.