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Thank you for your recent letters explaining your position on the TNR program. While TNR may be successful in other locations, it was not successful in eliminating our prime issue of feral cats interacting with guests and entering guest areas. The attempt to conduct this pilot program was not successful and thus, was suspended. FACT: Experts that visited the site will tell you the program worked for a number of reasons including the expansive grounds of the hotel where cats were never seen. Also former employees and past and current feeders of the Loews cats, are not aware of any regular interaction of the outdoor Loews cats with guests that occurred unless guests went looking for the cats. These are employees who spent time in caring for the cats. And if the cats were getting close to guest areas, the feeding areas could have been moved further away. This is an easy remedy. There have been several incidents in the hotel's history of domesticated pet dogs attacking other dogs or guests. Why didn't Loews end the pet program? *
We attempted to work directly with the local feral cat organization, and most recently with Alley Cat Allies, to re-locate the cats from our property. Unfortunately, they felt they could not support this change and would not assist in the process. Orange County Animal Services advised that their standard protocol is to turn ear-tipped cats that are brought into their shelter to the local feral cat group, for placement elsewhere. We chose this option. FACT: These organizations can not support relocation--a process that is clearly traumatizing to the cats with little success rates. In addition the methods of Critter Control have been inhumane. It's all documented on www.facebook.com/SaveLoewsCats. The outdoor cats were like barnyard pet cats in many ways. They knew their names, they had a story, they were familiar with caretakers. Loews Hotels accepts domesticated dogs without checking medical records including vaccinations. So why discriminate against harmless, vaccinated cats?
Much of what I read in your letter is not based upon the realities of our situation. We are re-locating feral cats to the Orange County Animal Services Center and are working closely with the team there. Everything is being handled by licensed professionals. Orange County Animal Services has come on-site for a detailed review of everything we are doing and advised us that they had no concerns with our process. FACT: The animal shelter is aware that Loews has decided to trap their cats, but that is extent of the relationship. Loews is not doing the trapping. Loews is not delivering the cats to OCAS. Loews hired Critter Control to trap the cats and they are supposedly dropping off trapped cats at OCAS. Who is monitoring Critter Control? No one. Loews is not paying for the relocation efforts. Loews is not paying for the vet bills for injured cats. There are several cats unaccounted for. Where are they Loews? Where are they Critter Control?
As I am sure you are aware, there are many who support positions contrary to TNR. Our hotels are pet-friendly, but there are important distinctions between owned pets and outdoor, free-roaming feral animals. The Florida Department of Health's position statement on this issue is clear and supports the concern we have for the health and safety of guests and team members. FACT: There is a distinction. The fact is domesticated "owned" dogs brought on property pose greater risk than do outdoor, managed, rabies-vaccinated cats.* Outdoor cats are naturally scared of strangers and run away as one approaches them. Loews knows this. There are documented incidents of dog attacks but Loews does not share this with the public. Loews does not check for medical and vaccination records of hotel pet guests. Loews does not call the veterinarian of hotel pet guest to verify if the records are updated and legitimate. The Loews outdoor cats were sterilized and rabies vaccinated. There is greater risk of hotel guest slipping in bathtub or anywhere on the hotel grounds. Loews has hotel guests with a pet sign a waver. Why not have everyone sign a waver recognizing that indoor and outdoor pets exist on property including ducks?
Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando
Who is "I" mentioned in the letter?
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We are not giving up! We encourage supporters of the Loews cats to please take a moment to pick up the telephone and ask to speak to Paul Whetsell, the new CEO. You will probably never speak to him but do speak with his executive assistant. Be prepared to share your concerns with bullet points and questions. Please be polite. If you get voice mail, just leave your name and number. If you don't hear back, keep trying.
Corporate Office (Loews Hotels)667 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10065-8087
(212) 521 2000
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For MEDIA INQUIRIES "Save Loews Cats"
Contact Alicia Grecco
*At Riverfront Cats we support pet-friendly hotels. However we can no longer support Loews Hotels. As stated repeatedly throughout these posts, there have been incidents of pet dogs attacking other dogs and guests at Loews hotels. We agree the hotel should not abandon their pet -friendly program because these "accidents" or tragedies (as in January 2012) are rare. However, the elimination of the Loews outdoor cats goes against their brand and increasing science that TNRM works. Unfortunately the Health Department of Florida is outdated. They have taken an old statement and added today's date. The Health Department has not provided any science that TNRM of feral cats poses a health risk to the community.